5 Skin Problems During and After Pregnancy

Spider Angiomas

What it is: Due to hormonal changes and possibly weight gain, pressure in the veins increases, causing blood vessels in the face to enlarge, leaving a red, spiderlike mark.

In-Office Treatments
It's possible for swollen vessels to improve three to six months after delivery, but for stubborn spider veins that stay put, Dr. Airan uses the Lyra Laser (about $750 per treatment). The 1,064-nanometer wavelength laser beam passes through skin to heat, coagulate, and zap targeted blood vessels, getting rid of them in seconds. Dr. Zugerman uses IPL after childbirth for smaller blood vessels ($600 per treatment), and for larger ones, he uses a 532- or 940-diode laser ($200 and up per treatment).

Over-the-Counter Solutions
There are no topical creams to eliminate spider veins on the face, so the best bet is a fabulous, full-coverage concealer. A favorite among makeup artists: Giorgio Armani Skin Retouch ($32). The solid cream camouflages even the darkest imperfections and comes in seven shades. Biotherm Forget It ($14) is another classic in this category because it's an easy-to-apply liquid cream that instantly masks unwanted marks. It also contains glycerin and vitamin E to smooth and nourish skin, resulting in better coverage. Applying concealers with a brush results in a more even, natural-looking finish, as well.

Acne

What it is: Elevated progesterone levels produced by the body to maintain a healthy uterine lining during pregnancy can cause increased secretion from oil glands, sebum buildup, and clogged pores.

In-Office Treatments
An aesthetician renowned for treating acne and irritated skin with her line of plant-based products, Sonya Dakar is considered Hollywood's "Fairy Skin Mother" by A-list mamas like Gwyneth Paltrow, Debra Messing, and Marcia Gay Harden. "To treat the common skin problems of pregnancy -- like acne and hypersensitivity -- women must use calming products with plant-based ingredients such as chamomile and lavender," Dakar says. She also offers a pore-clearing facial called the Triple Peel, which involves three separate exfoliating treatments: a pumpkin-based enzyme peel to slough off dead cells, a customized green tea peel to break up bacteria and brighten the skin, and a diamond peel, which is a resurfacing treatment ($555).

Over-the-Counter Solutions
Mild facial cleansers are an effective tool for treating acne in women who have sensitive skin or are still breastfeeding. Therapy Systems Balancing Gel Cleanser ($28.50) is a formula that safely balances the skin's natural oils while deep-cleaning pores. Look for products that include sulfur, a natural ingredient that has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities to promote healing. The sulfur, aloe vera, and eucalyptus oil in the DDF Sulfur Therapeutic Mask ($28) work synergistically to purify the skin.

Once moms are done nursing, they can use more potent ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide to fight acne. At-home peels and topical ointments can take care of stubborn pimples and remaining scars. Crabtree & Evelyn's new skincare line includes a Blemish Control Acne Treatment Gel ($22) that not only heals breakouts but prevents new ones from popping up. It packs a punch with its 2% salicylic acid content and also contains soothing green tea, echinacea, and willowherb to calm the skin naturally. To accelerate healing of acne flare-ups and erase scars, try an at-home peel like L'OrZal Acne Response Intensive Adult Acne Peel kit ($25). This three-step peel uses salicylic acid to penetrate clogged pores and to extract impurities.

Dark, Puffy Eyes

Pregnancy Skin Problems: Skin Darkening
Pregnancy Skin Problems: Skin Darkening

What it is: Exhaustion and poor circulation can lead to dark circles and bags under the eyes.

Over-The-Counter Solutions
Using an eye cream or serum with nourishing ingredients like peptides and aloe vera will help hydrate the eye area and reduce swelling. Many dermatologists recommend Kinerase Under Eye Rescue ($75), which has kinetin, aloe vera, and eyeseryl tetrapeptide to reduce puffiness and the appearance of fine lines. If dark under-eye circles are the problem, try a brightening cream. Dove Energy Glow Brightening Eye Cream with SPF 8 ($11) is a vitamin-rich moisturizer that works to renew dull surface skin. Results may not be immediate after applying eye creams, so follow with a concealer designed specifically for this problem area. Clinique All About Eyes Concealer ($15.50) is a lightweight emollient cream that has color-correcting properties to counteract darkness, along with a special peptide complex that lessens a puffy, irritated appearance.

Postnatal Nirvana

Now, having just given birth to my second child, I have achieved something resembling postnatal nirvana. I have avoided acne with a lavender cleanser. Layers of SPF have minimized melasma. And I rectify routine bouts of dermatitis with doses of emollient-rich creams. Under-eye bags? Juggling work and family has somehow counteracted the benefits of aloe vera and peptides. But I haven't given up. My reunion with radiance has already been scheduled with a series of IPL treatments. Heidi Klum, you've been an inspiration!

Amy Tara Koch is a style columnist for the Chicago Tribune and writes for Self and Travel + Leisure. She lives in Chicago with her family.

Reprinted with permission from Child magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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