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It may seem like everything about your body changes while you’re pregnant. Because of the shifts in your hormones and the many ways your body prepares for the baby, it’s safe to say that’s true. One of the changes that can be frustrating for women who are pregnant is how their skin is impacted, but it’s important not to put extra stress on yourself over them.

That’s why we rounded up four of the most common changes women may notice in their skin during pregnancy and what can be done about them.

Acne
Over time, some women may develop acne as a result of increased estrogen during their pregnancy. Your skin will already be producing excess oil (part of the “pregnancy glow” along with increased blood flow) and this can exacerbate existing acne or cause new breakouts. The important thing to remember is you must be careful when treating your skin during pregnancy, as many ingredients like retinol aren’t safe for use while pregnant. Keep your skin clean with a gentle cleanser and moisturized with an oil-free product. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy to control it.

Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are just what the name implies — red or pink lines that can develop on the breasts, abdomen or hips, wherever the body is growing to accommodate the baby. These marks can be incredibly frustrating, but the majority of pregnant women will get them. The best way to try and prevent them (there is no 100 percent guarantee) is to keep your skin moisturized with a product that contains any or all of the following: vitamin E, cocoa butter, coconut oil and alpha hydroxy acids.  This is one of our all time favorite treats, but you could just use coconut oil if you prefer.

Melasma
Also referred to as the “mask of pregnancy,” melasma is also the result of hormonal shifts that lead to increased pigmentation. This condition produces dark patches of skin on the face during pregnancy, most commonly on the forehead and cheeks. Since you must be gentle about treating your skin during pregnancy, just like with acne, wearing a strong sunscreen and a hat when outside is your best course of action, since sunlight can worsen the discoloration. Following pregnancy, stronger serums or microdermabrasion treatments can help.

Linea Nigra
If you notice a dark line developing between your navel and your public bone, you have a linea nigra. While it can be an alarming change, it’s one that isn’t harmful and cannot be prevented. It will fade after pregnancy though, so don’t worry.

What’s important to remember is that all these changes are completely normal and, above all, you still remain a glowing mother-to-be. You’re undergoing an incredibly beautiful process, so don’t let any alteration of your body feel like a negative one.

It’s best to keep your skin properly moisturized from head to toe with a gentle product that doesn’t have any irritating scents to help make this time more comfortable for you. This can also prevent dry skin or itchiness as your belly expands. Pamper yourself when you can, maybe with a massage, a facial or a bath with essentials oils and enjoy this special time in your life.

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