Chloasma is a skin condition that can be experienced during pregnancy. This condition affects the skin causing a tan or dark skin discoloration. Another name for this condition is called Melasma or the mask of pregnancy.
Malasma is when there is hyperpigmentation in the skin, but when seen in a pregnant woman, it can also be called Chloasma. It often appears during the second or third trimester of pregnancy and gradually fades off after delivery (postpartum).
Exposure to sunlight and other factors is a major contribution to this. Over 50-70% of women experience this.
How does it look like?
Malasma or Chloasma is characterized by dark-gray-brown patches on the skin. The affected area is often darker than the surrounding skin and often appears on both sides of the face in a nearly identical pattern.
These patches usually occur on the forehead, cheek area upper lips, and jaw area. This is why it is also called the mask of pregnancy. Other areas include places that are easily exposed to the sun such as the arm, chest, and neck.
Malasma can affect anyone but occur in women more due to hormonal changes such as pregnancy or intake of contraceptive pills. A spike in pregnancy hormones in a woman’s body such as estrogen and progesterone, induces hyperpigmentation.
It is the same melanin in the skin that makes the nipples, freckles and linea nigra (the dark line that runs down your belly) appear darker during pregnancy.
The dark spot usually returns to normal as the body hormones normalizes after delivery. It might take weeks or months for the patches to completely disappear.
- Exposure to sunlight: The most important factor in the development of Malasma is sunlight. The UV (Ultraviolet) from the sun stimulates Melanocytes. The skin color is determined by the number of Melanocytes. A dysfunction can lead to Malasma.
- Change in hormones: As explained earlier, an increase in pregnancy hormones triggers Chloasma in pregnant women.
- Genetic history: If a member of the family has suffered from it, there is a higher tendency that one might experience it too.
- Drugs: Oral contraceptive, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and other medications causes Malasma.
- Effects of skincare products.
- Stay away from the sun: Avoid sun exposure as much as possible. And if you must go out in the sun, wear a hat with a brim to protect your face and wear long sleeved dresses.
- Apply sunscreen and sunblock to your face and body before exposing oneself to the sun.
- Beware of certain skincare products and harsh cosmetic products that may irritate or damage the skin. Instead make use of mild cleansers and facial creams.
- Avoid waxing, as hair removal causes skin inflammation. It increases the risk or worsen Chloasma.
After Delivery, dark spots usually fade naturally. But other options to hasten the process includes:
- Make use of Hydroquinone. Hydroquinone decreases the formation of melanin by blocking the natural chemical that creates dark skin. It also lightens the skin.
- Use Tretinoin creams. Tretinoin is a vitamin A related compound. It works by accelerating the turnover of skin cells and suppressing melanin-producing cells (melanocytes). In order words, it helps to fade dark spots.
- Azelaic acid creams and gel: They work by slowing down the production of pigment and have been proven to make the skin lighter. It is good alternative to Hydroquinone.
- Chemical peel: Liquid solution (acid) is applied to the skin to burn off the outer layer of the skin revealing a new regenerated skin. It is advised that professional help is sought-before this procedure is performed.
- Laser treatment: Lasers are the most expensive. Lasers targets dark spots and emits concentrated light energy, thereby removing the skin layer by layer.
- Intake of nutritional food such as egg, organic vegetables, fruits, avocado, etc., that contain vitamin A, C and E
- Homemade Remedies: These natural remedies work, such as lemon juice, honey mask, turmeric paste, etc.
Pregnant women have different symptoms during pregnancy and chloasma can be abnormal for you, but it is a normal thing that can happen to any pregnant woman. it definitely goes away after giving birth. Just take the preventive measures listed above to avoid such because you might not like it on your skin.