Pregnancy is a time of a great many changes, not only to your life with a new member of the family and all but also to your body. With the creation of a new life inside your body, there is also the influx of hormones, increased activity of your body, new activities taking place in your body, accompanied by several other changes as well. One such change that many women tend to find distressing is the changing colour of their skin.
Now, we’re not saying you gain some superhuman, chameleon powers, but as a pregnant woman, you may have noticed that certain patches of your skin have been changing their shade of colour, getting darker. Don’t freak out. First and foremost, know that these changes are a normal part of pregnancy. Changing skin colour happens to most women when they’re pregnant, This change in skin pigmentation happens due to changes in hormones that happens during pregnancy.
When skin pigmentation changes, you will notice some patches of your skin becoming dark and those areas of your skin that are already a darker shade becoming even more so. This isn’t a process that can be stopped, however, understanding it may help you make your peace with it.
Where does it happen?
Skin pigmentation during pregnancy is a condition referred to as melasma or chloasma. Melasma is sometimes referred to as a mask of pregnancy due to the common areas where pigmentation occurs. These areas include the upper lip, forehead, cheeks, neck and nose, giving the appearance of a face mask.
Pigmentation may also occur along the jawline, on your forearms, feet, underarms, behind the knees, and other areas that are commonly exposed to the sun or which commonly undergo a lot of friction. Areas that are already pigmented such as moles, nipples, freckles, genitals and other similar areas tend to get darker.
Why does it happen?
Pigmentation during pregnancy occurs due to the increase in production of melanin. Melanin is the hormone produced in the body which protects the body against the sun’s UV rays and is also responsible for tanning of the skin. Due to the nature of the hormone, the patches formed due to pigmentation may worsen if you’re out in the sun for extended periods of time without skin protection such as sunscreen or shading exposed skin from direct sun rays.
How do I fix it?
While there’s nothing you can really do to make it go away while you’re pregnant, you can always try to conceal it. Often, the pigmentation faced by people is exaggerated. It’s slight pigmentation which can be covered up or hidden by the use of concealer or tinted moisturizer/lotion. Now, here’s the good news. This pigmentation does fade after you give birth to your baby. Generally, it takes a few months to fade completely, but it does fade.
The linea nigra is the line that many to-be-mums find when they’re pregnant, running from their belly buttons to the bottom of their bellies (or the pubic bone). This line is always present, however, prior to pregnancy, it is a white line which is referred to as the linea alba. When one goes through pregnancy, the excess melanin production causes darkening of this line, making it the linea nigra. This line also fades back to normal in the weeks/months following childbirth.
Using contraceptives or any other substances that affect hormone production in the body may affect the balancing out of skin pigmentation. Using these substances may worsen the pigmentation or prevent fading of dark splotches on the skin. Additionally, waxing tends to cause inflammation of the skin which could also worsen the condition of melasma. Make sure that the products you use on your skin are not harsh or irritating to the skin as this can also lead to worsening of the condition.