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Dry skin in pregnancy – Cure it now!!

Pregnancy changes your body physically & emotionally both, every mom in the world has their own different experiences for 9 months.

You may have a healthy pregnancy glow or annoying dry skin, you may get acne, or you may develop itchy red bumps or brown patches. It depends on Mama to Mama but the one common thing is, this is all normal & is part of your exciting new journey.

We are here to talk about dry itchy skin, you can experience dryness or itchiness at any part of the body, thighs, belly, arms & breasts. Red bumps on the bellies are common in the third trimester.

Dry and itchy belly skin of a pregnant girl in the picture


Do not scratch your skin, it will leave permanent marks

So, what causes dry flaky skin during pregnancy?

So many things…

  1. The crazy Hormones- Your hormones are in a very fluctuating mode throughout 9 months. Hence often, they cause the skin to lose moisture & elasticity as it begins to stretch & accommodate your growing baby & belly.
  2. High blood volume- Sometimes, the peak in blood volume increases 50% more in pregnancy, this increase in blood sugar causes kidneys to do extra work, resulting in more washroom trips & thus dehydration which leads to dry skin & lips.
  3. Water Retention- Increased levels of Vasopressin hormones in pregnancy can sometimes cause your body to retain water, resulting in swelling & bloating. Excess swelling often stretches the skin resulting in dry & cracked skin. This happens mostly in the third trimester.
  4. Changes in body size- Obviously as your body parts grow rapidly to keep up with your baby, it stretches a lot losing their elasticity. This results in itchy & dry skin.
  5. Not drinking enough water- Dehydration in pregnancy can increase your chances of preterm labor. Staying hydrated the whole day will relax both your body & skin. Nausea & vomiting can make that difficult sometimes, hence eat high water content foods like watermelon, cucumber & strawberries.
  6. Sometimes it can just be bad weather, like cold temperatures & less humidity can make everyone’s skin dry hence invest in a good humidifier for moist hydrated air around you.

Is it normal to have dry skin during pregnancy?

YES. Dry skin during pregnancy is very common & happens to almost all pregnant women at some point of the 9- month journey.

How to cure dry skin during pregnancy?

A picture of a girl loading up on moisturizer on her dry pregnant belly


Load up on creams & moisturizers

  1. Load up on creamy moisturizers like calamine lotion right after showering on damp skin, several times a day. Also, look for ingredients like Ceramides, Glycerin, Oats, and Cocoa butter to keep skin hydrated.
  2. Natural ingredients which soothe dry itchy skin- Coconut oil, yogurt, milk, vitamin E, mineral oil, glycerin, cica, jojoba oil, petroleum jelly, Oatmeal, rosewater, honey, avocado oil, or olive oil.
  3. A nice cold shower will preserve the skin’s natural oils. 
  4. Stay away from synthetic rough fabrics. Wear natural fabrics like cotton, linen, bamboo, or silk.
  5. Don’t rub your face after washing, rather gently pat it dry with facial tissues
  6. Avoid fragrance, sulfates, alcohol & dyes in your moisturizers or oils. It will irritate the hell out of the skin.
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water if you can
  8. Get a humidifier for your room
  9. Warm & short showers- No hot water pls! Warm showers, around 5 minutes add moisture to the skin & exfoliates dead cells. Pro tip: apply coconut or jojoba oil all over your body before entering the shower so that these oils can be perfectly absorbed by your body leaving skin soft & moisturized after the shower.
  10. Diet – Blueberries & all kinds of berries, beans, carrots, dark chocolate, pecans, spinach, watermelon, and avocadoes add loads of antioxidants & omega 3 to the body to keep you well hydrated & treat dry skin.
  11. To combat Stretch Marks– Treat fresh stretch marks as soon as they appear with daily application of creams that include Vitamin E oil, cocoa butter, collagen & elastin it.
  12. Physical exfoliation- Washcloth- Very safe method esp. for sensitive skin types. Use a muslin, cotton cloth, or a soft towel, dip it in lukewarm water & gently wipe your face or body parts in small circles to remove the dry dead skin cells.

List of ingredients to stay far away from in pregnancy!

  • All Retinoids
  • Vitamin A
  • Polysorbate 20
  • Salicylic acid
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Hydroquinone
  • Essential oils
  • Parabens
  • Chemical Sunscreens
  • Aluminum Chloride
  • Formaldehyde
  • Phthalates
  • Alpha Arbutin
  • Tranexamic acid
  • Diethanolamine
  • Spironolactone
  • Tetracycline
  • Bisphenol
  • Toluene
  • Chemical peels
  • Fragranced cosmetics
  • Botox or fillers
  • Dihydroxyacetone

When does this dry skin warrant a visit to your doctor?

  1. If the dryness spreads everywhere with increased patches, it could be a condition called PUPP, Pruritic urticarial papules & plaques. Nothing to worry about the baby but it could be very annoying for you, hence the doctor might prescribe you some medication to ease your discomfort.
  2. Bleeding on the cracked skin
  3. Fluctuating Hormones often cause dry skin but if you experience severe itching in your hands and feet, which doesn’t go even with all the care, consult your doctor.
  4. Look out for symptoms like dark urine, light-colored stool, appetite loss, or depression. They could be the symptoms of ICP (Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy). ICP is a pregnancy-related liver disorder that affects the normal flow of bile. It can lead to premature deliveries. It stops or slows the bile movement; this can build up bile acid which spills into the blood. Hence any new abnormal changes should be monitored.

A Few Products Suggestions


Dry skin in pregnancy is common & can be cured by being hydrated all the time & having a balanced diet of veggies, fruits & good fats.

For the outer physical help, load on occlusives, humectants & emollients like petroleum jelly, shea butter, squalene oil, ceramides, aloe vera, oatmeal enriched creams, coconut oil, and vitamin E.

It should start getting better in a week or two. If the skin becomes very dry rapidly & nothing affects you, see your dermatologist.

Have a beautiful healthy baby Mama, Love~ Beauty Stroll

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By Aayushi S
By Aayushi S
Aayushi is a New York based freelance writer and a content strategist. She is a computer science graduate, a health and skincare fanatic and is also the founder of “Beauty Stroll “. She aims to make science-backed skincare easy to understand for her readers.

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