Pregnancy is a very exciting period for most women. It’s the time when you get ready to enter the world of motherhood. However, there are accompanying skin problems during pregnancy that needs attention.
Mostly because of the imbalances in the levels of hormones in the body during pregnancy, the skin may react differently during this period. One of the most common skin problems most pregnant women encounter is chloasma or the “mask of pregnancy”. Other people use the term melasma to describe this skin problem.
What Is Chloasma?
Chloasma or melasmagravidarum are blotchy areas of darkened skin. Women with darker complexion are more at risk to develop this skin condition than women with lighter skin. Also, it runs in the family. So, if you have family members who had this while pregnant, you are more likely to have it too.
The skin pigmentation may appear around your cheekbones, upper lip, nose and forehead. It’s dubbed as the “mask of pregnancy” since it forms the shape of a mask. However, you may have this on other parts of the body such as the forearms and other parts of the skin that are exposed to the sun’s rays.
What Causes Chloasma?
Melasma or chloasma appears when there is a sudden surge of estrogen levels in the body. When this happens, melanin production is stimulated. When there is too much melanin produced, it is known as hyperpigmentation.
When this happens, some parts of the body might appear darker such as the areolas. Also, freckles, moles and the dark line down the abdomen dubbed as lineanegra, may appear darker in shade.
This discoloration is temporary and disappears after delivery. However, in some women, the hyperpigmentation may last longer, prompting for medical and dermatological assistance.
When pregnant, one of the best ways to prevent chloasma is to limit skin sun exposure. Wear protective clothing and hats to protect the skin. If you have a pregnant-safe sunblock, you can apply it to vulnerable areas of the body especially the face.
Usually, chloasma will fade as the hormones begin to stabilize. Some women may notice the disappearance of hyperpigmentation as soon as they delivered the baby. Other women, however, may wait longer.
There are other treatment options to help treat dark patches or blotches on the skin. Dermatologists may prescribe hydroquinone, a cream that helps reduce pigments on the skin. It works by cutting the process that leads to increased production of melanin. Other procedures are chemical peels, use of azelaic acid and intense pulsed light therapy.
Pregnancy is sometimes accompanied by various complications and health conditions. It is best to consult with your doctor about skin care products that are safe for you to use. In women with chloasma, visiting your dermatologist is better than applying drugstore topical treatments that are not safe especially if you’re breastfeeding. Since dermatologists are experts in the field of skin care, they are well-versed with which products are best for you.