Pregnancy mask or chloasma is a hyperpigmentation of the skin that affects many pregnant women during pregnancy. Between 50 and 70%(1) of women are affected by these small brown spots that appear after prolonged exposure to the sun. What is the pregnancy mask and how to avoid its appearance? We will explain everything to you.
The pregnancy mask or chloasma: what is it?
The pregnancy mask is manifested by pigmented plaques , small irregular brown spots on the face, more precisely on the nose, forehead, cheekbones and on the top of the lip. It can also arise on the stomach. You know that little brown line that goes from navel to pubis? It usually occurs from the 4th month of pregnancy .
But how do these brown spots appear?
When you are pregnant, your body experiences an increase in the level of female hormones: estrogen and progesterone. As with the appearance of stretch marks , the mask of pregnancy is partly linked to a hormonal upheaval . Indeed, hormonal variations will cause an overproduction of melanin , a natural pigment responsible for the brown color of the skin during exposure to the sun. This increase in hormones will make you more photosensitive . The sun is one of the triggering factors. Exposure to the sun can thus cause uneven skin hyperpigmentation.
Hormonal variations are not the only culprits. The mask of pregnancy can also arise from a genetic ground. Indeed, some women are more prone to it than others. Thus, a brunette woman is likely to be more sensitive to the appearance of these spots than a blonde woman. Be careful, this does not necessarily mean that it will be able to escape it.
Do not panic, the pregnancy mask is not dangerous for your health . It is simply not appreciated by pregnant women because of its unsightly side.
Pregnancy mask: How to protect yourself?
At the risk of disappointing you, to date there is no 100% sure miracle solution to avoid catching a pregnancy mask while exposing yourself.
If you do not want to contract it, you must expose yourself to the sun as little as possible and especially not during peak hours, when the sun is most dangerous, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.! But we know that exposure to the sun contributes to well-being and the synthesis of vitamin D, so you have to enjoy the outdoors! During exposure, the skin must be absolutely protected ! Whether this exposure is short or long, it is important to apply sunscreen with a high SPF (even for shopping in the city center). Renew the application of sunscreen every 2 hours and on all parts of the body exposed to the sun.
To protect your face from the sun, we advise you to wear a hat and sunglasses . When you're outdoors, shade will be your best friend . It really is the safest way to avoid this skin reaction. It's easier to protect yourself from it in winter than in summer. We do not forget all the same to protect ourselves during the ski holidays.
It is also important to avoid applying photosensitive products such as perfumes or cosmetics containing alcohol.
In terms of food, adopt foods rich in vitamin C (blackcurrant, parsley, pepper, kiwi, lychee, red fruits, papaya, cauliflower, etc.). And also vitamin B9 (hazelnut, walnut, almond, spinach, salad, sorrel, chestnut, melon, eggs...). And we drink a lot of water!
HELP! I have a pregnancy mask: how do I get rid of it?
The urge to sunbathe was too strong and there the drama happened: spots appeared. Rest assured, the pregnancy mask should go away on its own within six months of giving birth or within 18 months at the most. Be careful if you had these famous brown spots during your previous pregnancies, the risk of seeing them return during a new pregnancy or during exposure to the sun is possible. So we're doing everything we can to take as many precautions as possible!
But if you have decided to persist, you will then have to consult a dermatologist who will surely recommend the laser or the depigmenting peel.
For more tips, feel free to visit our blog .
Source: The big book of my pregnancy - National College of French Gynecologists and Obstetricians (CNGOF), Jacques Lansac, Nicolas Evrard, Bernard Hédon