Everyone talks about the pregnancy glow, and I'm sure some women do feel radiant -- I know I did for a total of three days before I became sick and nauseated over everything! Those who are not feelin' the glow right now may be dealing with the many varied side effects of impending motherhood. One common pregnancy skincare issue is pregnancy melasma, facial skin discoloration colloquially known as the "mask of pregnancy."
What is the mask of pregnancy?
Pregnancy Melasma (muh-LAZ-muh) appears as splashes of darkened skin that appear on the forehead, bridge of the nose, upper lip, and cheeks. Though women with olive and darker complexions are more likely to develop it, up to 70% of expecting Mamas experience the mask of pregnancy. The splotches vary from brown to gray-brown and appear in an irregular pattern. While melasma appears frequently with pregnant women, it also occurs to pre-menopausal women and those taking oral or patch contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications.
What causes melasma during pregnancy?
Blame it on the hormones, Mama. As progesterone, estrogen and other hormones flood your body during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, hyperpigmentation can occur. While pregnancy melasma usually fades within months of giving birth, it never quite disappears for some. When exposed to the sun, Mamas may find faint patches appear once again.
How do I treat melasma?
- Become militant with sunscreen. According to the American Association of Dermatology, the sun triggers melasma: "One of the most common treatments for melasma is sun protection. This means wearing sunscreen every day and reapplying the sunscreen every 2 hours." Dermatologists also recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat when outside, since sunscreen alone may not give you the protection you need.
- Consider toxin-free maternity skincare products designed to treat melasma. The Spoiled Mama's pregnancy melasma treatment products help clears the surface of your skin with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and multi-fruit acids. Your skin can be replenished with new cells and give you a refreshed and glowing look. Meanwhile, Rehab and Lucid Brightening Melasma Serum both brighten and correct dark spots using Retin-A and licorice extracts -- ingredients proven to help treat the mask of pregnancy.
- Eat foods that contain folic acid. Studies have shown that a folate deficiency can be related to hyperpigmentation. Good choices include green leafy vegetables, oranges, whole wheat bread, and whole grain cereal.
Want more tips? Check out other ways to treat, prevent and minimize pregnancy melasma!