Pregnancy includes many changes, including some that are likely surprising and potentially unwelcome. Some of these odd and new changes include visible differences in your skin, including skin rashes, red marks, chloasma (pregnancy mask), skin tags, and darkening of moles.
The hormones in your body will be busy preparing for keeping the baby safe and growing healthy and preparing for childbirth and the stress that goes with it. Thanks to these hormonal shifts, your skin will be changing as well; the areola around your nipples will get darker, skin tags may start to form almost anywhere, and other pigment-dense areas will get darker. These changes are normal, and usually, they resume their pre-pregnancy hues after the baby is born.
Other skin changes include the linea nigra, a dark line that forms from your belly button to your pubic area. This line varies from woman to woman with some developing a very pronounced line and others not much of a line at all. The same hormones that cause this can also cause discoloration around the face in a mask-like pattern around the nose, forehead, cheeks, and eyes called "chloasma." This pattern will also fade in time after birth. In the meantime, you can use concealer to cover it if you feel self-conscious, but you'll want to avoid any bleaching products because they can be harmful and will not alter the problem anyway.
Skin tags are a little bit different, no one is sure what causes these small extra growths of skin, but they are common in pregnancy and later in life. Sometimes they disappear after the baby is born, and sometimes they don't. They are not a sign that anything is wrong, but if you find them uncomfortable or if they are cosmetically unpleasing, you can have them removed by a doctor in a simple outpatient procedure. Many women wait until after their baby is born to address these as they could go away independently.
- American Pregnancy Association - Skin Changes During Pregnancy
- American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology - Skin Conditions During Pregnancy
- Mayo Clinic - What skin changes can I expect during pregnancy?