woman suffering from dry skin during pregnancy

Treatment for dry skin during pregnancy

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When you're pregnant a variety of different changes happen to your body, but unfortunately not everyone is blessed with a healthy pregnancy glow. Dry skin during pregnancy is very common, so don't be alarmed if you notice your skin becoming drier.

Here we explain what causes this change and how you can alleviate symptoms of dry skin when pregnant.

Why is my skin so dry during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, dry skin is usually caused by hormonal changes that deprive the skin of moisture and therefore elasticity.

Hormonal changes, including a surge in blood volume, contribute towards dry skin during pregnancy as the skin’s moisture balance can be affected.

There are a number of other causes of dry skin when pregnant:

  • Increase in body fluid: Due to the additional volume of blood and water needed to sustain a growing baby, moisture is sucked from the skin. Every drop is required to ensure your baby develops. This increase in blood volume makes it difficult to maintain moisture, especially on extremities like the arms and feet.
  • Loss of skin elasticity: Your body will grow rapidly to support your growing baby. As your skin stretches it loses elasticity and moisture, sometimes leading to cracked skin.
  • Water intake: The amount of water your body requires will increase, so not drinking enough water can lead to dry skin when pregnant.
  • Seasonality: If you're pregnant during the winter months, then dry skin can be triggered by a combination of low humidity levels, cold air and central heating. This depletes your skin of hydration.

Is dry skin a sign of early pregnancy?

woman with dry skin during pregnancy
You may notice dry skin symptoms in the first trimester of your pregnancy

Yes, this can start as early as the first trimester and may last throughout pregnancy for some women. Symptoms of dry skin during pregnancy appear mostly on the stomach area, but also on the face, thighs, arms and breasts.

During the third trimester excessive swelling can stretch the skin, which causes it to become dry and cracked. This condition, called edema, may lead to red itchy bumps on the stomach.

Stretch marks on the stomach are also common, as the skin stretches with the baby’s growth.

How to treat dry skin during pregnancy

To combat the loss of moisture and hydration, you should use moisturising products at least twice a day (morning and night). Apply moisturisers after washing your skin, including your hands, to lock in the hydration.

If you're suffering from dry patches of skin during pregnancy, the UreaRepair ORIGINAL 10% Urea Cream provides intense moisture and soothes dryness. Very dry, rough body skin should be treated with the UreaRepair PLUS: 10% Urea Body Lotion. For those with dry skin on the face when pregnant, try using the UreaRepair Replenishing Face Cream 5% Urea to soothe tightness and provide instant hydration.

Avoid scented products because dry skin is usually sensitive, especially if you're expecting.

The Aquaphor Body Ointment Spray can also be used to treat very dry or irritated skin during pregnancy. This can be easily applied to large or hard-to-reach areas of the body thanks to the advanced spray dispenser.

Products to treat dry skin during pregnancy

Other ways to treat dry skin when pregnant

In addition to using skincare products to alleviate the symptoms of dry skin during pregnancy, there are also a number of other tips to remember:

  • Exfoliation: Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin. Before exfoliating, wash your skin with a non-soap cleanser to avoid irritating your skin. Those with dry skin should only exfoliate once or twice a week. Learn more in How to exfoliate.
  • Limit bathing time: Long, hot showers or baths can strip the skin of its natural oils and cause skin dehydration. Use lukewarm water and remember to moisturise straight after bathing.
  • Stay hydrated: If you're pregnant you should aim to drink around 1.6 litres (roughly eight glasses) of water each day. If you feel like you need to go to the toilet often because your bladder is under pressure from the baby, consider consuming foods with a high water count instead, like watermelon, cucumber and spinach.
  • Use sun protection: To protect your sensitive skin you should wear a sunscreen with at least SPF30. Learn more in Why you should wear sunscreen every day.
  • Use a humidifier: This will increase the amount of moisture in your bedroom when you sleep.

Dry skin during pregnancy can be frustrating, but by taking the steps outlined above you can treat the symptoms and help rehydrate your skin. Should your dry skin worsen, speak to your obstetrician or doctor, as this may indicate a more serious condition.

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