Rosacea is a skin condition which affects millions of people, yet medical professionals still do not fully understand what causes it and there is no cure.
Often the condition appears spontaneously, but there are some sufferers who believe that their rosacea was triggered by a specific stimulus or life event. Pregnancy is one of these possible triggers.
Can Pregnancy Cause Rosacea?
Most doctors do not support the idea that pregnancy causes rosacea, although it is certainly true that many women suffer the first symptoms of the condition while pregnant. There are several reasons why it may seem more common among pregnant women.
The first explanation is that it is merely coincidence. Around ten percent of the population are estimated to have rosacea, and although it can affect anyone it most commonly develops in women in their thirties. This is also the time when women are most likely to become pregnant.
The second possibility is that pregnancy doesn’t trigger the disorder, but it does cause a flare up of symptoms in somebody who already had an underlying predisposition.
There are many factors which can raise your risk of developing rosacea, such as having fair skin which becomes flushed easily or having a family history of skin problems. Therefore, pregnancy may cause the first flare up in a person who was always destined to develop the problem.
You also need to keep in mind that rosacea is a permanent and incurable skin problem, but it does go through periods of spontaneous remission. This means that if there are certain triggers which are specifically linked to your pregnancy, you may not be aware that you still have the problem when you are not pregnant. Know exacerbating factors for rosacea are:
- Exposure to sunlight
- Certain types of food (particularly spicy food)
- Strenuous exercise
Although pregnancy has a reputation for being a joyous time, the truth is very different for many women. A lot of pregnant women find it a very stressful period in their life, which can cause rosacea symptoms if stress is one of your personal triggers.
Pregnancy also puts a lot of strain on the body, not unlike strenuous exercise. This is particularly true in the second and third trimester when the growing baby places strain on the muscles and internal organs, and could be another reason why pregnancy makes a rosacea flare up more likely.
The third and final trigger which could be a problem during pregnancy is hormonal changes. It is known that hormonal fluctuations can exacerbate other skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis during pregnancy, although more research is needed into whether the same is true of rosacea and pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones can also make the skin more susceptible to damage from the sun, which can be a factor in rosacea symptoms.
In conclusion it can be said that pregnancy itself does not cause rosacea in individuals who were not already poised to develop it. However, there are many characteristics of pregnancy which could account for the symptoms being triggered at that specific time in the person’s life.
How To Treat Rosacea During Pregnancy
It is impossible for a person to completely eradicate rosacea, but most sufferers are able to find a treatment option which helps to improve their symptoms. Unfortunately, most of these treatments involve the use of medications such as corticosteroids, which are not safe to take during pregnancy due to a link with birth defects.
Although doctors will be able to prescribe safer alternatives to corticosteroids if your rosacea is particularly serious, it is preferable to control the symptoms with more natural methods which carry a lower risk.
You could try using natural supplements and therapies to reduce the inflammation, such as tea tree oil. This is considered safe during pregnancy, but you should check the information leaflet for other therapies as not everything which is “natural” is safe for use for while pregnant.
If your skin feels dry and sore then you could also try aloe vera cream. This is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, and can help to soothe and heal painful skin. Skin care products containing cucumber are also known to be very soothing.
Looking after yourself during pregnancy will also help to minimize the symptoms of rosacea. This means staying hydrated, eating well and taking gentle exercise to help your body to cope with the rigors of pregnancy. A healthy lifestyle also includes dealing with stress, which is an additional factor in controlling rosacea.
Rosacea is not harmful, but it can be uncomfortable and have a very negative impact on a person’s self esteem. Suffering a flare up during pregnancy can be particularly stressful, as it is a time when a woman may be dealing with many other difficult bodily changes. Speak to your doctor for more advice on coping with this condition.