I am pregnant and just starting my second trimester (yay). I am very fair-skinned and the sun is very strong here in Tennessee. I am worried about developing the dreaded “mask of pregnancy.” And advice on how to avoid this? Any products you recommend?
What is the Mask of Pregnancy?
Melasma (or chloasma — a darkish skin discoloration of the face) in pregnancy is a hormonal problem — caused by excess estrogen and progesterone, which means women taking the Pill can get it too — so there’s not really any full-proof way to prevent it. IF you are going to get it, that is, since not all pregnant women develop that particular ickiness. (I didn’t, save for one small little spot on my cheek.)
It’s sort of like morning sickness (which I did get, with a vengeance). Some women don’t ever feel the slightest bit queasy, while other women (like me! meee!) spend their entire first trimester hunched over a toilet. It just depends on how your body reacts to the spiking pregnancy hormones.
The good news is that the pregnancy mask DOES go away after delivery — usually completely on its own, so stay away from any skin-bleaching creams for now. And you’re actually LESS likely to develop melasma if your skin is very fair. It’s much more common for women with darker or brownish complexions.
And while there’s no 100% guaranteed way to avoid it all together, melasma is definitely made worse by sun exposure. And non-pregnant, non-Pill-taking women can get it too.
So…wear sunscreen. Every day. Whether it’s sunny or not. Whether you even GO OUTSIDE or not.
And come back this Friday for the long-awaited, long-promised and long-procrastinated Sunscreen Price Tag Cage Match, which dudes. It’s freaking EPIC.
Published April 2, 2007. Last updated November 10, 2017.
Visit Amalah’s Weekly Pregnancy Calendar.