Every pregnant woman suffers from various ongoing and after affects of pregnancy on her skin, be it chapped lips, dark circles, skin color changes etc. Though these skin problems are temporary and will go with time after your delivery, they could cause you to feel uncomfortable while you are pregnant. Pigmentation is one such skin problem during pregnancy, that most women would want to do away with. Not that every pregnant woman faces pigmentation problem but chances of developing dark-skinned blotches increase if your mother too faced it or you have a dark complexion. Since being pregnant you cannot go for high end beauty treatments, the best way to deal with skin pigmentation during pregnancy would be to turn to natural remedies. However, you should know that if you are prone to skin pigmentation, using contraceptives that contain estrogen could make those dark blotches come back.
What Is Skin Pigmentation?
Pigmentation is the darkening of the natural color of our skin. There are some conditions like pregnancy or excessive sun exposure which causes the changes in skin color. When skin becomes dark in color, it is known as hyper pigmentation and if it becomes lighter than its natural color it is called as hypo pigmentation. when you are expecting, hormones are largely at play, and they can make dark patches called ‘chloasma appear on the face – specifically on the area below the eyes and the nose. Women also develop a linea nigra, which is actually a dark, vertical line, crossing at the navel in the middle of the stomach. The linea nigra is caused by the stretching of the abdominal muscles which develop pigmentation. Read more about linea nigra here
Pigmentation also affects the nipples and moles and around the genitalia and perineum, but will die down with passage of time after the birth of the baby.
Skin Darkening During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, many women develop blotches of dark skin upper lip, nose, cheekbones, and forehead, which resemble somewhat the shape of a mask. Medically known as chloasma or melasma gravidarum, this condition is fairly more pronounced in women who have dark skin. Hereditary is also assumed to play a role. Parts that are exposed to the sun may also develop dark patches, like the forearms and the feet. These effects may be more pronounced with the number of pregnancies you have. Apart from the linea nigra, you may also find that your nipples, genitals and other sensitive parts also appear darker. These pigmented areas will be normal after a few months of pregnancy, when the skin color resumes, however, in some women, it may take somewhat longer or may never completely disappear.
Causes Of Skin Pigmentation During Pregnancy
Generally the change in pigmentation which is seen in pregnant woman is melasma and chloasma. It is commonly called as the “mask of pregnancy”. Mostly the dark spots are seen on the face of a pregnant woman over her forehead or cheeks. However, these blotches can appear elsewhere on the body as well. During pregnancy, the increased production of hormones results in increased pigmentation. These spots go away most of the time after pregnancy (but not immediately) but some discoloration has often been observed. You are more prone to developing pigmentation if-
- This is your first pregnancy
- You have been depressed or low during your pregnancy
- You have regular exposure to sunlight
Prevention Of Skin Pigmentation In Pregnancy
There’s hardly anything that can be done to prevent pigmentation during pregnancy – blame it on the same thing that causes morning sickness, and fatigue. However, you can try and keep skin pigmentation at a bay by following the below tips:
- Pigmentation in pregnancy can be slightly minimized by using sunscreen, even when you are not out in the sun. Avoiding the sun goes a big way to get your complexion back
- If you are out in the sun, use a sunscreen with SPF 30 cover yourself properly with a dupatta, saree pallu, or a scarf to avoid direct sun rays falling on skin. Sunscreen should be used whether it’s sunny or not. Opt for a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, everyday, religiously
- Do not use new products on your skin during this time – stick to the ones that you are confident about
- If you are planning to take any medication like Azelaic acid, Retinoic acid etc., make sure you run it through your doctor first. Pregnancy is a delicate situation so do not self-medicate at all
- You could also use a light tinted bronzer or a concealer to hide the patches, if they seem to make you uncomfortable
- Try and stay indoors after you have delivered- do not venture out in the sun often. Walking out, sitting in the sun, or even a ride in the car can make your skin exposed to harmful UV rays that can cause and even worsen skin pigmentation
- Breastfeed – the longer the better
Top 15 Home Remedies For Skin Pigmentation In Pregnancy
You may not love this skin change, and especially when you want to glow during your pregnancy. Because you are pregnant, any chemical treatment is out of the question. Some women do take a series of anti-pigmentation facials and beauty treatments, but, however if you do not have time and are not willing to spend much on the treatment, you can always try some effective home remedies given below for pigmentation as below:
- Aloe gel has magical properties which help to lighten any dark spots. Apply it on the affected area for 15-20 minutes and then wash it off using warm water. For immediate results repeat the on daily basis
- Tomato or cucumber juice mixed with milk when applied on pigmented skin gives great results. It can be applied to any skin type and also gives you a soothing affect
- Mix some almonds and honey and make a fine paste. Apply it on skin and wash it after 15-20 minutes
- Vitamin E is very essential for skin so try taking diet which contains Vitamin E.You can also massage affected area using Vitamin E based oil
- Papaya is very beneficial for skin. Using a face pack consisting of papaya helps to reduce pigmentation. Prepare a pack with 2tbsp Papaya, 1 tbsp honey and 1 tbsp aloe pulp. Apply it on pigmented skin and wash off after 30 minutes. Papaya helps to break down the dead cells and treat pigmentation
- Papaya face mask with yogurt helps to lighten the dark spots. Make a face mask by adding ½ cup of mashed ripe papaya pulp, 1 tsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp of honey and ¼th cup of yogurt and apply a thick layer over the skin. Wash it off after 30 minutes with warm water and pat dry
- Potato can do wonders to your pigmented skin if applied over pigmented skin on a daily basis. You may cut the potato in two pieces and gently rub it on skin or just grate it and squeeze the juice on pigmented skin. You will surely observe the difference
- Make a paste of mint leaves using some water. Apply it over the dark spots and rinse off after 15 minutes. Repeat twice or thrice in a week for better results
- Add some quantity of sandalwood powder, turmeric powder and milk to make a paste. Spread it gently on affected area. Wash after some time
- Mashed avocados or its juice if applied on pigmented skin on a regular basis, gives noticeable results
- Collect some orange peel and crush them to make a powder. Add some amount of raw milk. Apply this paste on the skin and wash after 15-20 minutes
- Lemon can be used directly on pigmented skin but only if your skin is okay with it.
- You may directly apply papaya pulp on the skin, it gives good results
- Once in a week, exfoliate your skin to remove the dead cells on its surface. Take plenty of water to remove toxins from your body
- Along with these packs and remedies, you need to eat healthy to make your skin glowing, shine and to get rid of pigmentation
Though these remedies are quite effective, expecting instant results will not help. If you are breastfeeding, or plan to get pregnant soon, it would be best to avoid any OTC medication and take the doctor’s advice. If you feel your skin is extremely affected by pigmentation and the dark spots do not lighten up much, even after pregnancy, you may consult dermatologist. You may take some treatment and get your skin back, the way you loved it!