Your skin will undergo many changes during pregnancy. Stretch marks begin to form on your belly. An increase in blood production makes your skin start to glow. Excess oil secretion causes irritating breakouts and acne. As your baby grows, you may also experience dry skin.
It is common for moms-to-be to have dry skin during pregnancy. Hormone changes cause your skin to lose its elasticity and moisture as it stretches and tightens to accommodate a growing belly. This can lead to flaky skin, bright red bumps, itchiness, or other symptoms often associated with dry skin.
While most women experience dry, itchy skin in the stomach area, some pregnant women will also feel itchiness in their thighs, breasts, and arms. During the third trimester, a small number of moms-to-be will even develop itchy red bumps on their belly.
If you’re one of those women, then you know there is nothing sweeter than the relief you feel from taking care of your dry skin. Here are some natural remedies to help you feel better until delivery.
Well, not actually in the grocery store. But a number of products you buy as recipe ingredients can double as moisturizer. Olive oil and jojoba oil provide intense moisture to the skin and are full of antioxidants. (Note: Jojoba oil is safe to apply to your skin, but might be dangerous to ingest.) You only need a couple of droplets to rub on your skin for the oil to work its magic. Try applying to damp skin to cut some of the greasiness.
Shea butter and cocoa butter are also great natural alternatives to drugstore moisturizers. They will help cleanse and moisturize your skin.
Stay away from body washes and soaps that contain harsh alcohol. Instead, try mixing one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water for a natural cleanser that can restore your skin’s pH levels and relieve dry skin.
You can also mix moisturizing coconut oil, raw honey, liquid Castile soap, and pregnancy-safe essential oils like citrus to make homemade bath soap. This will leave your skin feeling smoother than ever. But don’t go overboard in how much you apply. Just use enough to remove dirt and oil. You never want to overburden your skin with product.
Yogurt is rich in lactic acid and protein. These help detoxify and hydrate your skin. They also help remove dead skin cells, tighten pores, and make you look younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines.
Massage a thin layer of plain yogurt into your skin with your fingertips and leave it on for two or three minutes. Afterwards, cleanse with warm water and dry off with a towel.
Milk baths are another dairy-based solution that can soothe dry skin. Like yogurt, the natural lactic acid in milk can eliminate dead skin cells and hydrate skin.
To make a homemade milk bath, combine 2 cups of whole powdered milk, 1/2 cup of cornstarch, 1/2 cup of baking soda, and a pregnancy-safe essential oil. Pour the entire mixture into the bath water. If you’re vegan, you can use rice, soy, or coconut milk instead.
The American Pregnancy Association strongly suggests that bath water should be warm rather than hot, and that moms-to-be limit their time in the bath to 10 minutes or less.
Spending too much time in a hot shower can be drying for your skin. Hot water can strip away your skin’s natural oils. Try to use only warm water and limit your time to keep your skin hydrated.
Should I Be Concerned About My Dry Skin?
Due to changing estrogen levels, some itching (especially on the palms) is normal. But go to the doctor if you experience severe itching on the hands and feet. Also look out for dark urine, fatigue, appetite loss, depression, and light coloring in your stool.
These may be signs of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP). ICP is a pregnancy-related liver disorder that affects the normal flow of bile. It can be dangerous for baby and lead to stillbirth or premature delivery.
Pregnancy hormones alter the gallbladder function, causing bile flow to slow or stop. This can then lead to bile acid buildup that spills into the blood. According to the American Liver Foundation, ICP affects 1 to 2 pregnancies for every 1,000 in the United States.
Cholestasis usually disappears within days of delivery.