Congratulations... you're pregnant! You probably have noticed some changes in your body. Some nice ones, some not so pleasant. What about your skin... have you noticed dark brown patches of skin on your cheeks, forehead or upper lip? It is likely you got the "Mask of Pregnancy". In other words, you got pregnancy melasma, caused by hormonal change during your pregnancy.
Having had “the mask” myself for years, I know that the changing of your skin and your appearance can make you feel insecure and overwhelmed. But you’re not alone! This condition is experienced by anywhere from 50-75% of women. Let's take a look at what causes melasma and what we can do about it while you're expecting.
What causes the pregnancy face mask?
Under the influence of hormones (estrogen and progesterone), your pigment cells produce extra pigment. This will make existing pigmentation spots and freckles a bit darker. Because some cells produce more pigment than others, new pigment spots may also arise. You see them mainly on the forehead, on the cheeks, under the eyes and around the mouth (some women get a pigmented mustache).
Other triggers include birth control use and hormonal therapies, particularly when an increase in estrogen is involved.
Will the pregnancy mask go away?
When melasma is caused by pregnancy (hormones), the symptoms typically go away either close to a year after pregnancy or when you're done breastfeeding. In some cases, though, melasma can stay present until some form of treatment is undertaken.
It’s important to note that once you’ve had melasma, it can always come back by the use of birth control or if you do not take proper care of your skin and stay out of the sun. Even when faded, melasma can return to the same spot with excessive sun exposure so it’s important to wear sunscreen of 30 SPF (or higher) every day and reapply throughout the day, ideally every 2 hours.
What can you do to treat melasma
The best way and also the most obvious way to prevent this misery is to protect your skin extremely well against the sun. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a 30 SPF or higher on your face all day, every day, even if you’re not going outside. Your future self will thank you. Harmful rays can come right through your windows, and exposure to the sun will only make your mask of pregnancy more pronounced.
Change your skincare routine
When you're skin is changing, it's smart to take a second look at your skincare routine. Are you still using the right products or do you (temporarily) have to make some changes?
If you are not pregnant, there are many products available to treat melasma, like hydroquinone creams. This is is a skin-bleaching agent that is used to lighten areas of darkened skin such as melasma, freckles, age spots, and acne scars. But when you're pregnant this is not safe to use. I can hear you think "but what can I do right now?" Luckily there are enough cosmetic ingredients to treat and prevent melasma with.
A few examples are niacinamide (vitamin B3), vitamin C, and licorice root extract. They are known to lighten superficial pigment and these substances are safe to use during pregnancy. Unfortunately, many skincare products contain too low concentrations to be effective, so check the ingredient list carefully before you buy it. These substances must be stated in the first part of the ingredient list.
During your pregnancy, your skin is especially sensitive. That's why you should be very cautious about what you put on your face. Some ingredients can even make your skin problems worse or be harmful to your baby. In particular skincare products that treat pigmentation spots. This is the main reason why Bumpalicious Skincare has developed the Repair Serum which helps to prevent or overcome the mask of pregnancy The serum contains only ingredients that are safe to use while you're expecting. Because where your and your baby's health is concerned, our motto is "If there's any DOUBT, it's OUT.” This way you can carefree fight melasma and feel confident again in the skin you're in.