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Mythe ou réalité : les femmes enceintes ont-elles vraiment un "glow" particulier ?

Myth or Reality: Do Pregnant Women Truly Have a Unique "Glow"?

Throughout pregnancy, expectant women undergo periods during which major physiological and hormonal changes occur. Skin manifestations can be observed, as well as an apparent enhancement of the skin, referred to in English as the "glow". Although the term itself may sound like a myth, the pregnancy glow actually has several medical explanations. What causes this phenomenon? Do pregnant women truly have a unique glow? Let's focus.

What causes the "pregnancy glow"?

According to old beliefs, the radiant glow of pregnant women was attributed to the joy of expecting a child. While this poetic idea may be delightful, it is not the case: this is actually due to two purely biological reasons.

  • Hormonal fluctuations

    The increase in hormone levels released during pregnancy can cause your skin to flush and give you that characteristic radiant glow. These hormones are estrogen, progesterone, and human chorionic gonadotropin. They are necessary for the development of the fetus and placenta. Their role is to increase blood circulation, which the placenta and baby depend on for nutrient supply. To do this, estrogen causes a dilation of blood vessels, while also promoting the production of sebum. Therefore, these hormonal fluctuations can also trigger acne outbreaks, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy.

  • The increase in blood flow

    During pregnancy, the body produces more blood. Indeed, the uterus and vital organs require additional blood to support the growing baby. This increase in blood volume also dilates the blood vessels, giving the skin a rosy appearance. Sometimes, this phenomenon is referred to as the "doll complexion". Moreover, the rosy complexion can be accentuated by the shine of sebum. This physiological transformation typically occurs during the first two months of pregnancy, but can persist throughout the entire pregnancy depending on the individual.

Unfortunately, the glow of pregnancy (as well as its underlying causes) fades shortly after childbirth. It is not a permanent change in the skin.

During pregnancy, other changes can include stronger nails, thicker hair, and a decrease in dry skin. There are many biological reasons why these changes occur.

Therefore, we can affirm that the pregnancy glow is not a myth. However, it is entirely possible to be pregnant without noticing a particular "glow".

What other skin effects can we observe when one is pregnant?

It is possible to have skin imperfections: this is known aspregnancy acne. It occurs because the sebaceous glands produce more sebum than usual. Some people may transition from normal skin to oily skin when they are pregnant. It is then appropriate to change one's skincare routine and use purifying and sebum-regulating active ingredients.

Furthermore, the "mask of pregnancy" or melasma is another skin condition related to pregnancy that can affect some women and not others. This condition refers to brown spots caused by hyperpigmentation due to an increased and localized production of melanin. These spots often disappear after pregnancy when hormone levels decrease, but sun exposure can worsen them. It is essential to apply a sunscreen every day to prevent them.


  • Tobah YB. Is pregnancy glow real? (2018).


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