Dry skin and lips during pregnancy

Sécheresse de la peau et des lèvres pendant la grossesse

Prevention and treatment of dry skin and lips during pregnancy involves maintaining adequate hydration

Dry skin and lips during pregnancy

Last update : June 03, 2023

Throughout pregnancy, hormonal changes, especially in the last few months, can cause acne, pimples, or dry skin and lips to appear. Indeed, in women who have dry skin, it becomes even more dehydrated and begins to crack. This causes bothersome symptoms and even pain.

What are the causes of dry skin and lips during pregnancy?

In general, when you start feeling dry during pregnancy, it’s a sign of dehydration. There are multiple causes that can influence this condition, from not drinking enough water to increased blood volume caused by pregnancy. Indeed, according to a study published by the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, it is quite common to have dry skin during this phase.

Not drinking enough water

If hydration is essential at all stages of life, during the 9 months of pregnancy it is even more so. Even the amount of water needed will increase as the baby grows.

Also, if you don’t increase your water intake, you may show signs of dehydration, including dry skin and lips. In their turn, other types of discomfort and symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting may be experienced. Even women who suffer from severe morning sickness find it difficult to take in the correct and sufficient amount of fluids. This could be the cause for the development of signs such as dryness.

A pregnant woman drinking.

Increased blood volume during pregnancy

During the period of gestation, it is possible that the maximum blood volume exceeds up to 50% more compared to women who are not pregnant. In turn, the increase in the value of blood sugar (even in the absence of gestational diabetes) forces the rest of the organs to work harder.

For this reason, you experience frequent urination and dehydration. On the other hand, it should also be considered that the increase in blood volume and water retention can cause skin distension and cause dryness and cracking.

Cracks in the lips also appear later due to increased blood volume. This augmentation can swell the nasal passages and cause congestion. Therefore, breathing through the mouth increases the dryness and cracking of the lips.

Also read: 10 nutrients for skin during pregnancy

Water retention

Water retention during pregnancy can also be one of the causes of dryness. skin and lips. Indeed, during pregnancy, the increase in the value of vasopressin, a hormone that contributes to less water retention by the body, causes swelling.

Then, excessive edema causes distension, dryness and cracking of the tissues. In general, swelling usually occurs in the last trimester of pregnancy. Additionally, if this occurs, itchy red lesions may also develop.

What to do to reduce dry skin and lips during pregnancy?

Achieving a correct skin care routine is essential. This implies putting it into practice both in the morning and in the evening. To do this, keep the following points in mind:

  • Keep skin and lips hydrated. For this you can use a moisturizer and a balm in the case of the lips.
  • Drink water. It is essential to drink an adequate amount of liquid, as this helps to reduce the signs of dryness. Lip skin is no different, so dehydration leads to cracking. In case of nasal congestion, treating it with a saline spray helps fight against cracked lips.
  • Shower with lukewarm water. Avoid showering with hot or cold water, as extreme temperatures reduce skin hydration. Even the drying of the skin should be done with a soft towel and without rubbing too hard. Because it can irritate or aggravate the dryness. I’American Pregnancy Association also recommends calamine lotions to soothe itchy dry skin.
  • Do not lick lips. Indeed, saliva tends to dry out the lips even more.
A pregnant woman putting cream on her belly.

Cosmetic product safety during pregnancy

Pregnant women can use lip balms. I’American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends using cocoa butter to create a barrier on the skin that promotes moisture retention.

Dry skin on the body can be treated with coconut oil. Which effectively hydrates with collagen-boosting peptides. However, some actives are not suitable for use during pregnancy or lactation. Some of them include the following:

  • Formaldehyde.
  • Hydroquinone.
  • Phthalates.
  • Retinoids.
  • Glycolic acid.

Routine care for dry skin and lips during pregnancy

Finally, preventing and treating dry skin and lips comes down to maintaining adequate hydration. To do this, steps must be taken to help retain moisture on the surface of the skin. As well as avoiding routines or habits that dry it out.

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All cited sources have been thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, timeliness and validity. The bibliography for this article has been considered academically or scientifically reliable and accurate.

  • Vora RV, Gupta R, Mehta MJ, Chaudhari AH, Pilani AP, Patel N. Pregnancy and skin. J Family Med Prim Care. 2014 Oct-Dec;3(4):318-24. doi: 10.4103/2249-4863.148099. PMID: 25657937; PMCID: PMC4311336.

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