Ask the Nurse

How can I remove my pregnancy mask? I am from Bhutan and am 29 years old.

Melasma is patchy brown hyperpigmentation of the face. When it occurs in pregnancy, it’s called chloasma. It is very common and once you have it, it can recur. It is harmless and common, but can be annoying from a cosmetic perspective. Here are some tips to try during pregnancy:

  1. Eat foods that contain folic acid (you’ll also get plenty in your prenatal supplement), since studies have shown that a folate deficiency can be related to hyperpigmentation. Good choices include, oranges, whole-wheat bread, green veggies and whole-grain cereal.
  2. Stay out of the sun as much as possible and wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 like antheliosis or one with meroxyl (sunlight can also intensify hyperpigmentation-long after pregnancy has resolved).
  3. If you like, use a good concealer to cover particularly pesky spots, but skip bleaches or other chemically based lightening treatments until after you give birth. No peels or lasers, either until AFTER delivery.

There are several successful therapies including combinations of skin bleaching creams with retin A and a topical steroid (formerly available as Tri-Luma) that the dermatologist can offer. Enjoy your new baby and be sure to read Dr. Kristi Tough’s columns for new moms!

All My Best,
Speaking of Women's Health Nurse

March 17, 2014 at 10:32am