Pregnancy is an exciting time for most women. But it also means your body is going through a lot of different transformations simultaneously—and sometimes, this can be overwhelming.
One of those new developments you may notice during your second or third trimester is patchy, blotchy, or discoloured skin on your face. This is often referred to as The Mask of Pregnancy, also known as Melasma (during pregnancy) or chloasma (when you’re not pregnant).
There’s nothing to worry about, however, as this type of hyperpigmentation is perfectly normal during pregnancy, especially for women of a darker skin tone, and it usually clears up on its own once the baby is born.
If you have questions about Melasma during pregnancy and why it happens, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how it can be treated if it doesn’t subside on its own.
What Are the Symptoms of Melasma during Pregnancy?
Blotchy skin discolouration is enough to make anyone feel a little self-conscious. But the good news about developing Melasma during pregnancy is that it’s a strictly cosmetic skin condition or disorder that has no effect whatsoever on your health or the health of your baby.
It’s typically characterized by the development of symmetrical dark patches that appear on both sides of your face. However, Melasma can also appear on other parts of your body where the skin is frequently exposed to UV rays from the sun.
Discoloured skin is the only symptom of Melasma. The most common areas where you may notice brownish patches include the forehead, cheeks, chin, bridge of the nose, neck, and even forearms.
How Is Melasma Diagnosed?
Mild cases of Melasma can easily be diagnosed with a simple visual skin examination. Your cosmetologist, dermatologist, or doctor will most likely examine the marks and patches on your skin to make sure they’re not cancerous before concluding that it’s Melasma.
In cases of severe hyperpigmentation or Melasma during pregnancy, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist or skincare clinic for treatment. To reiterate, pregnancy Melasma is perfectly normal and harmless, so you have nothing to worry about. This is just a precaution so that you can feel comfortable in your own skin. Pregnant women already feel extremely self-conscious about their appearances and Melasma simply adds to that feeling.
What Causes Melasma during Pregnancy?
The exact cause of Melasma is unknown as there are so many different biological and environmental factors that can trigger this skin condition. Pregnancy Melasma, however, is most likely linked to the massive surplus of hormones like estrogen and progesterone in your body that force the pigment cells in your skin to go into overdrive.
Women with darker skin tones of African, Middle Eastern, Asian, Mediterranean, Latin, Hispanic, and Indian descent are far more likely to experience Melasma during pregnancy than Caucasian women. That’s because these women naturally have higher melanin levels that result in a darker skin tone.
It’s estimated that the majority of pregnant women—about 50%-70%—will develop temporary Melasma.
Precautions to Prevent Pregnancy Melasma
As mentioned, Melasma is a perfectly harmless purely cosmetic skin condition that can affect the majority of pregnant women, especially women of colour who have higher melanin levels in their skin. There are, however, certain preventative measures that you can take to diminish the effects of Melasma or avoid it altogether. Here are a few helpful tips to help minimize the appearance of Melasma.
Wear Sunscreen/Sun Protection at All Times
Even on cloudy or rainy days when the sun isn’t shining that hard, it’s still important to protect your skin from harmful UV rays that cause skin discolouration and a host of other potential health problems. Moisturize your skin—particularly your face, and other parts of your body that are frequently exposed to the sun—with a dermatologist-recommended topical cream that has the appropriate amount of SPF to accommodate your skin tone.
Your dermatologist can also recommend a sunscreen or sun protective clothing that you can wear on particularly sunny days to protect your skin. According to skin experts, your skin is always exposed to at least a small amount of UV rays, even if you spend most of the day indoors. So it’s always important to protect your skin.
Use Hypoallergenic or Sensitive Skin Products
Even if you don’t normally have sensitive skin, your regular facial cleansers and moisturizers can contain certain chemical compounds that may cause skin irritation during pregnancy and exacerbate hyperpigmentation or Melasma symptoms. Opt for hypoallergenic or sensitive skin products recommended by your dermatologist or doctor to avoid this.
Avoid Waxing at All Costs
Waxing is an abrasive form of hair removal that can cause severe skin irritation and inflammation, so it’s best to avoid this practice during pregnancy.
Wear a Light Concealer
Wearing a light concealer that won’t clog your pores is an effective way to cover up the Melasma-related marks and discolouration on your face and neck so you don’t have to feel self-conscious about your appearance during pregnancy. It’s not a permanent solution, but it does help diminish the appearance of Melasma.
Does Melasma Go Away on Its Own After Pregnancy?
In most cases, the answer is yes. Melasma should dissipate on its own within one year of giving birth. Women who use birth control or any other medications that alter their hormones may experience continued or worsened Melasma symptoms. At that point, consider trying a different contraceptive.
Effective Treatment for Melasma during Pregnancy
Alternatively, you can also try laser Spectra Peel as a form of Melasma removal treatment. This form of FDA-approved laser toning is perfectly safe for pregnant women and will have absolutely no impact on your health or the health of your baby. Using a state-of-the-art laser light technology, Spectra Peel improves skin tone by removing spots, patches, and discolouration for a perfectly smooth result.
Where to Get Melasma Removal in Toronto
For many years, the Anti Aging Toronto Clinic has been one of the leading cosmetic clinics in North America. With clients coming from all over the world to receive treatment from our skilled skincare experts, our reputation in the cosmetic industry precedes us. We specialize in Melasma removal during pregnancy in Toronto. Contact us today to book an appointment.