6 Ways to Manage Skin Pigmentation During Pregnancy

“Hey, you’re glowing!” This is one of the most common compliments expectant mothers hear. Well, pregnancy glow is something people talk about all the time. But women don’t get this glow after getting pregnant. Some people find themselves with dark skin or hyperpigmentation during this phase of their lives. Hormonal changes have a major role to play in this. So let us tell you how to manage pigmentation during pregnancy.

What is skin pigmentation?

Skin pigmentation is basically the natural coloring of the skin resulting from the presence and distribution of pigments, says Dr Sandeep Babbar, Medical Director and Dermatologist, Revyve Skin, Hair and Nail Clinic, Faridabad.

Melanin is the main pigment that gives humans their distinctive complexion, although other elements like blood vessels and collagen can also have a slight effect on the appearance of the skin. Genetic and environmental variables, as well as aging and environmental factors, all impact skin pigmentation.

Hormonal changes can lead to hyperpigmentation during pregnancy. Image provided by: Shutterstock

Conditions such as hyperpigmentation (excessive darkening of the skin) and hypopigmentation (loss of skin color) are disorders related to skin pigmentation. These conditions can be caused by a variety of things, including genetics and hormonal changes.

Skin pigmentation during pregnancy

Pregnancy-related hormonal changes, combined with additional variables such as increased blood flow and sun exposure, are the main causes of pregnancy-induced pigmentation. Here’s what happens:

1. Melasma

One of the most typical pigmentation changes during pregnancy is melasma, the expert tells Health Shots. On the face, it usually appears as dark or grayish-brown spots, especially on the cheekbones, forehead and upper lip. Melasma can be caused by hormonal changes, including an increase in estrogen and progesterone, which can promote the formation of melanin in the skin. The effects of the sun can make the situation worse.

2. Black line

During pregnancy, a dark line may run horizontally along the abdomen. This is due to an increase in melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), which increases during pregnancy and is responsible for creating melanin. The good news is that the line usually disappears after giving birth.

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3. Moles become darker

Due to an increase in melanin production, moles and freckles you already have may darken or become more visible during pregnancy.

4. Pregnancy mask

It is often known as the “mask of pregnancy” and is another name for melasma, which is a type of facial pigmentation that some pregnant women suffer from.

Ways to Manage Pigmentation During Pregnancy

Dr. Babbar says pregnancy-related pigmentation changes are generally harmless and are considered a natural part of pregnancy. However, some women may find them upsetting due to concerns about changes in their appearance. Here’s what you can do:

1. Sun protection

Since UV rays can increase pigmentation changes like melasma, protecting your skin from the sun is essential to managing pigmentation during pregnancy. Even on cloudy days, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF daily and reapply every two hours when you’re outside. To protect your skin from the sun, you should also wear protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses.

Also read: 5 best sunscreens with SPF 50 or more for oily skin

Close-up of woman's face
Protect your skin from sun exposure. Image provided by: Shutterstock

2. Topical solutions

Products containing components such as glycolic acid, lactic acid or azelaic acid can help improve the appearance of pigmentation problems without seriously harming your baby. Products containing retinoids and hydroquinone should be avoided during pregnancy due to potential dangers, says the expert.

3. Hydrate

You can maintain the health and appearance of your skin by keeping it well hydrated. You can choose a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer to apply daily. Properly hydrated skin tends to appear healthier and can reduce the visibility of pigmentation changes.

4. Keep irritants at bay

Pregnant women often have more sensitive skin, so it’s important to avoid skin care products that can make it worse. This covers abrasive cleansers, scrubs, and products with strong fragrances. To reduce the risk of skin irritation, opt for gentle, hypoallergenic skincare products.

5. Postpartum care

After delivery, as hormone levels return to normal, many pigmentary alterations that occurred during pregnancy may gradually improve or decrease. After delivery, continue your skin care routine and sun protection habits.

6. Dermatological procedures

These should only be carried out under the supervision of a doctor and after carefully weighing the pros and cons of the procedures. To protect you and your baby, procedures such as chemical peels and laser therapy should be used with caution during pregnancy and may even be delayed until after delivery.

Every pregnancy is different, so what works for one woman may not work for another. But there is always a dermatologist to better guide you.

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