Melasma, commonly known as dark patches that appear on the skin, is a prevalent issue faced by many women, especially during pregnancy. Melasma is characterised by the appearance of brown or grayish patches on the face, particularly on the forehead, cheeks, and upper lip, which can cause concern and embarrassment for pregnant women. This skin change is attributed to significant hormonal changes that occur in a woman's body during pregnancy. But what are the real causes behind melasma, and how can it be effectively managed?

What Causes Melasma in Pregnancy

Usually, during pregnancy, some skin changes occur due to increased levels of oestrogen, progesterone hormones, leading to the stimulation of melanin production, the pigment responsible for skin colour. Consequently, melanin is produced in large quantities, resulting in changes in the pregnant woman's skin colour in the form of dark and prominent patches, known as melasma. Melasma may not only occur during pregnancy but also due to prolonged exposure to sunlight, resulting in pigmentation on the skin, or it may be due to genetic reasons based on the family medical history.

Prevention Methods for Melasma in Pregnancy

You can reduce the appearance of melasma during pregnancy by following a set of preventive measures, although the main cause of melasma is hormonal changes. Here are some tips that can help reduce the appearance of melasma and maintain skin health:

1. Regular Sunscreen Use:

Sun exposure is one of the major factors exacerbating melasma. Therefore, it is recommended to use sunscreen with a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) daily, even on cloudy days. It is preferable to choose sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays and reapply it every two hours, especially if you are outdoors for long periods.

2. Avoid Direct Sun Exposure:

It is best to avoid direct exposure to sunlight, especially between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun's rays are strongest. You can also wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses to help protect your skin.

3. Use Suitable Skincare Products:

Choose skincare products that do not contain ingredients that may irritate the skin, such as strong fragrances or alcohol. It is good to use products containing soothing and nourishing ingredients for the skin, such as aloe vera, niacinamide, and vitamins C and E.

4. Healthy Nutrition and Hydration:

Remember to follow a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables to provide the body with the necessary vitamins and minerals for skin health. Additionally, drink plenty of water daily to hydrate the skin and maintain its elasticity.

5. Stress Management:

Stress and tension are among the factors that affect the balance of a woman's body hormones, which may increase the likelihood of melasma patches appearing. Therefore, you should try to avoid anything that causes stress and tension and engage in activities such as yoga, meditation, and walking to help alleviate stress if possible.

6. Consultation with a Doctor

If melasma is causing you significant discomfort, you can consult a dermatologist for proper advice. The doctor may recommend using safe topical creams during pregnancy that contain ingredients such as azelaic acid or vitamin C, which help lighten the skin and reduce dark spots.

7. Avoid Using Unreliable Products:

Always try to avoid using unreliable skin-lightening creams because they may contain harmful chemicals like hydroquinone or strong steroids, which can cause serious side effects and affect pregnancy health.

In summary, melasma during pregnancy can be managed and reduced by following all the aforementioned tips, along with proper skincare before and after pregnancy and consuming a healthy diet to maintain radiant and healthy skin.

Ways to Treat Melasma During Pregnancy

  1. Use skin-lightening creams containing safe ingredients like hydroquinone after consulting with a doctor.
  2. Follow trusted natural remedies such as using lemon juice or diluted apple cider vinegar to lighten dark spots.
  3. In the postpartum stage, if these spots don't disappear, you should consider laser therapy after consulting with a doctor to achieve the desired results.

Melasma in pregnancy is a common and temporary condition caused by hormonal, genetic, and environmental factors. By following some preventive measures and appropriate treatments, pregnant women can reduce the appearance of melasma and enjoy healthy, radiant skin during and after pregnancy. Therefore, every pregnant woman should take good care of her skin and consult a dermatologist if necessary for proper advice and treatment.

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