Melasma and Pregnancy

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Melasma is one of the side effects of pregnancy. It is caused by the changes in hormone levels that your body goes through as a result of your pregnancy and is normally reversed after you have given birth. Melasma is common during pregnancy, as it is believed to be caused by increased levels of oestrogen in the blood. When this increases the amount of melanin produced also increases creating patches of darkened skin.

Is Melasma a Health Risk During Pregnancy?

Although it can be irritating, melasma does not pose a threat to the health of you or your baby. It is a common side effect of being pregnant but does not have any side effects of its own. As a result it is an entirely cosmetic complication and does not have any medical implications.

You should however always get any skin changes during pregnancy checked out as some illnesses can present with skin discolouration. Signs to look out for are discomfort, bleeding, and inflammation accompanying skin discolouration. If this occurs, you should seek medical advice immediately.

Can Melasma Be Treated During Pregnancy?

Melasma normally reverses itself within two months of giving birth. This means that treatment is usually seen as unnecessary. Most of the treatments for melasma are not suitable for pregnant women and it is not worth the risk to you or your child.

There are certain measures that you can take during pregnancy to reduce the appearance of melasma. The most important thing to do is to keep your skin protected from the sun. This prevents the UV rays from stimulating melanin production in the skin, which can make melasma much worse. You should use a high strength sun protection cream with an SPF of at least 30. This should be applied at all times when you leave the house even if the sun does not seem particularly powerful.

You should not use any harsh products on your skin if it is effected by melasma this may mean changing your usual cleanser or facial creams. By using gentle products, you will limit the appearance of melasma.

The best way to hide melasma during your pregnancy is to use cover up makeup. This will allow you to conceal the discolouration without having any adverse effects on your health.

Dealing with Melasma after Pregnancy

Once you have given birth, it is highly likely that your skin will return to its normal condition. This usually occurs within two months. It is recommended that you wait for a few months to see if the melasma is reversed before undergoing unnecessary treatments.

If you are breast- feeding you will be unable to undergo most treatments. However if you are one of the rare cases in which your melasma does not reverse itself after pregnancy you will be able to undergo treatment once you have finished breast- feeding.

Treatment once you have finished breast- feeding can take the normal course, which normally begins with topical bleaching creams to reduce the appearance of your melasma, and can progress to more radical treatments such as chemical skin peels and laser therapy treatment.

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