How Pregnancy Causes Melasma

Pregnancy is a time of many changes. Unfortunately, your skin can be affected by these changes. Melasma, sometimes called the mask of pregnancy, manifests as darkened patches of skin, and it typically appears on the face around the upper lip, nose, cheeks, and forehead.

Melasma can also darken other parts of the face and skin that are exposed to the sun as well as areas that are already more pigmented, such as freckles, scars, nipples, and genitals.    

At Medweight, Lasers & Wellness Centers in Irvine, California, we understand the frustration melasma can bring. That’s why our providers offer multiple treatments to help women say goodbye to unsightly melasma. 

Read on to learn more about how pregnancy can cause melasma and what you can do about it.

What is melasma?

Melasma is a pigmentation disorder of the skin that causes darker patches of skin to appear. These patches usually occur on the face near the nose, forehead, cheeks, and upper lip, as well as other areas that are exposed to sunlight or already have darker pigmentation.

Melasma affects women more than men. In fact, fewer than 10% of melasma cases occur in men. In addition, women with darker skin and who are pregnant are at a higher risk of developing melasma.   

How can pregnancy cause melasma?

While scientists don’t fully understand why melasma occurs, researchers believe the condition is linked to hormonal changes. This explains why women develop melasma at a much higher rate than men and why the condition is so prominent during pregnancy. In fact, melasma is often called the mask of pregnancy, because at least 50% of women develop some form of the condition.

The hormone changes you experience during pregnancy can trigger an increase in the amount of melanin, or pigment, your body produces. In areas exposed to the sun, such as your face, neck, or shoulders, the effect is heightened. Naturally darker areas of skin are also more affected, as are women with darker skin or a family history of melasma.   

How is melasma treated?

Pregnancy-related melasma can resolve on its own once your hormone levels stabilize after delivery. To minimize the darkened spots on your skin during pregnancy, be sure to use a sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection — even when it’s not sunny — and reapply frequently.   

In many cases, however, the dark spots won’t fade away completely after childbirth. These discolorations can last for years, making you feel self-conscious about your appearance. Fortunately, the team at MedWeight, Lasers & Wellness Centers can help. 

We offer multiple treatment options that can resolve your melasma and help you look and feel your best. Your physician at MedWeight, Lasers & Wellness Centers will evaluate your skin to determine the best course of treatment for your condition. Treatments may include the following:

1. Topical medications

Hydroquinone is a topical bleaching agent that blocks the production of skin-darkening pigments. When applied to melasma, it can gradually lighten the discoloration.

2. Laser therapy

PICO Enlighten™ is a laser treatment that safely and effectively removes melasma patches from skin. Your provider uses specific wavelengths to affect only the discolored areas of skin.

3. Chemical peels

We use the VI Peel Precision Plus® chemical peel to target the darker patches of skin that melasma can cause. It takes about a week for the old, darker skin to peel away and reveal new, even skin. 

How can I learn more about pregnancy-related melasma?

Our compassionate care providers are ready to help you say goodbye to pregnancy-related melasma. Our team will evaluate your skin and health history to determine the best course of treatment for you. We’re here to answer your questions and help you regain confidence in your appearance.

To learn more about pregnancy-related melasma and which treatment option is right for you, book an appointment over the phone with MedWeight, Lasers & Wellness Centers today.

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