Mom and baby skin care

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Skin care concerns during and after pregnancy

Melasma

  • Also known as the "mask of pregnancy."
  • Caused by an overproduction of melanin, a natural substance in the body that gives color to the hair, skin, and eyes, leading to dark patches on the face.
  • Makeup and concealers with white and yellow undertones can be used to cover up the darkness.
  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher to prevent further darkening of the skin.
  • Treatment with topical prescriptions for hydroquinone, retinoids, azeleic acid or hydroxyacids.

Stretch marks

  • Develop in more than 90 percent of women during the sixth and seventh months of pregnancy.
  • Caused by the pulling and stretching forces in the underlying layers of skin during pregnancy.
  • Appear as red or purple bands on the abdomen and sometimes on the breasts and thighs.
  • Moisturizer can improve the appearance and reduce itchiness, while sunless tanning products can hide the marks.
  • Treatment with prescription tretinoin cream or laser therapy.

Itchy skin

  • Develops on the palms and soles during pregnancy.
  • Switch to a fragrance-free non-soap cleanser.
  • Store over-the-counter mentholated or oatmeal-based moisturizer in the refrigerator because the chilled product can help alleviate the itch.

Hair care concerns during and after pregnancy

Excessive hair growth during pregnancy

  • Hair can grow thick on the face and chest.
  • Caused by the overproduction of hormones during pregnancy.
  • Tweezing, waxing, threading or shaving can remove excess hair.
  • Treatment with laser hair removal by a dermatologist.

Temporary shedding of hair after pregnancy

  • Called telogen effluvium.
  • Caused by drop in hormones following pregnancy.
  • Excess hair that grew during pregnancy is lost.
  • No treatments available.

Infant skin conditions

Recurrent diaper rash

  • Caused by persistent wet, soiled diapers and the use of unnecessary baby products, such as powders, creams, lotions and oils, on the bottom.
  • Recommended treatment options include change diapers frequently; use a warm washcloth, instead of pre-moistened wipes; apply a barrier cream with zinc oxide; keep the diaper area open to the air as long as possible before putting on a clean diaper.

Atopic dermatitis/eczema

  • Itchy, oozing, crusting rash.
  • Occurs most often on the face and scalp.
  • Can be confused with cradle cap, which is a red, scaly rash on the scalp, sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids and the skin behind the ears. Cradle cap clears on its own by 8 months.
  • Treatment options:
    • Nonprescription corticosteroid creams and ointments
    • Prescription topical, steroid-free medications
    • Tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, which are prescription topical medications that belong to a class of drugs called calcineurin inhibitors and work by modulating the immune response
  • The 2004 total direct cost associated with the treatment of atopic dermatitis/eczema (in both children and adults) was $1 billion. The majority of the cost, $154 million, is attributed to spending on prescription drugs.1

Baby acne

  • Pimples and whiteheads along the nose and cheeks.
  • Caused by hormones from the mother that increase oil production in an infant's skin clogging the immature oil glands.
  • The outbreak typically clears in a matter of weeks, without treatment.
  • If acne persists for more than several weeks, parents should consult the child's pediatrician or a dermatologist. If the acne persists or becomes severe, consultation with an endocrinologist and pediatric dermatologist is recommended.

Birthmarks

  • Birthmarks can grow as a child grows.
  • Appear most often on the face, but can be present on any part of the body.
  • Two most common: hemangiomas and port-wine stains.
    • Port-wine stains are present at birth.
    • Hemangiomas may not immediately appear.
  • Treatment options:
    • Laser treatment with pulsed-dye laser.
    • Prescription oral corticosteroids or corticosteroid injections.

See your dermatologist for successful diagnosis and treatment of infant and mother skin conditions.

Related resources

1Source: The Burden of Skin Diseases 2005, copyright 2005, the Society for Investigational Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

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