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Pregnancy Skin Problems: Melasma

A guide to why you get dark patches on your face during pregnancy and what you can do to treat this condition.

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Melasmas refer to as the mask of pregnancy. Isn't that an awful name? And it's thought to be due to a combination of the sun and the hormones during pregnancy, and that's why it can also happen when you're on hormonal birth control pills. So how can you prevent melasma? The key thing is sun avoidance while you're pregnant, and if you are gonna be out in the sun make sure you use an SPF of at least 30 that contains the mineral sunscreens zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These are much better at blocking the rays that cause melasma. Let's say you do get melasma. During pregnancy, you can treat it with natural lighteners like soy, arbutin, niacinamide and kojic acid. These are available in many over-the-counter products. Once you've given birth and you've stopped breastfeeding, then you can use hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is available over the counter, but I think the prescription strength works a lot better. Finally you can also get chemical peels. And for me, chemical peels, the hydroquinone, and a really good SPF are sort of the trifecta of treating melasma. Let's say you got melasma and you're treating it and you're thinking why aren't I getting better? Don't be discouraged. Melasma takes months to get better, not weeks, and sun avoidance and sun protection during that whole time are crucial.