Most of the skin changes that can be seen during pregnancy are due to the effects of hormones on the body. These changes are often normal changes, not diseases. While some of these may be permanent, some regress after birth.
Hair and nail changes
Hair changes; Since the phase in which the hair develops and matures, which we call the anagen phase, is longer during pregnancy, the hair often becomes thicker and the hair quality increases. However, 1-2 months after birth, the hair enters the resting phase (telogen period) and hair loss begins. The shedding cycle can continue up to 8-15 months after birth. In addition, many women have condensation in facial, armpit and leg hair.
Nail changes; softening of the nail, easy breakage, discharge of the nail and ingrown nails can be seen. Especially in the last months of pregnancy and after delivery, the possibility of ingrown nails increases due to foot edema.
Color changes in the skin
Unsystematic finite brown spots may occur on the cheeks, forehead or lips, especially in the face area. These spots are called melasma. It can be seen in almost half of pregnant women. It is especially common in dark-skinned individuals. Inadequate protection from the sun increases skin staining. Often, pregnancy spots disappear or lighten after delivery. But sometimes it can be permanent.
In pregnant women, the skin color of the nipples, armpits, genital area, inner thighs and abdomen may intensify. This very common change is called hyperpigmentation in medical language. High levels of estrogen, progesterone and MSH hormones are the reason for this skin density. In particular, the hormone called MSH makes this effect by making the pigment-producing cells of the skin, called melanocytes, secrete more of the substance called melanin. An increase in moles and freckles on the skin and intensification of their color can be observed. The growth of moles on the neck and armpits may be numerical increase.
Sweat gland and sebaceous gland changes
Sweat secretion in the body increases in pregnant women. But on the contrary, palm sweating decreases. Increased thyroid activity increases sweat secretion. Therefore, pregnant women may complain of excessive sweating and rash (sweat gland obstruction). Due to the decrease in oil secretion, diseases such as hidradenitis suppurativa, which is characterized by inflammation of the bends called dog chest in public, can be alleviated. Acne complaints vary in pregnant women. In some people, acne complaints increase, while in others it decreases.
Citria distensea (cracked skin)
One of the most common changes is skin cracks. It is called stria distensa or stria gravidarum in medical language. Skin cracks can be seen in 90% of pregnant women. It occurs in the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. Red or pink color is in the form of linear collapsed traces. There may be itching and burning. After birth, the color of the skin cracks turns white. Skin cracks are most commonly seen on the abdomen, chest and thighs, respectively. The reasons for the formation of cracks in the skin are various. There is a genetic predisposition. A person whose mother has cracked skin is more likely to have skin cracks. In addition, estrogen, hormones called ACTH and stretching of the skin are also the causes of skin cracks.
blood vessel changes
Vascular lesions increase during pregnancy. Small capillaries, called spider angiomas, appear in the second to fifth month of pregnancy. It is most commonly seen on the face and palms. 75% of capillaries regress after birth. Estrogen surplus is the most valuable cause of spider angioma. The red color of the palms is called palmar erythema. It occurs in two-thirds of whites and one-third of blacks. This redness on the palm begins in the first month of pregnancy and regresses a week after birth. In both cases, care should be taken to protect from the sun and a sunscreen spy should be used.
Varicose veins may occur in 40% of pregnant women. Genetic predisposition is a valuable factor. In addition, vascular changes due to hormones and the pressure exerted on the baby’s blood vessels prepare a place for the formation of varicose veins. During pregnancy, there is an increase in capillaries in the legs. It can lead to the formation of hemorrhoids as a result of the expansion of the veins with a one-to-one mechanism in pregnant women. Pregnant women may complain of swelling (edema). Edema can be seen in the legs, face and hands. In pregnant women, purple spots may occur on the legs without knocking. The reason for all this is the changes made by hormones in the vessel wall. In addition, complaints such as redness on the face, hot-cold, flushing and urticaria (hives) can be seen.