A pregnant mother who expects a healthy pregnancy glow to adorn her face during one of the happiest times of her life might be shocked and devastated to find a red rash in its place.
This red, pimple-like rash is called rosacea. Although it isn’t very common during pregnancy, it does affect a few unwilling pregnant recipients.
What is rosacea?
Rosacea, pronounced ‘roh-zay-shuh’, is a common skin problem that affects people over the age of 30 and has a characteristic red rash spread on the nose, chin, cheeks and forehead. The redness of the skin progresses into tiny bumps, with the blood vessels under the skin becoming visible.
In some instances, rosacea can cause a stinging sensation and soreness in the eyes and may occasionally occur on the neck, chest, scalp or ears. In severe cases, the nose may look swollen and ‘bumpy’ from excess skin or rhinophyma.
Rosacea during pregnancy
Causes and risk factors of rosacea especially during pregnancy
Experts are not certain of what exactly triggers rosacea during pregnancy. However, changes in hormones is often the cause of some not-so-pretty, but thankfully temporary, skin conditions such as this. Stress is also another trigger, and rosacea during pregnancy could just be coincidental.
Although anyone can get affected, it has been recognized that those with lighter skin tone who blush or flush are more susceptible to getting rosacea during pregnancy.
It is also known that 30% to 40% of those who get the skin condition have a close relative with the disease. Unfortunately, scientists do not yet know how the specific genes involved are passed on.
Abnormalities in blood vessels, a microscopic mite called Demodex folliculorum and the H. pylori bacteria have also been named as risk factors for rosacea.
It has also been said that a person’s lifestyle, and not skin colour, can trigger rosacea. Others also say that more cases are now diagnosed because health care and diagnosis techniques have improved in the recent years.
Signs and symptoms of rosacea
Here are some rosacea signs and symptoms to watch out for:
- Persistent facial redness
- Facial flushing (easily blushing)
- Hyperactivity of the facial skin to elements such as the sun and wind
- Pimples and bumps on the face, and papules and pustule in worse cases
- Eye soreness and irritation
- Visible blood vessels
- Burning of the facial skin
- Raised red patches
- Skin thickening
- Facial swelling
- Rhinophyma or excess skin around the nose. This happens in very rare cases and tends to affect more men than women.
How rosacea is diagnosed
There is no clinical test that is done to determine if a person has rosacea. A doctor would do a thorough examination of the patient’s skin and ask about symptoms that are not seen externally.
The patient would also be asked about exposure to any of the possible triggers of rosacea, and refered to a dermatologist if needed.
Rosacea during pregnancy | Image from Freepik
Treatment options for rosacea
In addition to avoidance of triggering factors, the usual options for rosacea patients include topical treatment and oral medications. Topical creams may include antibiotic creams, tretinion, benzoyl paroxide and azelaic acid.
Oral medications, on the other hand, include antibiotics such as erythromycin and tetracycline to kill an infection that is usually present in such cases. Stronger oral medicine such as Isotretinoin (Accutane) is also prescribed for more severe instances.
However, those who are pregnant and suffering from rosacea will have to seek other options. Many oral medications, such as tetracycline, are not suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women because they cause birth defects and weaken normal bone development in breastfed babies.
Topical treatments like metronidazole and azelaic acid are less dangerous than oral medication but should not be used without the doctor’s advice.
Rosacea treatments that are more suited for pregnant women are mostly light and laser therapy and red light therapy.
Natural remedies for pregnant women
Most pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are cautious when taking medication, therefore it is always good to know which alternate remedies will help a particular situation.
Meditation, prenatal yoga and massage help relieve stress and are quite helpful in alleviating the skin condition. In addition to these, tea tree oil, cucumber, oatmeal face mask and golden chrysanthemum cream can also be beneficial.
Rosacea during pregnancy | Image from Dreamstime
Skincare tips for pregnant women with rosacea
It is best to adjust the skin care regimen if rosacea develops during pregnancy. Switching to a gentle cleanser for sensitive skin, such as Cetaphil or QV, is a good option for pregnant women.
Avoid touching, scratching and rubbing the skin to avoid making the situation worse. When going out in the sun, use a broad spectrum sunscreen specially designed for ultra-sensitive skin. Refraining from using facial products that contain alcohol and are noncomedogenic will also help.
If you suspect you have any of the symptoms of rosacea, it is best to see a doctor promptly – especially if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. If you have an ongoing case of rosacea and plan on getting pregnant in the near future, it is best to talk to your doctor about medication options.
Republished with permission from theAsianparent Singapore
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