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Skin Changes in Pregnancy

Skin Changes in Pregnancy

Skin Changes in Pregnancy occur because of -

  • Hormonal changes (estrogen, progesterone, relaxin, human placental lactogen, Hcg, prostaglandins)
  • Vascular changes – blood vessels
  • Metabolic changes – chemical changes that make energy
  • Immunologic changes – ability to resist or avoid disease



  • Excess coloration or darkening of skin
  • Melasma – mask of pregnancy, “freckles”, brown or blue-gray patches fades after a few months
  • Linea nigra - dark line on central aspect of stomach that fades after delivery, runs from top of abdomen to pubis
  • Moles & areola – darken
  • Secondary areola – spilling of surrounding pigmentation


Connective Tissue Changes

  • Striae Gravidarum – dreaded stretch marks
  • Mollusca Fibrosa – soft pink swellings of the skin


Vascular Changes

  • Peripheral edema – swelling of hands, legs, feet
  • Palmar erythema – redness of palms
  • Spider veins (red, thready & smaller)
  • Varicose veins (larger, twisted, enlarged)


Glandular Changes

  • Montgomery tubercles – more prominent (good for lactation)
  • Breasts enlarge prep for lactation


Skin, Nails & Hair

  • Skin – drier, more acne/less acne, eczema
  • Hair – Lengthen, fuller
  • Hair – present where it was not before (between breasts, face, abdomen, arms)
  • Nails – grow faster in pregnancy
  • Nails - may be weaker and break more easily


So what can we do?

  • Keep skin hydrated and use excellent moisturizer
  • Nothing improves or prevents stretch marks
  • Mustela Stretch Marks Cream
  • Earth Mama Belly Butter
  • Glow Organics Belly Butter
  • Bio-Oil Skincare Oil
  • Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter
  • Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks
  • Munchkin Milkmakers All-Natural Belly Balm


If you get acne during pregnancy, take these steps to treat your skin -


  • Wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water.
  • If you have oily hair, shampoo/cowash every day and try to keep your hair off your face.
  • Avoid picking or squeezing acne sores to lessen possible scarring.
  • Choose oil-free cosmetics.


Additional ACNE Tips

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) products containing the following ingredients can be used during pregnancy:
  • Topical benzoyl peroxide (Clean & Clear, PanOxyl)
  • Azelaic acid (CeraVe, Clinique)
  • Topical salicylic acid (Noxzema, Neutrogena)
  • Glycolic acid (L’Oreal)
  • If you want to use an OTC product that contains an ingredient not on this list, contact your obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn)



  • No to retinoids (synthetic Vit A)
  • No to hydroquinone (skin lightener)
  • No to phthalates (disrupt hormones)
  • Hell No to formaldehyde or formaldehyde releasers


During the show facts-

  • On shea butter, I couldn’t find a distinct recommendation that it is safe in pregnancy!
  • On chamomile tea, is not safe to drink in pregnancy, so I say AVOID in pregnancy.
  • Common formaldehyde releasers that you are likely to see in a product and should AVOID are DMDM hydantoin, methylene glycol, quaternium 15, and 3 dioxane


Guest Information

Ivette Guttierez was born in Nicaragua and came to the US at the tender age of 6 months. She is the youngest of 3 children and was raised by a strong single mother.

As a child she showed an interest in teaching and loved everything related to makeup. After high school she enrolled in Beauty School. While in school, her artistry skills flourished and she was found to be naturally talented at eyebrow shaping. Ultimately she became a professional esthetician and makeup artist. 

She then worked with Christian Dior cosmetics and has spent 17 years working with prestigious cosmetic brands, and 12 years as a Senior Executive sales manager for a multi-million dollar company. She was also a state board educator for future licensed estheticians.

In 2018 she obtained her permanent make-up certification.

During the pandemic she was no longer fulfilled in the corporate realm and started her own business dedicated to all things eyebrows. She then further ventured into the paramedical space and works with women and men that are survivors of trauma, cancer, alopecia, areola reconstruction, SMP, scar camouflage etc. 

Her slogan is “beauty should be used to illuminate our inner beauty and not mask it!”




ACOG. (2023). Skin Conditions in Pregnancy. Retrieved from,Sometimes%20the%20marks%20are%20faint.

Cleveland Clinic. (2020). Melasma. Retrieved from Melasma: Treatment, Causes & Prevention (

Food and Drug Administration. (2022). Cosmetics & Pregnancy. Retrieved from Cosmetics & Pregnancy | FDA

Medical News Today. (2022). Pregnancy and skin care: What products are safe to use? Retrieved from What is safe to use for pregnancy skin care? (

Sharma, Jharaik, Sharma, Chauhan, & Wadhwa. (2019). Clinical study of pregnancy associated cutaneous changes. International Journal of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 3(4) 71-75. Retrieved from 3-4-1-996.pdf (




Disclaimer: The primary purpose of this podcast is for private, non-commercial use. It does not constitute medical or professional advice.