Darkened Skin is a common phenomena among pregnant women, commonly called the mask of pregnancy (but officially known as chloasma or melasma gravidarum). Women with darker complexion are more prone to this condition. Also you’re also more likely to develop Melassma or Chloasma (melasma occuring during pregnancy) if it runs in your family and the effects of chloasma become more pronounced with each pregnancy.
|According to the National Institutes of Health, 50 to 70 percent of pregnant women will have melasma. Melasma is also more likely to reoccur with subsequent pregnancies.|
Melasma occurs when a group of skin cells that produce melanin, known as melanocytes, are activated and stay that way. As the melanocytes continue to produce more pigment, the skin gets darker showing visibility of brown or gray-brown patches in a symmetrical pattern. The patches tend to show up around the upper lip, nose, cheekbones, and forehead, sometimes in the shape of a mask. They may also appear on the cheeks or along the jawline. You may develop dark patches on your forearms and other parts of your body that are exposed to the sun.
Tips to Prevent Skin Discoloration During Pregnancy
A major chunk of skin pigmentation tends to disappear after delivery, but you can do a few things to safely minimize them during pregnancy:
- Protect Yourself from the Sun. This is crucial because exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays intensify pigment changes. Be diligent about wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day. The safest sun protection to use during pregnancy is physical or mineral blocks — the ones made with either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Avoid chemical sunscreens, such as oxybenzone, homosalate and avobenzone, which can potentially irritate the skin and have higher risks associated with them. In fact, even if you don’t plan to leave the house or spend much time outside, make applying sun protection part of your morning routine. When you’re outside, cover up and wear a hat with a brim, as well as a shirt with long sleeves if you have pigmentation changes on your arms. Limit the time you spend in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. After bath, apply Vitamin E oil directly to the skin.
- Diet Modifications: As far as diet is concerned, there have been a number of studies linking melasma to a deficiency of folic acid, and folic acid is frequently prescribed by obstetricians to pregnant women with melasma. You can take supplements and eat foods that contain a lot of that key nutrients. Such foods include green, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, and whole grains. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and can help your body repair damaged cells. Eat foods high in Vitamin E, such as nuts, avocado, leafy greens, tofu, and squash.
- Use Gentle Cleansers and Facial Creams. Preparations that irritate your skin may make the problem worse. For home made remedy, try citrus fruits like lemon and orange which contain significant amount of ascorbic acid, that can remove the top layer of skin without damage. Squeeze the lemon juice onto a cotton ball, dab it on your skin and leave it on for 20 minutes. You can even use a honey and lemon face mask. Mix the juice of half a lemon with two teaspoons of honey. Apply to the affected area for 30 minutes and then wash well. Turmeric is a good antiseptic, you can try a paste of lemon juice with turmeric, which is also a skin-lightening agent. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice to one tablespoon of turmeric, apply to the face for 15 minutes, and wash with warm water. To treat it at home, look for creams that contain kojic acid or Melaplex
- Apply a Concealing Makeup. If the pigmentation changes bother you, cover them up for now – don’t use skin-bleaching products while you’re pregnant. The changes may go away on their own after you give birth. To begin with apply moisturizer and sunscreen. Then pat the concealer( like, Dermablend Cover Crème SPF 30 foundation) into place with a fingertip or cosmetic sponge blending the edges well. Use a full or complete coverage foundation over the concealer. A complete coverage option may look slightly less natural, but will create an even and unblemished skin tone.
One of the most critical steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting melasma is to stay out of the sun.
Note: Always consult a doctor before trying new skin products during and after pregnancy.