Published on July 5, 2022 at 14:39 / Updated on February 21, 2024 at 18:09

With all the changes that pregnancy brings, the skin also undergoes its share of disturbances. The variation in the level of certain hormones during this period can cause certain skin discomforts for many women.

How can you prevent or relieve skin problems? How should you take extra care of your skin during pregnancy? Familiprix, in collaboration with Vie de Parents, offers you an overview of how to take good care of your skin during pregnancy.

Common skin problems during pregnancy

Many women will experience some changes in their skin during their pregnancy. These changes should not worry you too much since they disappear on their own, for the most part, within a year of giving birth.

Stretch marks

Stretch marks usually appear from mid-pregnancy. The body's stomach, thighs, breasts and hips are the parts most affected by these purplish features. They are caused by a considerable and rapid stretching of the skin. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent them, except to limit their spread by adopting a healthy lifestyle, i.e. drinking enough water, eating well and applying moisturizing cream to at-risk areas.


For many pregnant women, the skin tends to become darker in some distinct regions during pregnancy, due to the high production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin coloration. This phenomenon is called "skin hyperpigmentation." It is mainly found in the following areas:

  • Face: Brownish spots appear on the face and are called "pregnancy mask." They are often the result of sun exposure.
  • The breasts: The areolas of the breasts (the areas around the nipples) change from a pale to a darker shade. 
  • The navel and pubis: A dark line forms between the navel and the pubis.

If you plan to spend time outdoors on sunny days, remember to protect yourself by applying sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. Choose mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Hyperpigmentation marks often fade after childbirth and disappear over time.


The hormones at the beginning of pregnancy can cause pimples to appear (french only). Since the sebaceous glands are much more active during this period, the skin tends to become oily. Maintain a good facial cleansing routine, with a product adapted to your skin. Also, pay attention to your day cream by choosing a non-greasy texture.

Pregnancy eczema

Pregnancy eczema can occur in women who have never had this problem, but it can also intensify in women who already have it. Again, hormonal changes play a significant role. Eczema is characterized by dry patches on the arms and legs' folds and the back and abdomen. Some common treatments may not be appropriate for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Always consult a healthcare professional before using any medication.

Dryness and itchy skin (cholestasis)

During pregnancy, the skin dries out, causing itching, especially during the last months of pregnancy. Itching is caused by cholestasis; it affects mainly the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The itching is due to a high accumulation of bile salts in the blood. Cholestasis cannot be prevented.

Red patches

During pregnancy, the vascular cells are stressed and cause the subcutaneous blood vessels to dilate, which turns into red patches on the face. The redness disappears on its own relatively quickly.

Top tips to protect your skin during pregnancy

To maintain beautiful skin during pregnancy, make sure you:

  • Moisturize your face and body daily. However, be careful about using certain products with anti-aging properties. Retinoids that could affect your baby's development should be temporarily set aside. Opt for products containing hyaluronic acid. If you doubt using your creams during pregnancy, consult your health care professional.
  • Have a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Drink a sufficient amount of water regularly.
  • Avoid exposure to the sun for long periods of time, otherwise, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high protection factor.

If you would like to learn more about physical changes during pregnancy, consult the Institut national de santé publique du Québec's resource entitled From Tiny Tot to Toddler and our PSST guide: From belly to baby, available online or in Familiprix stores.

PSST! From belly to baby

Download the PSST!

Products you should avoid

It is important to know that certain dermo-cosmetic products and/or over-the-counter medications should be avoided during pregnancy. It is best to use products that are gentle on the skin.

For your health and that of your baby, ask your pharmacist for advice on safe and effective treatment options before purchasing any product.

The drugs and pharmaceutical services featured on the website are offered by pharmacists who own the affiliated pharmacies at Familiprix. The information contained on the site is for informational purposes only and does not in any way replace the advice and advice of your pharmacist or any other health professional. Always consult a health professional before taking or discontinuing medication or making any other decision. Familiprix inc. and the proprietary pharmacists affiliated with Familiprix do not engage in any way by making this information available on this website.