Skin Changes During Pregnancy: What Can You Expect


In this article, we will explore all the possible changes that may occur in the skin during pregnancy.


Pregnancy causes more than just an increasing waistline and belly, strange cravings, and happiness. It gives rise to major emotional, hormonal, mental, and skin changes in your body.

Speaking of skin changes, pregnancy brings rosy and glowing cheeks, radiant complexion, and lustrous hair in women. On the other hand, in some women, it may develop undesirable skin changes. For instance, discoloration, acne, pigmentation, breakouts, and varicose veins.

These changes occur due to hormonal imbalances during pregnancy. The fluctuations within estrogen and progesterone levels affect the skin in pregnant women. Even though these changes are irritating, there should be a sense of relief because they are harmless and may subside after delivery.

What Causes Skin Changes During Pregnancy?

Skin changes in pregnancy are largely generated by pregnancy hormones i.e., estrogen and progesterone. The imbalances in these hormones result in skin alterations. These changes can start from the second or third trimester, although in some cases it can start right from the first trimester.

Besides hormones, blood circulation and the immune system also have an impact on the appearance and sensitivity of your skin. However, after delivery, it will essentially return to normal.

But, keep in mind, not all changes might go back to normal. For example, stretch marks. Stretch marks post-pregnancy might fade and not disappear altogether.

Skin Changes During Pregnancy: What Can You Expect

Apart from your increasing bump, here are some changes you can expect in your skin during pregnancy.

Glowing and Radiant Skin

In pregnancy, increased blood volume (approximately 40%) and a combination of hormones and oils result in radiant-looking skin. This happens because the body carries more oxygen and blood throughout the organs and tissues, including the skin.

However, some women may develop unappealing or undesirable skin changes. It solely depends upon hormonal changes in the body. Given below are some of the skin changes, other than glowing skin, during pregnancy.


Acne is one of the most commonly reported changes that occur during pregnancy. Women particularly susceptible to breakouts during their menstrual cycles are more likely to develop acne in pregnancy.

Fortunately, pregnancy acne and postpartum acne are usually temporary. They certainly should go away once the hormones return to normal. If not, to counter pregnancy acne, use a gentle cleanser.


Melasma is a skin-related disorder wherein you might have brown, blue-grey patches or freckle-like spots on the skin. This disorder occurs when color-producing cells generate more pigment than regular during pregnancy. Melasma is also referred to as a ‘mask of pregnancy or hyper-pigmentation.

Read More: What you can do to treat melasma.

Stretch Marks

Almost every woman expects to develop stretch marks during pregnancy. But, women might also discover their breasts, hips, and thighs having pink or red stripes.

As the belly grows in pregnancy, stretch marks start to appear, usually from the second trimester. Stretch mark creams, ointments, and other products all claim to prevent or treat them. But, as mentioned earlier, they can fade but won’t disappear.

Varicose Veins

Women might establish enlarged veins i.e., varicose veins on their lower body. This happens because the uterus exerts high pressure on the veins. In addition, due to the weight of the uterus, there is decreased blood flow that leads to developing varicose veins.

Fortunately, varicose veins during pregnancy might improve within 3 to 12 months after delivery without any additional medical treatment.


Cholestasis is a liver disease caused by high levels of pregnancy hormones interfering with the normal flow of bile in the gallbladder. This condition develops during the third trimester and causes severe itching and irritation throughout the body. It is frequently worse on the palms and soles of the feet. Moreover, it makes the woman unable to sleep.

Cholestasis can be in accordance with jaundice (yellow discoloration in the eyes and skin). A blood test can diagnose cholestasis, and it can be treated with medications.

Skin Tags

Skin tags are tiny growths generally discovered within high friction areas such as underarms, the base of the neck, under breasts, and around the groin area. They are harmless and can be produced in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.

These skin tags might shrink after delivery. If not, you can have them removed by a dermatologist.


Irritation is one of the common skin changes during pregnancy. Itchy and dry skin leads to irritation.

Linea Nigra

The dark line that develops from your navel to your pubic bone is called Linea nigra. It typically manifests itself around the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy. However, the line fades after delivery.

Freckles and Moles

During pregnancy, areas with dark pigmentation, such as freckles, moles, nipples, areolas, and labia, will become even darker. But, you cannot do anything to avoid it. Keep in mind, if the freckles or moles are found changing their shape, you must inform your doctor about it.

Tips And Tricks For Dealing With Skin Changes During Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant, there is a high possibility of you developing these skin changes. However, you can prevent or treat them and have a healthy pregnancy.

Here are some tips and tricks for you to fight against these changes:

  • Avoid products containing retinol and salicylic acid as they carry the risk of birth defects
  • Eat a balanced and nutritious diet
  • Avoid exfoliating and abrasive scrubs that may cause irritation
  • Avoid exposure to the sun, especially during the peak time i.e., 10 am – 2 pm
  • Wear sunscreen (SPF 15) or a hat while exposed to the sun
  • Follow a cleansing routine
  • Try and use fragrance-free products to avoid nausea
  • Practice yoga to improve blood flow
  • Avoid overeating
  • Stay hydrated
  • Keep your skin moisturized


In conclusion, skin changes during pregnancy are not serious and can be taken care of. Even though you might experience these changes in pregnancy, most of them certainly will disappear after delivery.

Now, you are well aware of what changes you can expect in pregnancy and some tips to make them a little less annoying. Hence, try and stay aware and implement these tips, and have a happy, healthy pregnancy.


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