Before you got pregnant, you imagined yourself glowing with health as your body swelled with new life. There's nothing wrong with daydreams as long as you recognize them for what they are. And you did know you were daydreaming. After all, unless you've got your head in the sand, you know about such pregnancy symptoms as morning sickness and varicose veins.
So, you weren't completely out of the loop, but other symptoms have been cropping up that you never expected or even imagined. Gas, snoring, hypersensitivity to smells, you've experienced them all. And now one more: Chloasma, or "mask of pregnancy."
At first you weren't sure what it was. Maybe you got too much sun? No, it didn't make sense. The discoloration was too uneven.
Chloasma appears in the form of blotchy patches of dark skin on your face, most often in the area of the forehead, cheeks, and nose. In some women, the discoloration takes the shape of a mask. This kind of hyperpigmentation is more common in women with dark skin.
Estrogen and Hyperpigmentation
Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, chloasma is caused by increased levels of estrogen in your body. This female hormone does have an effect on pigmentation and you may already have noticed that your moles and freckles are darker than ever before. Other areas of the body may display this type of hyperpigmentation as well: your areolas, the area around your nipples, may have darkened, and there's a line running down the center of your abdomen. The latter phenomenon has a name: linea nigra.
The main thing to keep in mind is that most times the hyperpigmentation fades within a few months of delivery. You may still see a pale line running down your abdomen, or a few dark freckles, but nothing too obvious or disfiguring. In the worst case scenario, once you're done with pregnancy and lactation, you can see a skin doctor who can prescribe medication to eradicate or lessen the discoloration.
How To Deal With Discoloration
Meantime, here are some tips that may help you deal with mask of pregnancy:
*Folate deficiency has been linked to hyperpigmentation, so take your folic acid and eat lots of green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and pistachios.
*Avoid sun and wear a sunscreen when you can't. Get yourself a large brimmed hat and wear long sleeves, too. The sun is going to darken any discoloration you may already have.
*Go to a makeup counter and get some good concealer or foundation to cover up the ill effects of chloasma, but don't use lightening treatments until you're done with pregnancy and lactation. Lasers and peels are out, too, though these are safe after delivery even if you plan on breastfeeding.