It is no surprise that pregnancy brings on numerous changes within a woman’s body. Beyond an expanding belly and swollen feet, some women must also deal with melasma. Melasma is a skin condition that affects millions of individuals. Up to 90% of the sufferers involve women because hormonal fluctuations are a primary trigger. Women who are taking oral contraceptives or who are pregnant are most likely to experience the unsightly skin pigmentation of melasma. Melasma is characterized by patches of darkened or discolored skin on the face, which is why it is often called the “mask of pregnancy.”
What is Melasma?
Melasma results in brown or gray patches on the skin, particularly on the cheeks, nose, forehead, chin or upper lip. This discoloration is triggered by an increased production of melanin in the skin, which can be caused by exposure to the sun, heredity or even certain medications. For expectant women, hormones are the primary trigger.
How Melasma Can Impact Those Who Suffer
While melasma does not threaten your physical health or produce uncomfortable symptoms, it can greatly threaten one’s emotional wellbeing. Visible discoloration on the face can affect one’s self-esteem, especially emotionally-sensitive women who are pregnant or who are in the post-partum period. For some, melasma is challenging and can be a problem that lasts for many years if not treated.
How Melasma is Treated
In some cases, the dark patches of melasma fade away once hormones regain balance. However, there is still a significant number of women who battle this embarrassing skin condition long after they deliver their baby. A board certified dermatologist can effectively treat melasma. Treatments may involve one or more of the following:
- Topical Lightening Creams
- Chemical Peels
- Laser Therapy
How Melasma is Prevented
Since genetics play a role in your susceptibility to melasma and hormones often trigger it, it is not always possible to prevent melasma from occurring during pregnancy. However, you can control your exposure to sunlight, which is a notable culprit to melasma and can worsen/darken your pregnancy mask. Wearing proper sunscreen is critical!
Want to eliminate or reduce your “pregnancy mask”? Call Olansky Dermatology Associates of Atlanta. We specialize in advanced skin care for your entire family, including women who are experiencing skin-related side effects from hormonal imbalance.