It is not uncommon to hear women complain about their skin during pregnancy. You may have noticed brown, blotched patches of skin on your face during your own pregnancy. You may have even resorted to various facial creams in a panic and were even more alarmed when nothing seemed to work. This is a common condition among pregnant women known as chloasma or melasma.
Background Information and Etiology
The term chloasma originates from a Greek term chloazein which means to be green. It is a kind of skin discoloration that forms what is commonly known as the pregnancy mask. It is believed to be the result of hormonal changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy. An increase in estrogen levels stimulates the body to produce melanin in excess.
The result of this is often a darkening of freckles and moles as well as the areolas. Fortunately, the mask is temporary and often fades after delivery, although it leaves behind some traces of itself.
Dark skinned women are more susceptible to the condition, as are Asian women. Exposure to sunlight makes it worse for these women especially those with more skin pigmentation. Women that use oral contraceptives and those with genetic predispositions are also susceptible to the condition.
There are a few natural remedies that can be used to treat this condition. One is washing your face with sour milk. The lactic acid in the milk prevents irritation and provides a gentle peeling effect. Applying fresh lemon juice will also help.
Folic acid has been related to hyperpigmentation. Therefore, you may want to stock up on foods that are rich in folic acid such as green leafy vegetables and whole grain cereals.
Facial masks made from fruits, vegetables, and sour cream also do the trick. For those with oily skins, you are advised to use lemon juice on the face before applying the mask. Avoid rinsing off the mask completely, and use a facial tissue instead. Applying moisturizer also helps cement the effects of the mask.
To minimize the severity of the condition, you will have to use sunscreen and wear a hat with a wide brim. Exposure to the sun worsens the condition because, during pregnancy, the skin is more sensitive. For this reason, it is advisable that you stay indoors or under a shade to shield yourself from the harmful UV rays. You are also advised to avoid waxing skin parts affected by the condition as this may worsen things y causing inflammation. Avoiding skin care products that are likely to cause irritation is also a good idea.
There are few, if any, known treatments of the condition. Doctors’ advice is often to stay away from laser treatments and chemical products. These are likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream and cause harm to the baby. The best thing to do is simply to minimize the severity of the condition and persevere it. The condition usually fades after you deliver your child. However, if this is not the case for you, you will have to contact a doctor and seek alternative solutions or treatment regimens of chloasma.