Chloasma, also called melasma, is a dark skin discoloration that can often affect women during pregnancy and is known as “the mask of pregnancy,” as it commonly occurs on the face. It is not harmful and usually fades after delivery.
What causes it?
Although chloasma can affect anybody, women with darker skin are more prone to it, as are those who are more frequently exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. For pregnant women, chloasma is simply another aggravating side effect of the increased amount of hormones rushing through your body, as the hormones encourage an increase in melanin production, the substance primarily responsible for pigmentation.
One can never eliminate the possibility of chloasma during pregnancy. But because the Sun’s rays can help contribute to the dark spots, covering up exposed skin or wearing sunscreen, not just on those super sunny days, but any time you’re out in the sun, can help prevent the onset of chloasma.
Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
- I Bolanca, Z Bolanca, K Kuna, A Vukovic, N Tuckar, R Herman, G Grubisic. “Chloasma–the mask of pregnancy.” Collegium antropollegicum. 32 Suppl 2:139-41. Web. 10/8/2015.
- “Skin Conditions During Pregnancy: FAQ169.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 6/14/2015. Web.