Sensitive skin during pregnancy and breastfeeding

90% of women experience skin changes during and after pregnancy - here's our take on sensitive skin.

More than often, sensitive skin can strive during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, even when it has never occurred before. Typically, during pregnancy, the most sensitive region is the belly due to the extensive stretching; however, the lower body might also emerge as troublesome patchy areas.

The outrage of hormonal changes makes your skin highly sensitive to several elements such as sunlight, washing detergents, heat, or certain food items. The following are some of the commonly occurring skin diseases during pregnancy and their treatments:

  • Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy 

Also readily known as PUPPP causes rashes, which lead to itchy bumps on the stretch marks. These itchy blotches typically appear during the third trimester but fade away after the delivery. Thankfully there is some relief in keeping the area cool (using a cold compress).

  • Heat Rashes  

During pregnancy, the body heats for two, explaining much of the high body temperature, sweatiness, and greater blood flow to the skin. This further leads to chafing, which causes small itchy pimples to appear on the chest and within your skin's folds. In case this occurs, keep out of the sun, wear loose clothing and apply products rich in aloe vera for relief.

Whereas, while breastfeeding, the breasts experience several changes. Many women reportedly complain regarding increased sensitivity in either one or both of the breasts. However, the good news is that you can continue to breastfeed or pump for your baby. The following are possible causes that increase sensitivity and what may provide some relief: 

  • Blocked milk duct

When milk ducts are not appropriately drained during breastfeeding, this results in sensitivity, pain, tightness, or a burning sensation. However, a blocked duct is easy to treat if you continue to breastfeed or pump as usual. 

  • Mastitis

The blockage might also result in a breast infection called 'Mastitis' where the breasts become painfully red and swollen. Warm compresses well to help relieve the pain; however, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the situation worsens.  

  • Milk Bleb 

Alongside blocked duct or mastitis, milk blebs can also occur, which appears as a white dot on the nipple and aggravates sensitivity. Apply a warm compress can help relieve pain.

Preventive Measures:

  • Avoid any products that are loaded with additives, dyes, or fragrances. Instead, switch to an unscented, dye-free detergent and skip using dryer sheets. Also, your perfume, fragranced lotion, or even your soap could irritate, trying swapping these products for ones with more natural ingredients.
  • It's essential to protect the skin from the sun with a high-factor sunscreen (greater than SPF 15) as sensitive skin is likely to burn quickly. Apply daily but be sure to choose one that is PABA-free (free of para-aminobenzoic acid) to prevent further skin irritation.
  • Keep your body well moisturized at all times. Avoid long soaks in the tub as they can dry out your skin. It's best to keep baths short or switch to showers. Furthermore, avoid showering and bathing using hot water. Bonus tip: pop your lotion in the refrigerator for an extra boost of cool soothing power next time. 

Using an air humidifier may also help add moisture to the air, which affects your skin. Alternatively, step away from heaters and fires in cold, dry weather.


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