Dealing with skin issues is a common occurrence during pregnancy. As your body’s hormone levels skyrocket, your skin can be one of the first places you notice the change.
During each of my pregnancies, I noticed a darker patch of skin on my cheek. With each consecutive pregnancy, it became darker and would fade noticeably between pregnancies. When I asked my doctor about it, he said it was chloasma or the pregnancy mask.
WHAT IS THE PREGNANCY MASK?
Chloasma is a change in skin pigmentation brought on by the hormones of pregnancy. These darker patches commonly appear on the face, especially the forehead, cheeks, and mouth; hence the name pregnancy mask.
WHO DOES IT AFFECT?
Women with darker pigmentations are more prone to chloasma and you’re more likely to have it if it runs in your family, like it does mine. The dark patches can also become more prominent with each pregnancy.
WHERE IS IT FOUND?
I developed a couple of other patches on my upper arms as well. These could have been caused by sun exposure. Staying out of the sun or wearing protective clothing can help prevent these patches and always apply an SPF 30 or higher while pregnant. I also notice a dark line running down my belly. My doctor said this was the linea nigra, similar to chloasma and nothing to be concerned about.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
I definitely began to wonder if there were any treatment options for the pregnancy mask. In my research, I discovered that there are some natural and easy ways to lighten the dark patches right away. Mix 1/2 lemon juice and 1/2 hydrogen peroxide and apply to patches to lighten them. The same is true with a half-apple-cider-vinegar/half-water mixture, too. Turmeric milk and milk of magnesia can also help. Dermatologists can prescribe skin bleaching creams and even laser surgery if the patches really bother you. In the meantime, you can simply use a concealer. Personally, I didn’t think about it too much. I wanted to know if it was dangerous and my doctor assured me it was normal. As the weeks went on, the patches would fade and they are easily covered with a basic foundation now.
HOW DO I PREVENT IT?
There are ways to lessen your likelihood of dealing with chloasma. Balancing your hormones before pregnancy is a great start. A healthy diet with lots of omega 3’s and 6’s will keep your skin in top condition. Omega’s help balance hormones. I always found flax seeds and oil and salmon to improve my skin. Oral contraceptives containing estrogen, like the Pill, can contribute to chloasma in some women so you might consider another option. Protect your skin from UV rays before and during pregnancy. Apply a moisturizer with SPF daily.
WHEN TO BE CONCERNED
If you ever have a skin discoloration that is associated with pain, redness, or bleeding, or if you see any changes in the color, shape, or size of a mole, call your doctor. These can all be signs of skin cancer.
KNOW THAT YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL NO MATTER WHAT
Changes in your skin are just another normal symptom of pregnancy that we women have to deal with. Be patient. This too shall pass and in the meantime know this: No matter what, you are beautiful!