Pregnancy brings along a plethora of emotions in a woman’s life. You may go through a range of emotional and physical changes, which can be overwhelming at times. Some of the changes you may experience are dark patches on your skin, stretch marks, acne, etc. Hormonal changes, changes in blood flow and various other reasons contribute to these changes. If you are bothered and stressed due to these changes, know that you can get them treated. In the blog, we will be discussing how to reduce melanin or skin darkening during pregnancy and vital tips that can be beneficial for you.
Some Quick Facts
- Skin darkening is quite common at all stages of pregnancy.
- Some pregnant women may notice dark irregular patches on their nose, forehead, upper cheek and lips. It is known as chloasma, also referred to as melasma or mask of pregnancy.
- Always discuss with your doctor any skin changes you may notice to be safe.
What Are The Reasons That Cause Skin Darkening During Pregnancy?
- Skin darkening during pregnancy can be due to hormonal changes in your body, leading to increased (temporary) melanin production.
- Melanin is the substance that gives colour to your hair, eyes and skin.
- Excess exposure to the Sun’s UV rays can also cause melasma.
- Those with a family history of melasma can also get it.
- Women with hypothyroidism can develop melasma.
When Does Skin Darkening Begin During Pregnancy?
You can notice skin discolouration at any time of your pregnancy. However, it mostly appears in the 1st or 2nd trimester.
A Word of Caution
If you feel itchy, pain or tenderness along with melasma, you should immediately inform your doctor.
How Can You Prevent Skin Darkening During Pregnancy?
Generally, most of the skin changes gradually disappear after the delivery. Though, there are things you can do to minimise this pigmentation.
1. Talk to Your Doctor
As amazing as it sounds, pregnancy can be hard to handle. Never hesitate to share your concerns, doubts and any changes that you come across with your doctors. They can guide, educate and provide proper treatment.
2. Protect Your Skin From Intense Sun Exposure
- Exposure to the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays can lead to melasma. You should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day.
- Even if you aren’t going out, still apply sunscreen without fail.
- You should reapply the sunscreen after every few hours throughout the day.
- Avoid direct sun exposure when outdoors, and always protect your skin by wearing long-sleeved clothes and a hat or cap.
3. Do not apply OTC products for skin lightening
It’s tough to resist the urge to purchase a skin lightening cream from a nearby pharmacy store. Since it is readily available, you may want to take the easy route. However, remember that most of these products contain steroids or harmful ingredients, which you shouldn’t use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Ensure to check with your dermatologist always. They will check your skin and suggest products that can reduce pigmentation and are safe to use during this time.
4. Avoid Waxing
Waxing to get rid of unwanted hair can cause skin inflammation that can worsen your melasma. Hence, it is better not to wax these areas.
5. Consume Enough Folic Acid
Include folic acid and folate through food or supplement. According to some reports, folic acid deficiency can darken your skin during pregnancy. Though, there is no scientific evidence that can support this claim.
6. Eat Healthy Food & Maintain Water Intake
During your pregnancy, have a balanced diet that can provide you with all the essential nutrients your body needs. Avoid carbonated drinks and juices; instead, stick to plain water or fresh fruit juices.
Will Your Skin Become Normal After Pregnancy?
- Most of the skin darkening and other changes return to normalcy after delivery. Remember that it won’t happen overnight; you may have to remain patient.
- The dark spots may fade in a few months or within a year after you have your baby, but sometimes the changes never disappear.
- There are instances when women can have melasma due to contraceptives containing estrogen.
- Always check with your dermatologist on the appropriate skincare products you need to use. Avoid purchasing random products as some may indicate that they are safe to be used even during breastfeeding.
It’s a Wrap
All you would-be and new mamas don’t stress out or lose sleep due to these skin darkening or other changes. It’s easier said than done, but you, too, are human and need time to recover. Calm down, get some rest and keep in mind that everything will work out fine. Don’t be self-critical and enjoy this marvellous phase of your life. Follow the tips and key points mentioned in the blog and, if required, connect with a doctor.
1. What causes your neck to appear black during pregnancy?
Your neck, cheeks, lips and forehead can become dark during pregnancy. It is commonly known as melasma or chloasma. Some of the reasons that cause skin darkening are extra melanin generation, sun exposure and if it runs in your family.
2. Does pregnancy melasma go away permanently?
After you deliver your baby, melasma may slowly fade. There are no instant results, and you may have to wait for months or years. The results may vary for each person. However, rather than waiting, it is best to check with your skin doctor and get treatment early on for better results.
3. Is aloe vera good for your melasma?
As per a study (1) on pregnant women, aloe vera may help improve melasma. However, this is not certain, and it is still early to prove its effectiveness to cure melasma. Always consult a doctor before using any product or natural remedy as it may lead to adverse reactions.