Pregnancy mask, also known as chloasma or melasma gravidarum , can occur during pregnancy when a rapid elevation of estrogen levels causes your melatonin to be produced in excessive amounts. It appears as blotchy spots on your skin, and is more likely to occur with women with darker complexions than those with lighter ones as women of these complexions already have more pigmentation in their skin. The spots can show up on your upper lip, nose, cheekbones and forehead and other parts of your body too, and exposure to the sun can make the condition worse. This hormone-induced hyperpigmentation is also the cause of linea nigra, a dark line that can appear running down your belly, and the temporary darkening of your nipples.
While the issue will likely resolve itself after you've finished breastfeeding and your estrogen levels balance out, there are natural methods of minimizing the severity of the spots and possibly even eliminating them altogether. Here are some examples of things you can do:
- As indicated, staying out of the sun can help. If you have to be outside, use a broad-spectrum sunblock with SPF 30 or higher. Use it liberally.
- Have a safe and nature-based facial. The ingredients your facial products should be comprehensively tested and be as organic and naturally derived as much as possible. Certain facials and facial products can potentially help reduce or eliminate your pregnancy mask, and get you feeling better about how you look while you're pregnant. Aside from the products you can use, you can also try diamond microdermabrasion, a safe and effective way to gently remove the top layer of skin on your face, and a great (and safe) way to treat pregnancy mask.
- Folic acid can also help. Try to eat lots of foods with folic acid such as green leafy vegetables, oranges, and whole grains. You should try taking a high-quality supplement with folic acid.
- Use a concealer if you want, but definitely avoid anything that can potentially bleach your skin. If the concealer irritates your skin, try a pressed powder instead.
As said, do stay away from bleaches, and also avoid any chemical peels or laser treatments that might irritate your skin.
After you give birth, your doctor may suggest birth control pills to mitigate your estrogen levels. While this is certainly an option you can discuss with them, you may also want to consider other more natural methods of balancing your hormone levels. For example, naturopathic medicine offers a variety of ways to help, and acupuncture also can provide you with the balance you seek.
If any discoloration of your skin looks to be worrisome, see your doctor as you do not want to overlook potential changes in skin related to skin cancer. While pregnancy mask is not an indication of skin cancer development, potentially dangerous changes in skin color could have been incorrectly associated with the harmless melasma you may already be experiencing.