What happens to your skin during pregnancy?

What happens to your skin during pregnancy?

Besides the fact that pregnancy is a very beautiful and pleasant time for a woman, it also brings about a lot of changes in the body.
In practice, we see many women during and after pregnancy, because our skin also has a lot to endure due to all the hormonal changes.
The most common skin changes due to pregnancy can be divided into: hormone-related, pre-existing complaints and pregnancy-specific complaints.

Common complaints that arise with our skin during pregnancy are: stretch marks, pigmentation, changes in hair, nails and our vascular system. Read on to find out more about them.


One of the most common skin changes in pregnancy is getting stretch marks. Stretch marks occur in 90% of women in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Initially, they may appear as pink-purple lines on the abdomen, breasts, buttocks, thighs or arms. Stretch marks seem to be more common in young women carrying a relatively large baby in the abdomen or in women who have a larger body mass index. You also have a higher chance of getting stretch marks if they run in your family or if you have already suffered from them during puberty.

Stretch marks are caused by both stretching of the skin and hormonal factors. For example, the elastic fibres of our skin weaken and the production of estrogen already have an effect on the stretch marks [1].Despite the fact that there is no scientific evidence yet, it is advisable to provide extra protection and care for the skin in order to prevent the formation of the stretch marks. Think for example of a natural aloe vera gel.

After pregnancy, the stretch mark recovers to a light or skin-coloured line, which can also become smaller/less noticeable.
Treating stretch marks can be done in different ways, 9 months after the baby is born. For example, applying a retinol cream a retinol cream helps to repair and renew the skin. Or a laser treatment using the Erbium Glass fractional laser or an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can be considered to renew the skin and reduce redness.
Read more about the treatment method.


During pregnancy, most women also experience an increase in excess pigmentation on the skin. This can occur in areas such as the armpits, genital area or around the nipple, but also a birthmark can change colour or a scar can temporarily darken. Often we find that these discolourations recover by themselves after pregnancy.
A more challenging type of pigmentation is the one we call ‘pregnancy mask’, or Melasma. This is a pigmentation that occurs in the face under the influence of hormones, both during pregnancy and during contraception. Exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet radiation can cause the melasma to worsen. Not all women recover from their pre-pregnancy mask on their own; fortunately, Toskani has developed  the SPOT OUT kit to treat it. The SPOT OUT kit inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, among others. Tyrosin is actually the younger version of melanin, and by inhibiting this production, melanin has less chance of eventually developing and can therefore significantly brighten pigmentation spots.

Other options for treating the pigment include using acids that lighten the pigment. For example, lactic acid, mandelic acid, citric acid or vitamin C. The use of these acids can be carried out in our practice by entering into an intensive course of chemical peels or in the form of products containing low percentages of these acids that are safe for home use.

The most important rule of pigmentation remains: prevention is better than cure! So always use sun protection with factor 50 during your pregnancy. This is also important during the winter months. Also, if you are outside during the day, apply several times or wear a hat or stay more in the shade. With the help of

Heliocare mineral or Powder me from Jane Iredale, you will always be protected.

Hair and nails

Our hair and nails also take a beating during pregnancy. During pregnancy, your nails may grow faster. The change in hormones may also cause more unwanted hair growth. This can occur mainly in the face, limbs or on the back. This recovers after pregnancy. If the hair growth persists after the pregnancy, permanent hair removal by laser therapy can be considered.
Using our Alexandrite and Nd:Yag laser from Candela, we can safely and effectively treat all skin types to reduce or completely remove unwanted hair growth. Last but not least, our vascular system. Due to the pressure that the baby puts on our vascular system, various vascular problems can arise. This can range from swollen feet to rapid red colouring of the face to more rapid bleeding.
In the last trimester of a pregnancy, the baby can exert a lot of pressure on the blood vessels. The body has to work harder in the first place to supply your own cells and those of your child with the oxygen carried in the blood. We often see that women suffer from fluid retention in the feet and/or lower legs. Consider wearing knee-length compression stockings or maternity tights. These help your vascular system to pump the blood up and also prevent the possibility of your vessels becoming weaker and turning into varicose veins. We can fit these stockings or maternity tights for you!

During childbirth, your blood vessels also have a hard time. The pressure you exert when pushing, may cause a vessel in the face to pop. This ruptured vessel is also called a spider vein. This is easy to treat with the help of our IPL or Nd:Yag laser.


Many of the above side effects that can occur during pregnancy recover on their own. However, it is important to be patient. We often use the following saying for this: nine months pregnant also means nine months to recover. It is also important that you take into account the time you are breastfeeding.
The effect of our hormones is sometimes much more powerful than we realise, but luckily our skin has a lot of resilience, and often it just returns to normal. And if this is not the case? Then we are here for you.

[1] Tunzi M, Gray GR. Common skin conditions during pregnancy. Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(2):211–218.

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