Skin, hair and nail problems during pregnancy

The body goes through many changes during pregnancy. Hormonal fluctuations may cause problems with the skin, but also with the hair and nails. The vast majority of expectant mothers experience dark spots on the skin, hair growth in unusual areas, loss of scalp hair, rashes, acne and other skin problems. If a pregnant woman is concerned, it is best to visit a dermatologist (skin doctor) to determine the cause and, if necessary, start treatment as soon as possible. Most skin, hair and nail problems disappear after childbirth, although they occasionally return during a subsequent pregnancy.

  • Acne in pregnant women
  • Existing skin problems
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Skin tags
  • Chloasma (pregnancy mask) during pregnancy
  • Her
  • Hirsutism
  • Telogen effluvium
  • Impetigo herpetiformis
  • Nails
  • Pemphigoid gestationis
  • Polymorphic gestational eruption
  • Spider angiomas
  • Stretch marks
  • Cholestasis of pregnancy
  • Pregnancy itch


Acne in pregnant women

Women with acne (skin disease with inflammation of sebaceous glands) notice an exacerbation of symptoms during pregnancy. The acne breaks out on the face, chest or back. On the other hand, some women report that their acne actually improves with pregnancy. Acne is a hormone-driven condition. Therefore, some women take oral (taken by mouth) contraceptives (birth control pills) to clear the skin. So it is normal for hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy to affect acne. In addition, sebaceous (oil-producing glands) respond to androgen, the male sex hormone that also increases during pregnancy. This causes the sebaceous glands to produce large amounts of sebum, causing the opening of the sebaceous gland to become blocked (clogged) and a blackhead to develop. In most cases, the skin problems disappear after pregnancy. If the pimples are severe during pregnancy, the doctor will prescribe safe medications such as topical (applied to the skin) antibiotics. By cleansing the skin daily with an over-the-counter cleanser containing alpha hydroxy acid, it is also possible to keep breakouts to a minimum.

Existing skin problems

Atopic dermatitis

Pregnant women with certain skin conditions are more likely to experience a worsening, or less commonly, an improvement in the condition. For example, women with atopic dermatitis, a skin disease that causes itchy, irritating skin lesions, experience a worsening during pregnancy. In some cases, atopic dermatitis develops for the first time during pregnancy.


Psoriasis, a skin condition characterized by raised, thickened patches of red skin covered with silvery-white scales, may improve during pregnancy. This improvement is due to high levels of interleukin-10 during pregnancy, a protein released by one cell to regulate the function of another cell.

Skin tags

Skin tags (skin growths on a stem) or other benign growths around the neck are hormonally related and increase in number during pregnancy. The tissue may grow due to increased blood flow to the skin. These changes often go away after delivery.It is important to protect yourself with sunscreen when exposed to the sun / Source: Dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay

Chloasma (pregnancy mask) during pregnancy

Chloasma (melasma or the mask of pregnancy) occurs when the skin exposed to sunlight on the upper cheeks, forehead and/or upper lip turns a brownish color. This skin condition is caused by the deposition of excess pigment in the upper layers of the skin. This is a similar phenomenon that occurs when women take oral contraceptives. This skin condition often disappears after pregnancy. In some cases, a pregnancy mask persists and the doctor then uses various possible treatments such as bleaching creams or chemical peels. It is a good idea to use sunscreen during pregnancy to prevent chloasma from occurring. Thanks to a sunscreen, it is also possible to prevent existing spots from darkening.



Hirsutism, which occurs when women grow hair in typically male areas such as the lip and chin, is the result of hormonal changes from pregnancy. It is usually neither very pronounced nor permanent and usually disappears within six months after delivery.

Telogen effluvium

Due to an increase in hormones during pregnancy, many women lose hair on their heads. This phenomenon is known as telogen effluvium. For the majority of women, this hair condition starts three months after giving birth, although some women also experience hair loss or thinning skin during pregnancy. The hair often eventually grows back. However, it is important to have this hair condition monitored by a dermatologist to ensure complete regrowth.

Impetigo herpetiformis

Impetigo herpetiformis, a form of pustular psoriasis (pustular psoriasis: skin disease with white bumps containing pus), is a rare skin condition that occurs during the second half of pregnancy. Systemic signs of impetigo herpetiformis include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, and lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes). Itching is generally absent. The treatment of impetigo herpetiformis consists of systemic corticosteroids and antibiotics to treat secondary infected lesions. The disease usually disappears after delivery, although it sometimes returns in a subsequent pregnancy . Complications sometimes occur, such as secondary infection, blood poisoning, hyperparathyroidism (an overactive parathyroid gland) with hypocalcemia (a lack of calcium in the blood), hypoalbuminemia (a lack of albumin in the blood).


Nail abnormalities also occur during pregnancy. Women may experience cracked nails or nails that feel rough. In October 2020, it is unknown to doctors exactly why these nail abnormalities occur during pregnancy.

Pemphigoid gestationis

Pemphigoid gestationis is an autoimmune disease that usually appears during the second or third trimester. Occasionally, a woman struggles with the disease immediately after giving birth. Symptoms of this condition include blisters on the abdomen or other parts of the body. This condition slightly increases the risk of premature birth or a small baby.

Polymorphic gestational eruption

Polymorphic gestational eruption is the most common skin condition that occurs during pregnancy. Women with this skin disease develop small red bumps and hives, and when severe, the bumps form large patches. This rash usually starts on the abdomen and then spreads to the thighs, buttocks, breasts and arms. The woman feels itching all over during the middle and last trimester. Topical anti-itch medications, antihistamines, and topical steroids control the itching.

Spider angiomas

Spider angiomas (spider nevi) are collections of small dilated blood vessels that usually radiate from a central point and resemble the legs of a spider. They are related to changes in hormone levels. Some women develop angiomas on the face, chest, or sometimes on the arms or abdomen during pregnancy. Angiomas often disappear after pregnancy. If this is not the case, the doctor will treat it with laser therapy.

Stretch marks

More than 90% of pregnant women develop stretch marks (stretch marks) in response to the pulling and stretching of the underlying skin during pregnancy. Stretch marks are pink or purple bands that are often present in the stomach area, although they can also be found on the breasts or thighs. Exercise and the use of lotions or creams containing alphahydroxy acids prevent the formation of stretch marks.

Cholestasis of pregnancy

Pregnancy cholestasis is a pregnancy-induced liver disease that appears in the third trimester of pregnancy. The liver disease is characterized by severe itching without the presence of a rash. Itching is usually present on the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, or the trunk of the body. The symptoms of the condition usually disappear within the first few days after birth. However, liver disease does increase the risk of premature birth and fetal death.

Pregnancy itch

Pregnancy itch occurs in approximately one in three hundred pregnancies and has been reported in all trimesters. Women then experience red papules and nodules on the extensor surfaces of the limbs. In addition, women sometimes still experience itching weeks or months after giving birth. The cause of this condition is unclear in October 2020, but a growing belly, better blood circulation, dry skin and eczema are some increasing risk factors. There are no recognized adverse effects on the mother or fetus. Potent topical steroids and oral antihistamines relieve symptoms.

read more

  • Pemphigoid gestationis: Itchy rash in pregnant woman
  • Pregnancy cholestasis: Itching & jaundice during pregnancy
  • Pregnancy itch: Itchy bumps on skin during pregnancy
  • Polymorphic pregnancy eruption: Skin rash with itching on abdomen
  • Stretch marks: Red and white stripes on skin