The pregnancy mask: how to avoid it?

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 which appear after prolonged exposure to the sun. What is pregnancy mask and how to prevent its appearance? We will explain everything to you.

The pregnancy mask or chloasma: what is it?

The mask of pregnancy manifests itself by pigmented plaques , small irregular brown spots on the face, more precisely at the nose, forehead, cheekbones and on top of the lip. It can also arise on the stomach. You know that little brown line that goes from your navel to your pubis? It generally 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 levels of female hormones: estrogen and progesterone. As with the appearance of stretch marks , the pregnancy mask is partly linked to a hormonal upheaval . Indeed, hormonal variations will cause an overproduction of melanin , a natural pigment responsible for the brown coloring 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 cause non-uniform hyperpigmentation of the skin.

Hormonal variations are not the only culprits. The mask of pregnancy can also arise from a genetic background. In fact, 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 she will be able to escape it.

Don't panic, the pregnancy mask is not dangerous for your health . It is simply not appreciated by pregnant women because of its unsightly side.

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Pregnancy mask: How to protect yourself?

At the risk of disappointing you, there is currently no 100% safe miracle solution to avoid catching a pregnancy mask while exposing yourself.

If you don't want to contract it, you should expose yourself to the sun as little as possible and especially not during peak hours, when the sun is most dangerous, i.e. 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 we must take advantage of the outdoors! During exposure, the skin must be protected ! Whether this exposure is short or long, it is important to apply sunscreen with a high SPF (even when going shopping in the city center). Reapply 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 . This is truly the safest way to avoid this skin reaction. It's easier to protect yourself from it in winter than in summer. Don't forget to protect yourself during your ski vacation.

It is also important to avoid applying photosensitive products such as perfumes or cosmetics containing alcohol.

In terms of diet, eat foods rich in vitamin C (blackcurrant, parsley, pepper, kiwi, lychee, red fruits, papaya, cauliflower, etc.). And also in vitamin B9 (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, spinach, salads, sorrel, chestnuts, melon, eggs...). And we drink a lot of water!

HELP! I have a pregnancy mask: how do I get rid of it?

The desire to sunbathe was too strong and then the tragedy 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 most. Be careful if you had these famous brown spots during your previous pregnancies, there is a possible risk of them returning during a new pregnancy or during exposure to the sun. So we do everything we can to take as many precautions as possible!

But if you have decided to persist, you will then need to consult a dermatologist who will surely recommend laser or depigmenting peel.

For other tips, feel free to visit our blog .

Source: The great book of my pregnancy - National College of French Gynecologists and Obstetricians (CNGOF), Jacques Lansac, Nicolas Evrard, Bernard Hédon

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