Soothing Your Sensitive Skin

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7 Tips for Sensitive Skin During Pregnancy

  • Pregnant woman
    Your skin needs babying, too.
    Did you know 90% of women experience skin changes during pregnancy? These changes can be caused by the significant shifts in hormones, metabolism, and immune response brought on by pregnancy. Skin problems you had before your pregnancy may get better or worse, or new conditions may emerge. And in general, you’ll likely find yourself with skin that has become more sensitive than before. Fortunately, a little extra care can make you a lot more comfortable.

  • portrait of clawfoot bathtub in sunlit bathroom
    1. Cut back on bath time.
    Long hot baths and showers can dry your skin, causing it to become irritated. Try cutting back to five or 10 minutes and turning down the hot water. Opt for mild bath products that don’t contain perfume, deodorant, or antibacterial ingredients. When you get out, pat your skin dry gently instead of rubbing it and use moisturizer while your skin is still damp. Many dermatologists say rich creams and ointments are more effective at moisturizing than lotions.

  • closeup of woman shaving leg in bathtub
    2. Shave in steps.
    While you’re pregnant, you may no longer be able to scrape a handy razor quickly across your legs and underarms without causing irritation. The best time to shave is at the end of a shower or bath. Apply mild shaving cream or gel and let it sit for three minutes before you start shaving. After shaving five to seven times with one blade, it may become dull and irritating, so grab a fresh one.

  • washing-hands-with-soap
    3. Moisturize after washing hands.
    Frequent hand washing is crucial so yout avoid germs during pregnancy. Unfortunately, it also has a drying effect. Get in the habit of moisturizing your hands after you wash them. As with the rest of your body, pat your hands dry instead of rubbing. Wash your hands instead of using hand sanitizers whenever you can, because the alcohol in sanitizers depletes moisture. When you do dishes or perform other tasks with your hands in water, protect them with rubber gloves.

  • pillow-case
    4. Take another look at your linens.
    During pregnancy your skin becomes more sensitive to the allergens that live in everyone’s towels and bed sheets, from dust mites to pet dander. Before you were pregnant, the level of allergens may not have bothered you. While you are pregnant, the same level may cause itch, redness, and rash. If you used to wash your sheets every two weeks, you may need to start washing them every week, and you may want to wash towels after one or two uses. Consider using a detergent formulated specifically for sensitive skin.

  • open washing machine with towels and laundry detergent bottle on top next to basket of clothing
    5. Sensitize your wardrobe.
    Your tried-and-true go-to laundry detergent and fabric softeners can irritate your skin and make it itchy when you’re pregnant, even if you’ve never had problems before. Switch to a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic alternative for a while. Wear soft, natural fabrics that breathe like silk, linen and cotton. (Silk can be surprisingly warm in winter.) If you need to bundle up to stay warm, layer rougher fabrics like wool over soft layers next to your skin.

  • humidifier-steam
    6. Be aware of the air.
    The moisture in the air affects the moisture in your skin. Dry air dries out your skin, essentially reversing your efforts to moisturize it and avoid irritation. To combat this, consider getting a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home. In cold, dry weather, stay away from fires and heaters and wear gloves outside.

  • suntanning
    7. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
    Sensitive skin can burn in the sun more easily, so wear sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors. As with bath products and laundry detergents, fragrance-free and hypoallergenic options are available for sensitive skin. Many women like the convenience of lightweight facial moisturizers with sunscreen built in. Apply this every day, and it can become a habit even after your baby is born.

Sensitive Skin During Pregnancy | Tips for Sensitive Skin

About The Author

Evelyn Creekmore has more than 15 years of experience writing online educational health content, including nearly 10 years full-time at WebMD, where she was the director of brand content. She holds an MPH in Applied Public Health Informatics from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and an MA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
  1. Pregnancy and Skin. US National Library of Medicine National
    Institutes of Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3444563/
  2. Dry Skin Relief. American Academy of Dermatology
    Association. https://www.aad.org/skin-care-basics/dry-skin-relief
  3. Dry Skin: Tips for Managing. American Academy of Dermatology
    Association. https://www.aad.org/diseases/a-z/dry-skin-self-care
  4. How Often Should You Wash (& Change) Your Bed Sheets?
    Sleep Advisor. https://www.sleepadvisor.org/how-often-should-you-wash-your-sheets/
  5. Skin Care in the Dry Air. Northwestern Medicine. https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/skin-care-in-the-dry-winter-air
  6. Changes in Your Body During
    Pregnancy: Second Trimester. Family Doctor. https://familydoctor.org/changes-in-your-body-during-pregnancy-second-trimester/
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Jan 14
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