By Laura Dolgy (bio below)
You probably already know that pregnancy can affect a woman’s body in many ways, but did you know that many experience eczema during pregnancy? With an influx of hormones and body changes, it’s not very surprising that eczema can creep up. Although there is some information about pregnancy-induced eczema (also known as atopic eruption in pregnancy, prurigo of pregnancy, pruritic folliculitis of pregnancy and papular dermatoses of pregnancy) we have some tricks up our sleeves for dealing with eczema during pregnancy.
Please keep in mind that although these treatments can relieve eczema, we are in no way medical professionals. If you’re experiencing severe eczema symptoms like fever or an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.
Is Eczema During Pregnancy Common?
Although pregnancy can cause eczema, fluctuations in hormones can also cause a variety of different skin issues, such as:
- Skin pigmentation changes
- Dark spots
- Skin sensitivity and more
Surprisingly enough, it seems that pregnancy-induced eczema is possibly the most common skin condition that occurs during pregnancy . This type of eczema can also begin during pregnancy without ever experiencing the skin condition before. Although annoying and uncomfortable, this condition does not harm the baby and usually improves after the baby is born.
What Symptoms Can You Expect with Eczema In Pregnancy?
There are two forms of atopic eruption:
- Eczematous (E-type AEP): This type of eczema is characterized by rough and red patches that usually appear on the face, neck, creases of elbows and on the back of knees
- Prurigo (P-type AEP): This type of pregnancy eczema appears in several bumps that are widespread on the abdomen, arms and legs .
What Treatments Help with Pregnancy Eczema?
If you are suffering from eczema during pregnancy, then the first thing you might want to try is keeping your skin moisturized during your flare-up. This gives skin the opportunity to properly heal by providing moisture to your already dry, sensitive skin. And with a bun in the oven, you want to stick to the most natural of ingredients of course!
Organic Manuka Honey Skin Soothing Cream
This soothing skin cream is the perfect nourishing natural treatment for pregnant women experiencing eczema. Not only is it gentle, but it contains simple ingredients such as Manuka honey, Manuka oil and Beeswax that keep skin smooth and moisturized. Plus it’s anti-bacterial too, so it’s great for soothing cracked, open skin.
Grass Fed Tallow Balm
If you’ve never tried grass fed tallow in skin care, then you are definitely missing out. Tallow Balm is extremely nourishing and moisturizing. It also promotes healing and heals scarring on sensitive, allergy prone or eczema skin. Comes in two varieties: Unscented (for very sensitive skin) and Tea Tree & Lavender (added antibacterial properties and a lovely scent).
Organic Calendula Salve
Calendula is full of vitamins, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, plant compounds and natural enzymes. It contains a selection of natural ingredients such as Calendula flowers, Beeswax, Olive oil and more. Organic Calendula Salve works wonders on dry, cracked or sensitive skin and can also be used on your newborn.
In addition to moisturizing and natural eczema treatments, opting for eczema clothing (in order to not to scratch or infect your eczema) is also a popular choice for those suffering from itchy eczema.
Gloves for Adults
If you happen to be suffering from hand eczema or cannot stop scratching the eczema elsewhere on your body, then you’ll want to check our two recommendations. 1) Remedywear gloves for psoriasis and eczema in soothing TENCEL and zinc. 2) Bamboo Gloves for Adults made with biodegradable bamboo and have a nice cooling effect. Neither of these gloves will stretch out overtime like ordinary cotton gloves. Wear them overnight with cream underneath for relief in the morning.
Body Bands for Adults
If you’re experiencing targeted eczema either on your elbows, knees, arms or legs, then make sure to check out these Remedywear bandages for eczema in the same TENCEL and zinc fabric mentioned above OR WrapESoothe Body Bands in cooling bamboo. Both work well at keeping skin protected and covered from infection.
Many eczema sufferers also have had success using these bands for wet or dry therapy. To discover more about wet therapy and how it can help relieve your itchy, dry eczema quickly, check out our blog post: Our Eczema Trials: Wet Wrap Therapy. Alternatively, if you’re interested in trying dry wrapping, which can be easier and less messy, make sure to take a look at our blog post: Our Eczema Trials: Dry Wrapping.
Many eczema sufferers who cannot get relief turn to light therapy, also known as phototherapy. In fact, this is the form of treatment recommended to pregnant women by Dr. Peter Lio. The most common type of phototherapy used to treat eczema is narrowband ultraviolet light. Essentially this light acts as natural sunlight that has displayed eczema healing abilities.
This process is generally safe for pregnant women, but sunscreen can be applied to the face to avoid melasma (a condition common in pregnant women that causes brown spots) .
Before choosing this treatment, it’s always best to talk to a doctor to decide whether this is the best course of action for treating your eczema.
Manage your Stress
To really help your eczema, it’s important to keep stress to a minimum. In fact studies show that a mother’s stress can harm the fetus’ brain development as early as 17 weeks . It’s also important to remember that stress can increase your chances for an eczema flare-up.
To help reduce your eczema, try adopting a new hobby or start looking into yoga or meditation. Another great idea is getting a pre-natal massage! Just make sure that your therapist checks the massage oil to make sure there are no irritants that can exacerbate your eczema.
If the above is not working for your eczema, then you may want to take a look at what you’re eating instead. If you are not eating well or consuming foods that are actually exacerbating your eczema, then you might want to think about changing your diet, but only do so under a physician’s supervision.
For some great ideas on adopting a new diet to heal your pregnancy eczema, make sure to check out these blog posts:
If you believe certain foods are actually exacerbating your eczema, you’ll want to check out our blog post: Our Eczema Elimination Diet Success (How You Can Do It Too!). Many eczema sufferers have been able to clear their eczema through their diet alone and eliminating foods that trigger their eczema. Just make sure to do any dietary changes along with a physician to be sure you’re not causing harm to your body or your growing baby’s development.
We know that pregnancy cravings can make dietary changes difficult, but healing your eczema from within can be the one step to healing your eczema for good.
Remember though, it’s ESSENTIAL to check with your doctor (especially during pregnancy) whether any dietary changes are appropriate for you and your baby.
Are you pregnant and suffering from eczema? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Bio: Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.
- Atopic eruption of pregnancy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=22702506
- Mother’s stress harms foetus, research shows. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2007/may/31/childrensservices.medicineandhealth
- Treatment with light therapy. https://www.psoriasis.org/pregnancy/treatments/light-therapy