The linea negra, pregnancy hyperpigmentation and melasma are almost a trademark of pregnant women. Almost 90% of pregnant women report some form of hyperpigmentation as their pregnancy progresses. From a gradual darkening of your freckles and areolas, to the linea negra and the pregnancy mask, varying degrees of hyperpigmentation are a common and perfectly normal side effect of pregnancy.
But what is pregnancy hyperpigmentation? What causes it? When will it go away and what can you do about it?
What is pregnancy hyperpigmentation?
Pregnancy reserves many surprises. Some are nice, like the first time you feel your baby kicking. Some are awful, like the incessant heartburn in the third trimester. Some are plain weird, like the sudden appearance of a dark stripe on your belly that won’t go away until weeks or months until you give birth, or the dark patches on the upper lip and cheeks called pregnancy mask or melasma.
Hyperpigmentation during pregnancy occurs because pregnancy hormones cause an overproduction of melanin, the pigmentation in our skin, which in turn manifests itself in many ways on a pregnant woman’s body.
Darkening of freckles, moles, and scars. One of the most common side effects of pregnancy is a darkening of
the freckles, moles and scars on a woman’s skin. Hyperpigmentation usually appears after the first trimester and gets more pronounced as the pregnancy progresses into the second and third trimester. In most cases, it won’t completely fade away until months, sometimes even years after the baby is born.
This phenomenon does not only affect the face. Genitals and nipples also darken and become more pronounced due to the overproduction of melanin, and in some cases even lips might also appear fuller and darker.
The linea negra (or linea nigra) is a dark stripe going from your belly button down to your public area that usually appears during the second trimester. Though there are myths that the appearance of the linea negra is linked to the gender of the baby, there is no scientific evidence of the truth of this myth.
Melasma or the mask of pregnancy Another common manifestation of hyperpigmentation during pregnancy is the appearance of the chloasma or melasma. Approximately 70% of women will experience melasma during pregnancy and the bad news is that melasma usually gets worse in subsequent pregnancies.
What is melasma? Melasma consists of darker skin or splotchy dark skin patches in certain areas of the face and sometimes even the forearms. Though totally harmless, melasma is certainly not esthetically pleasing.
There are three main patterns of melasma.
The mandibular pattern is demonstrated by darkening of the skin around the cheeks and jawline. The centrofacial pattern affects the chin, nose, upper lip, cheeks and forehead and the malar pattern of melasma affects only the nose and the cheeks.
What can you do against pregnancy hyperpigmentation and when will it go away?
Though some experts argue that an insufficiency of folic acid triggers hyperpigmentation, even women who take the recommended doses of folic acid often experience this problem and there is little one can do to make this condition disappear during pregnancy.
Dermatologists recommend staying out of the sun and wearing high SPF and large rimmed hats to protect yourself as much as possible from harmful UV rays that will make this condition worse.
The only effective way to minimize the unsightly marks is to camouflage the problem by using cosmetics such as concealer or foundation on the face or forearms. An added benefit is that most good brand cosmetics also have SPF added to their formulation which will give you extra protection from the harmful UV rays.
Pregnancy Hyperpigmentation usually fades away a couple of months after delivery, but might persist longer if you decide to breastfeed. In some cases dark spots will take months, sometimes even years to fade away completely.
Scientific remedies against hyperpigmentation
If you decide to treat these dark areas, your dermatologist might recommend bleaching treatments that containing hydroquinone, topical creams such as Retin-A® and chemical peels with glycolic acid. In some cases microdermabrasion also helps to improve this condition. The problem with these treatments is that they cannot be used while nursing, so most treatments will have to wait until the baby is completely weaned off.
Home remedies against hyperpigmentation.
Home remedies against hyperpigmentation include pastes made by mixing turmeric powder with lime juice or by mixing lemon juice with honey. These pastes should be applied to the dark spots for a few minutes and then rinsed away with water. The vinegar home remedy consists of washing the face with a solution made of equal parts of water and white vinegar which is then subsequently rinsed off with water.
What is hyperpigmentation during pregnancy? www. pregnancyetc.com
Cassandra Cohrun Home remedy for pregnancy hyperpigmentation www.ehow.com