Chloasma during Pregnancy


In conversation with Dr. Kalyani C Reddy
(MBBS, MS – Obstetrics & Gynaecology, DGO)

Chloasma often known as melasma or the mask of pregnancy is a skin condition that can affect 50-70% of pregnant women. Hormone fluctuations are partially to blame for melasma.
Chloasma or melasma causes patches of discoloration. The patches are darker than your typical skin color. Usually it occurs on the face and is symmetrical, with matching marks on both sides of your face.
Read more to know about various melasma treatment procedures from the application of melasma cream to laser treatment.

Why does skin change shade during pregnancy?

Well, pregnancy tends to shift your hormonal levels out of place and a rise in estrogen levels stimulates excess melanin production. That’s why you’re getting dark, blotchy patches of skin on your forehead, cheeks and upper-lip, darker moles and freckles, a dark line at the center of your abdomen.

Is chloasma (melasma) common?

It’s common, affecting 50 to 75 percent of expectant mothers. Especially darker skinned women who already have more pigment in their skin.

When will melasma patches fade away?

Don’t expect instant results, it may take many months to see improvement. Whatever approach you take, it’s important to continue protecting yourself from the sun during treatment and afterward. Not to be of worry though, this usually fades away after delivery or a little later on when your hormonal level normalizes.

How should I protect myself from melasma?

Limit the time you spend in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m to get your normal complexion back. Stay out of the sun so that any remaining splotches don’t darken even more. When you do go out, protect yourself with sunscreen with a high SPF, ideally 30 or more. Also cover up your skin with long sleeves and a hat if possible.

What kind of diet helps in lowering symptoms of melasma?

Eating foods with folic acid has shown to control hyperpigmentation. Foods such as green leafy vegetables, oranges, whole wheat bread and whole grain cereal.

Anything I should stay away from?

Don’t use peels, bleaches or other chemically based lightening treatments during pregnancy or while you’re breastfeeding. Use mild cleansers and facial creams. Preparations that irritate your skin may make the problem worse.

When should I get worried?

If the melasma patches don’t lighten to your satisfaction within a year, talk to a dermatologist about your options for melasma treatment. In rare cases, dermatologists may use a laser to remove the darkened skin, but that’s not the first option. She may recommend remedies such as a bleaching cream (such as hydroquinone), a topical medication that contains tretinoin (such as Retin-A), a chemical peel (such as glycolic acid), or a combination of topical treatments.