What Causes Uneven Skin Tone During Pregnancy?
You may have heard that pregnancy gives you glowing skin, but what about a splotchy, uneven skin tone? Many women experience what’s called melasma or chloasma during pregnancy. This is a condition caused by overactive cells called melanocytes in your skin and is characterized by dark patches of skin on the upper lip, cheeks, forehead, and other areas of the face.
Learn more about what melasma is and how it can be treated and prevented from showing up again in the future.
What Is Melasma?
A type of hyperpigmentation, melasma is a common skin problem that presents as brown or gray-ish patches of discolored skin, usually on your face. Most commonly, melasma happens on your upper lip, cheeks, nose, and forehead, but it can also show up on your neck, arms, and other areas. Also called the “pregnancy mask,” melasma is most frequently seen in pregnant women, when the condition is technically called chloasma. A surge of hormones during pregnancy causes melanocytes to produce more melanin, resulting in skin discoloration.
How Is Melasma Different from Hyperpigmentation?
There are many different types and causes of hyperpigmentation, melasma being one of them. Like other types of hyperpigmentation, melasma can be caused or worsened by sun exposure. However, it is unique in that it is also commonly caused by hormonal fluctuations in pregnant women and women taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. Melasma also tends to be more common in women of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin/Hispanic descent and is unfortunately more difficult to treat than other types of hyperpigmentation.
How to Treat Melasma
Treating melasma and preventing it from resurfacing require both lifestyle changes and the proper skincare regimen. Follow these general guidelines to improve the appearance of dark blotches of skin caused by melasma, in addition to working with your dermatologist:
- Stay out of the sun. Even when caused by hormone imbalances, melasma gets worse when the skin is exposed to the sun. Wear sunscreen on a daily basis, wear sun hats and sunglasses, and avoid tanning beds and deliberate outdoor tanning. You can also take a supplement like Heliocare to offer even more sun protection for your skin.
- Avoid saunas and hot yoga. Infrared light and heat are known to contribute to melasma symptoms, so unfortunately, these activities aren’t best for you if you struggle with this condition.
- Use the right treatment products. In milder cases, retinoids can help to lighten dark patches of skin. However, some spots are more stubborn and need a skin lightening ingredient like hydroquinone or vitamin C.
- Consider in-office treatments. Combined with the proper skincare regimen, treatments in your dermatologist’s office such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion can offer more comprehensive results.
Many women struggle with uneven skin tone caused by melasma. Fortunately, making lifestyle changes and following the proper skincare regimen can help to reduce the appearance of dark patches of skin.
Work with a Skin Type Solutions Physician Partner to create a customized skincare plan based on your Baumann Skin Type to help you achieve a smoother, more even skin tone.
Wishing you great skin!
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