Skin Changes Left Over from Pregnancy

If you became hairier, blotchy, bumpy, or itchy during pregnancy, you're probably looking forward to your skin getting back to normal. Eventually it will, but it could take some time and further changes before everything settles down. The following sections cover some common pregnancy-related skin issues, and what you can expect now that you're no longer pregnant.

Skin Tags

These small, fleshy lumps of skin are common in pregnant women and can develop anywhere, but are most common in the areas where you have folds, like your armpits or the crease of your thighs. Once here, a skin tag usually won't budge on its own, but it can easily be removed in a doctor's office.

Question

Can I get rid of skin tags at home?

There are several popular home remedies for skin tags. You can try painting over the tag with clear nail polish or tying a piece of dental floss tightly around the base of the tag. Both these methods can kill the skin tag, which will fall off.

Dark Patches

If you developed dark splotches or other changes to the pigmentation of your skin while you were pregnant — called cholasma, melasma, or the mask of pregnancy, they'll go away when your hormone levels go back to their normal, nonpregnant state, generally within a few months of birth. Any other changes to your skin's pigment, such as the linea nigra, the dark line that may have developed down your belly, or darker freckles or birthmarks, will also fade.

Certain things can make these pigment changes remain longer or even come back, such as exposure to the sun, or use of hormonal contraceptives containing estrogen, like birth-control pills, the patch, or the ring. You can switch to a nonhormonal or progestin-only method of birth control, which is a better choice if you're breastfeeding, anyway. If the dark spots on your skin don't fade, a dermatologist may be able to lighten them with a bleaching cream, chemical peel, or other type of medication.

Excess Face and Body Hair

During pregnancy, you might have noticed certain parts of your body becoming fuzzier than they were before. Excess hair on your face, neck, legs, and pubic area should decrease after your baby is born, but some women notice that they keep a little extra hair in certain areas after giving birth.

Itching, Rashes, and Bumps

When you were pregnant, you may have suffered from hormone-induced itching, bumps, or rashes. One common and very uncomfortable culprit is pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPPs), an extremely itchy condition that generally clears up after pregnancy. It doesn't always go away immediately after giving birth, but should clear up as soon as the hormone levels causing the rash even out.

Alert

If you develop a rash, hives, or itching while taking a medication, such as an antibiotic for a postpartum infection, tell your care provider immediately. Itching and rashes are common symptoms of allergic reactions to medication, which can be serious.

Itching, hives, and rashes can also be caused by different allergic reactions and sensitivities. Are you using a new detergent for your baby's clothing, or a lotion with ingredients you might be reacting to? If you're having trouble sleeping or can't stop scratching, talk to your doctor or midwife, who may prescribe a topical steroid, antihistamine, or alternative.

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