Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times in a woman’s
life. While some women are “unicorns” and experience the best complexion and
hair of their lives, others feel as if their skin has been “hijacked” and that
virtually every day brings something foreign or unknown emerging on their face
or body. Dr. Sheel Solomon is a Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
Board- Certified Dermatologist. She is a mother to two young
children and understands first-hand what a woman’s skin and hair go through
during pregnancy. Here she shares common concerns and what a woman can do
postpartum to regain skin and hair status quo.
Stretch marks happen when your body grows faster than your
skin can keep up with. This causes the elastic fibers just under the surface of
the skin to break, resulting in stretch marks. Growing that fast can leave you
with stretch marks, especially on your belly and breasts, two areas that grow
the most. Stretch marks can also show up on the thighs, buttocks, and upper
arms. The marks often start out reddish or purple, but after pregnancy, they
gradually fade to white or gray. “Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent stretch
marks. There’s not a cream, lotion, or “mommy” potion that can do that. If
that’s the claim on the bottle, don’t be duped,” says Dr. Solomon.
It isn’t an urban legend. It’s real and it’s awesome.
“Because of increased blood flow and expanded capillaries, at some point in
your pregnancy, your skin will effortlessly start to beam. People will likely
notice that something is just different about you, and your skin will probably
never experience so many compliments again, says Dr. Solomon.
In addition to added blood circulation, pregnancy hormones
cause your skin to naturally retain more moisture, thus giving you your
radiance. This is one of those side effects that we wish would stick around,
but it’s likely that it will eventually fade as your hormones level out. It’s
always a good idea to keep your skin hydrated with a rich lotion or cream, Dr.
Solomon says, especially if it makes your skin feel better, look smoother and
more toned, and helps the itchiness that can come with your growing belly.
These small, loose, harmless growths of the skin can appear
anywhere on your body during pregnancy, but most commonly pop up under the arms
and breasts. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to prevent them, but
they can easily be removed after pregnancy if you want.
Varicose and spider veins
Varicose veins are those blue or purple veins that usually,
show up on the legs, and spider veins are the tiny red veins that may appear on
your face when you’re pregnant. The good news: Both usually clear up after your
baby is born. In the event that they don’t, Dr. Solomon explains that
Sclerotherapy involves an injection of a solution directly into the vein that
causes them to shrink.
Zits aren’t just for teenagers: Many moms-to-be also get acne
throughout their pregnancy, even if they’ve never had it before. Dr. Solomon
explains that “Two things conspire to cause breakouts, which tend to hit
sometime around week 6 of pregnancy: hormone surges, of course (in this case,
progesterone, which causes your glands to increase acne-causing secretions of
oil, called sebum) can clog up pores and cause bacteria to build up, leading to
breakouts. And your body is also retaining more fluids, which contain toxins
that can lead to **acne.”
Cholestasis of pregnancy
Dr. Solomon cautions that “There are times you shouldn’t
ignore itchy skin. Cholestasis of pregnancy is a liver disease that results
from high amounts of pregnancy hormones affecting the normal flow of bile in
the gallbladder. This condition occurs in the third trimester and can cause
severe itching over the whole body. It’s often worse on the palms and soles of
the feet and causes patients to feel miserable and be unable to sleep.
Cholestasis of pregnancy also may be accompanied by jaundice (a yellow
discoloration of the skin and eyes).”
A simple blood test can verify if you have cholestasis of
pregnancy, and oral medication may treat it. Delivery also cures it, so OB-GYNS
may induce labor when you are closer to your due date.
Melasma and linea nigra
If you develop dark splotches on your face, you could have
melasma or the mask of pregnancy. This skin condition affects up to half of
pregnant women and is also responsible for linea nigra, a dark line that runs
down the belly.
Hair and nail changes
You may notice that your hair suddenly seems thicker and
fuller or that your nails grow faster during pregnancy. These changes are due to
pregnancy hormones. Unfortunately, you may also find that hair starts to grow
where you’d prefer it didn’t, including on your face, chest, and belly.
Quick Tips for Post Pregnancy Skin
Hydrate with water
Do yoga and practice relaxation techniques
Use an oil free moisturizer to avoid acne
Avoid direct exposure to the sun to control pigmentation and
wear a good broad-spectrum high SPF sunscreen
Use a good under eye cream for puffy eyes and dark circles
Exfoliate your body all over with a gentle exfoliator stimulate circulation Don’t stop taking your prenatal vitamins. They also are beneficial to the health of your skin, hair, and nails, as they provide iron and calcium.
Dr. Sheel Solomon is a Board-Certified
Dermatologist with specialty Fellowship training in Dermatopathology, Cosmetic
and Laser Surgery.
Prior to founding her own practice, she
served as Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology at Duke
She completed her Residency training at the
renowned Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU (New York), and
has trained at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world,
including the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology (New York), The Laser and
Skin Surgery Center (New York), St. John’s Institute of Dermatology (London,
UK). She completed her undergraduate degree at King’s College London.
She is a member of The American Board of
Dermatology, The American Academy of Dermatology, The North Carolina
Dermatology Association, The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and The
American Society For Laser Medicine & Surgery.
Medicine is a common thread in Dr. Solomon’s
family. Her husband and brother are physicians and her grandmother was one of
the first female doctors in India.
Dr. Solomon is fluent in English, French,
German, Japanese, and Gujarti which is an Indian language.
Dr. Solomon is excited to use her skills,
experience, research and the latest cutting-edge technology to help patients
achieve optimal skin health and realize their aesthetic goals.
When not running her busy practice, Dr.
Solomon is a wife and a mother of two young children. She enjoys cooking,
traveling and fine arts.