Mask of Pregnancy is a tan or dark skin discoloration, in medical terms known as melasma and as Chloasma faciei. This skin discoloration usually appears in pregnant women, and that is why the name mask of pregnancy. The skin discoloration is actually a state of hyper-pigmentation, which commonly becomes visible on the face.
The marks may appear around the nose, upper lip, cheekbones and forehead. Sometimes it is also visible on your cheeks or along your jaw line. The dark patches can also be appearing on other body parts of the body like forearms, etc., those areas exposed to sunlight.
Cause of Mask of Pregnancy
Melasma is the condition, which occurs due to the stimulation of melanin producing cells, melanocytes. The stimulus happens because of the actions of the two female sex hormones called progesterone and estrogen. These actions will lead to the increased production of melanin when the skin is open to the sun. Women having light brown skin have more chance to develop melasma. The genetic tendency is also one of the main factors in deciding whether one person will develop melasma or not. The effects of melasma may become more prominent with each pregnancy.
The chance of occurrence of melasma is high in people with thyroid diseases. Patients with thyroid conditions may have the chance for increased production of melanocytes stimulating hormone (MSH), which will cause overproduction of melanin.
Remedies of Melasma
The changes in the skin usually disappear on their own after delivery. Meanwhile, you can take some measures to minimize the effects of this mask of pregnancy.
Since the discoloration of the skin happens mainly due to the exposure to sun, the treatments are regularly ineffective if there is a continued exposure to the sun.
Still, there are some treatments to accelerate the fading of the stained patches. They are the following:
- Use of tropical de-pigmenting agents like hydroquinone (HQ) by either over the counter (2%) or by prescription (4%) strength can reduce the pigmentation
- To decrease the activity of melanocytes, use Azelaic acid (20%)
- Microdermabrasion to dermabrasion (light to deep)
- Use of laser therapy
- Application of Galvanic or ultrasound facials with a combination of a topical crème or gel is also good. It can be done using a home massager unit or in an aesthetician's clinic
Before doing all these treatments, you should consult with a dermatologist. In all the treatments as mentioned above, exposure the patient must avoid direct sunlight exposure. The effects of the treatment will be gradual, and hence the patient needs to undergo an extended period of therapy.
Apart from these chemical treatments, you can take some home remedies to reduce the effect of melasma.
Cosmetic camouflage is one of the excellent options to hide the effect of melasma. Cosmetic camouflage is the application of powders or some makeup creams to conceal or hide the abnormalities in the color of the face.
Protect from sunlight
The most important thing to reduce the effect of melasma is to safeguard you from the sunlight. It is imperative because the exposure to sunlight will fasten the production of melanin and that will, in turn reduce the color of the skin. The ultraviolet rays in the sunlight will make stronger the color change. To avoid these, if you are not planning to leave your home also, you should take any sun protection remedies.
Consume plenty of folic acid supplements
Another measure that you can employ is having plenty of folic acid supplements. Eating food containing folic acid will help to reduce the effect of melasma. Some studies even proved that folic acid deficiency could be one reason for hyper-pigmentation.
Melasma or mask of pregnancy is a very irritating problem for most of the women. Though it disappears after delivery, in some people it persists after that also. For them, this is a serious issue. During such situations, people may go for some measures to prevent this. The measures as mentioned above will impede the effect of melasma up to a certain level.
However, you should be very cautious that you should not use any types of bleaches or peels or other chemical containing lightening treatments during your pregnancy or while you are breastfeeding. These things will potentially penetrate your skin and may cause some other serious side effects. Laser treatments are also not advisable during this time up to some extent. So try to avoid sunlight exposure and take healthy food to reduce the impact of melasma