I Have Pruritic Folliculitis (Occurs In Only 1 In 3000 Pregnancies)

by Jennifer Otto
A pregnant woman holding her belly in black and white with red markings over the belly
Scary Mommy and Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty

I have always had fair, sensitive skin. I burn really easy, never tan, and literally everything gives me hives. At 33 though, it’s something I’m totally used to. I know which irritants to avoid and I wear my sunscreen!

Unfortunately, my skin has changed pretty dramatically as of late. My preggo hormones have decided to bring out a whole new skin issue for me to experience: Pruritic Folliculitis.

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Pruritic Folliculitis is just a fancy name for really freaking itchy “acne.” It’s not actually acne, because there’s no bacteria involved. It is brought on by hormones in the second half of pregnancy and poses no health risk whatsoever. It’s literally nothing more than an ugly annoyance that won’t clear up until I give birth.

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Some people get that beautiful pregnant glow…I get this.

The most itchy places are my chest, neck, and ENTIRE back. I know you should never scratch a rash, but seriously guys, I can’t help it. I’ve been having tons of flashbacks to chickenpox as a child. My poor hubs…every time he gets comfy in bed, I start rolling around trying to reach an itch. I beg my six-year-old daughter to scratch my back…like – All. The. Time.

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Oh, and it’s on my face, too!

Growing up with sensitive skin, I’ve gotten pretty good at using concealers and whatnot to hide blemishes. Well…apparently my old tricks don’t work magic.

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I guess I can’t expect the bumps to go away with makeup. And it’s only a temporary color fix anyway, because the second I give in to scratching, I smudge the mask I’ve created and I’m red all over again.

So, how do I get rid of this delightful new skin rash? By having the baby. Ugh! Four months of itchiness to go.

I’m allowed to take antihistamines and use lotions and such – but it only treats the symptom for a short time, then I’m back to scratching like a maniac. Thank the lord it’s winter coat weather right now! I can just imagine shopping for groceries and the snarky looks I’d receive from some Karen shopping for the perfect organic avocado. She would probably assume I have something contagious. Then, if I scratched, she would have to speak to a manager.

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I guess we’ll just add this to the list of oddball things that can happen during pregnancy. If you’ve never heard of it before – you’re welcome. Oh, and there’s a 1 in 3,000 chance you can get the itch of death too, so…ya know…look out!