Why You Have More Skin Problems During Pregnancy

How to deal with pregnancy issues from acne to stretch marks.

Stretch marks

So you have a big zit instead of that "glow" everyone talks about? Join the crowd. "Almost all women experience some type of skin problem during pregnancy," says Diane Berson, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Cornell University Medical College in New York City. Common issues include acne, stretch marks and melasma (aka chloasma, or "mask of pregnancy").

For the most part, you can blame surging hormones. "During pregnancy, your body produces more estrogen, and the sudden increase can throw your skin out of balance," says David E. Bank, M.D., director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, N.Y. Plus, rapid weight gain and an expanding belly can cause dry, itchy skin and stretch marks.

Unfortunately, there's not much you can safely do to fix these problems during pregnancy. Since most skin concerns are simply unsightly or mildly uncomfortable, most doctors don't want to risk treating them until after you give birth. But one thing you can do to help alleviate discomfort, especially for your growing belly, is to keep skin supple and itch-free with a good body moisturizer. We love Weleda Pregnancy Body Oil, $20, with sweet almond, jojoba and wheat germ oils.