Pregnancy and Melasma: Managing Hormonal Skin Changes
Jun 12, 2023
Melasma is a condition that causes brown and gray patches on the face. It is very common among women during pregnancy. Here is everything that you need to know about melasma during pregnancy.
Why Is Melasma Common During Pregnancy?
Melasma occurs when the melanocytes in your skin start to produce extra pigment causing discoloration of the skin. The reason for this behavior is not known but melasma is believed to have some connection with hormonal changes.
Pregnancy and hormonal changes go hand in hand making melasma common during pregnancy. Melasma in pregnant women is often known as chloasma and this does not affect the pregnancy or the baby in any way.
Who Gets Melasma?
Almost 50-70% of women experience melasma during pregnancy.
Melasma is more common among women with darker complexion. Hence, women who have naturally active melanin production are more prone to melasma during pregnancy.
Usually, melasma starts during the second or third trimester but it can also start during the first trimester.
Almost all pregnant women experience hyperpigmentation of the skin during their pregnancy and for about 15% of them, this develops into melasma.
But if the skin changes are painful or cause irritation, then it might be a different condition since melasma does not cause any pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your dermatologist immediately.
How to Prevent Worsening of Melasma During Pregnancy?
While it might be impossible to avoid it entirely, it is possible to stop melasma from worsening during pregnancy by employing some simple remedies.
Wear Sunscreen: Choose pregnancy-safe sunscreen that has an SPF of more than 30. Choose a sunscreen with mineral blockers rather than chemical blockers. They protect from visible light that can aggravate hyperpigmentation.
Avoid Sun Exposure: We know that it is impossible to stay indoors all the time but avoid going out in the sun when you can. Avoid tanning beds or sunbathing since it can expose you to UVA and UVB rays. Avoid going out in the peak hours of the sun, especially during the middle of the day. And when you have to go out, wear sunscreen and hats, and clothing that provides maximum protection for your skin from the sun.
Choose Gentle Skincare Products: If you are using skincare products, go for the fragrance-free, sensitive, and dermatologist-approved skincare products since they do not further aggravate the condition.
When Will Pregnancy Melasma Go Away?
Usually, the melasma goes away after pregnancy without treatment. The darkened spots fade away within 3 to 12 months after the baby is born.
If the melasma is due to the intake of contraceptive pills, then the skin returns to its normal color when the woman stops taking the contraceptive pills.
If the skin does not return to its normal shade even after months, then you can visit your dermatologist and discuss the treatment options.
There are various treatment options for melasma but it is important to first consult with your doctor and dermatologist before opting for these treatments. This is especially vital for breastfeeding women.
Usually, the dermatologist might recommend over-the-counter medications like tretinoin and corticosteroids, and gels like hydroquinone. But if you want better results, then you will have to opt for aesthetic treatments.
Some treatments that can help lighten the skin that had darkened due to melasma are:
Chemical Peels: This is a well-known treatment for melasma. It can significantly reduce the appearance of melasma but make sure to attend multiple treatment cycles.
Microdermabrasion: This light-based treatment helps reduce the appearance of melasma by exfoliating the skin and stimulating the skin.
Laser Treatments: Different types of laser treatments are available to treat melasma. If you are resistant to other treatments and also do not plan to get pregnant again in the future, then laser treatment is a great option.
Don’t let melasma affect your confidence. Book an appointment with us and we will help you choose the best treatment for your melasma problems. Contact us here.