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The Pregnancy Glow Is Real — and There's Science to Prove It

Top dermatologists share what exactly happens that makes pregnant women appear to glow. 

Teddi Mellencamp Porsha Williams Pregancy Glow

There have been a lot of new babies in the Bravolebrity world recently (we see you Porsha Williams, Kenya Moore, Eva Marcille, Ashley Darby, and Mercedes Javid), and it’s safe to say, we have baby fever. By the way, have you noticed how all these Bravo stars glowed when they were pregnant? Just check out Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave and Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi, who are both currently expecting, if you need more proof. But is it just our imagination, or is the pregnancy glow real? spoke to Sarah Gee M.D. Board Certified Dermatologist with Austin Skin Physicians and Dr. Ted Lain, Board-Certified Dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer at Sanova Dermatology to get the full scoop.
Pregnancy Glow 

According to Dr. Gee, “there are numerous physiologic changes that are normal in pregnancy” that create the glow, including these top three occurrences: Increased sebaceous (oil gland) function causes the skin to be lubricated and often have a shiny appearance. Increased blood volume (circulating blood volume increases 50%) can cause more engorgement of blood vessels that can account for the "rosy" look. Increases in estrogen and progesterone can positively affect the tone of blood vessels, degree of flushing, the thickness of the skin, and degree of oil production. 
Dr. Gee explains that when these changes occur, it is “common to have more rosy cheeks and a pink hue to the skin” creating a “radiance and plumpness” that often accounts for the pregnancy glow.
Pregnancy Acne

While it appears that a lot of pregnant women have the “glow,” there are also plenty of women that experience acne during pregnancy. According to Dr. Lain, “hormone changes are the primary culprit.” He explains that when women are pregnant, “estrogen levels decline, while progesterone takes over as the primary hormone during pregnancy.” When that happens, it “leads to a shift in oil production and hydration in the skin, which may translate to acne flaring.”
Skincare While Pregnant

While most pregnant women are aware of the foods they shouldn't consume while they are pregnant, many are not aware of the skincare products they shouldn’t be using. According to Dr. Lain, “most acne products are off limits during pregnancy due to either a paucity of data, or true concern for the health of the fetus.” Dr. Lain recommends “focusing on alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic or lactic acid, for exfoliation, as well as daily moisturizing." The reason is because "acne sufferers actually need barrier repair in order for their skin to fight off environmental insults.”

According to Dr. Gee, cleansers you may want to avoid using while pregnant include products that contain “salicylic acid, tretinoin, and tazarotene.” Dr. Gee notes that it is “also important to stop most antibiotics and hormonal treatments for acne, as prescribed by your dermatologist.” Lastly, Dr. Gee explains that most “dermatologists also recommend avoiding unnecessary procedures" such as Botox for cosmetic use and fillers "because data is lacking on safety.”

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