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Your skin during pregnancy

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 may cause breakouts and acne. And you may also experience dry skin.

It’s common for pregnant women to have dry skin during pregnancy. Hormone changes cause your skin to lose elasticity and moisture as it stretches and tightens to accommodate a growing belly. This can lead to flaky skin, itchiness, or other symptoms often associated with dry skin.

Most women experience dry, itchy skin in the stomach area. But some pregnant women will also feel itchiness in areas that include:

  • thighs
  • breasts
  • arms

During the third trimester, some pregnant women may develop itchy red bumps on their bellies.

If you’re experiencing dry skin, here are some natural remedies to help your skin feel hydrated.

Moisturize at the grocery store

Some products you buy as recipe ingredients can double as moisturizers. Olive oil and coconut oil provide intense moisture to the skin and are full of antioxidants. You only need a couple of droplets to rub on your skin for the oils to work. Try applying to damp skin to avoid a greasy feeling.

Shea butter and [Affiliate Link: cocoa butter are also great natural alternatives to drugstore moisturizers. Though cocoa butter is edible, you should avoid eating any product designed for topical application.

Mix up your own soap

Stay away from body washes and soaps that contain harsh alcohol, fragrances, or dyes, which can be irritating to skin. Instead, try mixing 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 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, and liquid Castile soap to make homemade bath soap. This will leave your skin feeling smoother than ever. But don’t go overboard on how much you apply. Just use enough to remove dirt and oil. You never want to overburden your skin with product.

Try yogurt

Yogurt is rich in lactic acid and protein. They 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. Cleanse with warm water and dry off with a towel.

Take a milk bath

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, and 1/2 cup of baking soda. 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 pregnant women limit their time in the bath to 10 minutes or less.

Limit your shower time

Also, 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 symptoms that include:

These may be symptoms 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 your baby and lead to stillbirth or premature delivery.

Pregnancy hormones alter the gallbladder function, causing bile flow to slow or stop. This can lead to bile acid buildup that spills into the blood. According to the American Liver Foundation, ICP affects one to two pregnancies for every 1,000 in the United States. Cholestasis usually disappears within days of delivery.

Any new skin changes noticed with the itching should be evaluated by your doctor. If you notice lesions, like red bumps on your belly or around your belly button, you should tell your doctor. They may be able to treat you with a topical cream to help relieve itching and irritation.