Chloasma, popularly known as mask of pregnancy is a skin condition afflicting pregnant women where the skin becomes blotchy and dark colored in patches around the forehead, cheeks and lips. Around 50-75% of expectant mothers of Asian descent are affected by this skin condition. We tell you the causes of chloasma in pregnancy and how it can be cured.
What is Chloasma?
Chloasma is a skin condition that affects pregnant women and leads to occurrence of dark patches on the skin. It is normally visible on the forehead, cheeks and nose and is common among women with darker skin tones. Since the dark patches appear like a mask on the face, the condition is called mask of pregnancy. As your pregnancy advances, you may notice that the color becomes darker. But once the hormone levels come back to normal after delivery, the dark patches fade away.
What are the causes of Chloasma?
The main cause of Chloasma is the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. When the estrogen levels in the body increase, it stimulates the production of excess melanin. Melanin is what causes the pigmentation of the skin. The increased melanin levels make the skin darker than its original color and results in the patches on the skin. When the skin gets exposed to sunlight under these conditions, the dark patches are more pronounced.
What are the remedies of Chloasma?
Since Chloasma is caused by the changes in the hormonal levels during pregnancy, there is no way to reverse the patches on the skin. Not just that, one should not tamper with the hormonal levels during pregnancy with any kind of medication. One should remember that it is a temporary skin condition that goes away after the delivery. A couple of months after the delivery, the skin goes back to normal and the pigmentation vanishes.
Since the condition is not permanent, the best way to deal with Chloasma in pregnancy is to conceal the pigmentation and also prevent further damage that can be caused by sun exposure. A few things you can do are:
- Use a concealer – This is the best way to deal with any kind of pigmentation – to wear a concealer. Since the situation is anyway temporary, why not just conceal it as long as it lasts and wait for it to go away? Pick a concealer that is closest to your natural skin tone or a shade lighter and apply it over the dark patches. Follow up with some foundation and seal it in with some pressed powder.
- Use a sunscreen – No. A sunscreen cannot remove the pigmentation. What it will do is to prevent further darkening of the skin. When you step out, come rain or shine, make sure to apply a sunscreen on the exposed areas of the skin. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that will protect you from UVA and UVB rays. Read more about choosing the best sunscreen here
- If you are not pregnant and are suffering from Chloasma, it could be because of severe hormonal changes in the body, perhaps caused by your contraceptive pill or acne medication. In such cases, consult the doctor immediately.
- DO NOT try to use a bleach or lightening creams on your skin to lighten the dark patches. You do not want to subject your body to harmful chemicals like a bleach when you are pregnant.
Despite the effect it has on the skin, remember that Chloasma will fade away soon after your hormonal levels come back to normal after delivery. So stop fretting about your skin and enjoy this phase. Eat healthy , get enough rest and before you know it, your skin will be back to normal.
Do tell us if you have gone through Chloasma in pregnancy and how long it took for the marks to fade away.
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