Pregnancy is bliss. But there are a few factors that can be frustrating during those days. Other than your hormones going haywire and driving you crazy, another frustrating condition that comes with pregnancy is melasma. Melasma is a stubborn skin issue that causes blotchy dark spots. But you don’t need to worry since it is a pretty common issue that can be managed easily.
Want to know how?
What Is Melasma?
Also known as chloasma or pigmentation, melasma is a skin condition in which you get brown patches or spots on your skin. Since it is a common issue in women, especially dark skinned women, anyone can get this condition.
Melasma is also known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’ when it appears in pregnant women.
Melasma usually appears on your face in three patterns:
· Centrofacial: affecting your nose, forehead, and upper lips
· Malar: affecting your cheeks
· Mandibular: affecting your chin and jawline
Pigmentation and discoloration may also appear on your neck and shoulders. While it is not harmful, women tend to become a bit self-conscious about their appearance.
So, do you need to be scared of any spots or marks on your skin? Definitely not. There’s a very subtle difference between melasma and hyperpigmentation.
Here’s what you need to know…
Melasma And Hyperpigmentation: What’s The Difference?
Many of you may confuse melasma with hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation is a very broad term, and it refers to any skin condition in which skin discoloration or dark patches may appear due to any number of factors. For instance, scarring caused by acne, pimples, or boils and marks caused by sun exposure, eczema, or psoriasis – all come under hyperpigmentation. This means any discoloration of skin can be called hyperpigmentation.
Melasma is a bit tricky. It is a type of hyperpigmentation that is mainly triggered by UV exposure and hormonal factors. Compared to traditional hyperpigmentation (which lingers on the top surface of the skin), melasma is much deeper (it can go deep into your skin’s layers) and tough to treat. Let’s explore its causes in detail.
What Causes Melasma During Pregnancy?
The exact cause of melasma is not entirely understood. But experts believe that UV exposure is one of the main factors that cause melasma. Several other factors are also believed to trigger melasma during pregnancy. These include:
· Birth control pills
· Hormone therapy
· Anti-seizure medications
· Family history of melasma
Another study, however, blames your hormones for wrecking your skin with spots and pigmentation. It found that high levels of hormones, such as progesterone, estrogen, and melanocortin, triggered melasma during pregnancy. It also found that women who use oral contraceptives were susceptible to this condition. Another study found that women with hypothyroidism also suffered from this condition.
This means any one factor or a combination of multiple factors, along with UV exposure, can cause melasma. It may go away after childbirth (if caused by your hormones), or it may take a few months’ time and treatment. If you notice any skin discoloration or patches that are darker than your skin tone, consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis.
Melasma Diagnosis Usually, a dermatologist can determine whether it is melasma or not by merely running a visual examination. However, they may perform several other tests to rule out any other underlying factors.
When diagnosing melasma, the doctor may also perform a Wood’s Lamp Examination. In this procedure, a particular type of light is held close to your skin to determine whether your skin is affected by any fungi and bacteria. It also helps in determining how many layers of your skin are affected by melasma.
How To Prevent Melasma During Pregnancy: Treatments And Remedies
When treating this particular type of hyperpigmentation during pregnancy, remember that the results may differ from person to person. For some women, melasma may disappear without any treatment (after they deliver the child or stop taking contraceptive pills), and for some, it may not go away that easily.
Dermatologists usually prescribe medicines to lighten the skin-applied topically, helps with fading of the marks.If medicines do not work on your skin and are not effective, there are other procedures to treat the condition. The possible options include:
Dermabrasion And Microdermabrasion
Both are procedures of the use of an abrasive material to sand off the top layer of your skin.A machine to exfoliate your skin and strip away the dead skin cells, thus gently lifting and removing the affected layer of your skin. You may have to undergo multiple sessions to treat your melasma thoroughly.
Laser treatments can be restorative or dual fractional and target only the affected area. However, this treatment is pretty expensive, and you may need multiple sessions to eliminate melasma completely.
No medication or cosmetic procedure will work if your hormones are causing the condition. Moreover, no treatment can offer permanent results. So, the best thing is to do is to take preventive measures so that the melasma does not return. Now, your hormones are not in your control, so you cannot actually do anything if they are the cause of your melasma. But otherwise, you may take the following measures to keep your skin safe from hyperpigmentation during pregnancy:
1. Use Sunscreen Whenever You Go Out
2. Use Broad-Brimmed Hats And Umbrellas
3. Don’t Stress Out!-Stress worsens melasma.
4. Use Your Medicines Without Fail
Essential Nutrients That Keep You Young
Fresh and healthy food contains vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that keep your cells active and prevent any age-related diseases. These nutrients fight the harmful free radicals that damage your skin, thus reducing the signs of aging drastically. The essential nutrients include:
Stimulate elastin and collagen production, giving the skin a wrinkle-free and smooth appearance.
Carotenoids (Retinol, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A):
Fight the harmful free radicals. A study found that people with high level of carotenoids (antioxidants) in their system had younger-looking skin.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
They have anti-inflammatory properties, and their supplements have shown to slow down the aging process.
The consumption of polyphenols protects you from UV damage. They are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents and have anti-DNA damage effects (4).
This vitamin protects your skin cells from damage due to UV exposure, prevents skin infections, and has an anti-aging effect.
It boosts the antioxidant defenses of your skin, protects the skin cells from UV damage, and has anti-inflammatory effects.
It protects your skin against pollution and other environmental effects, boosts collagen production, and exhibits antioxidant properties.
It protects your skin from oxidative stress, thus preventing long-term damages such as wrinkles, edema, erythema, and thickening of the skin.
They prevent oxidative stress, thus preventing the signs of aging.
Green Tea Polyphenols:
The topical application or consumption of green tea polyphenols prevents damage due to UV rays and chemical carcinogens. The tea has anti-inflammatory properties that prevent antioxidant depletion on your skin .
So where can I get ALL of the above you say? Check out below these 10 Delicious foods below that will keep you looking younger and fabulous- as we say it starts from the inside!
These are rich sources of vitamins C and K and other nutrients that have an anti-aging effect and prevent cell damage
It is rich in potassium, vitamins A, C, E, and K, and antioxidants that fight the effects of aging
Have an anti-aging effect and help your body fight diseases and the signs of aging.
Protects your skin from premature aging. This fruit is rich in vitamins C, E, and K, selenium, calcium, manganese, potassium, protein, and carbohydrates
the skin of tomato has an anti-inflammatory effect on the human skin, and the flavonoids in the fruit slow down aging.
Figs prevent different types of oxidative stress, thus keeping your skin and system healthy
They boost cellular metabolism and cell revival, preventing oxidative stress and slowing down the aging process
8.Lemons and limes-
Are excellent sources of vitamin C that helps in keeping your skin healthy and glowing. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that protects your skin from the effects of free radicals. They also contain flavonoids that are good for the skin (18).
Is abundant in vitamins C and K1, potassium, folate, and other minerals. The high antioxidant content of this vegetable makes it the ultimate superfood that helps you fight the signs of aging
These crunchy and tasty vegetables are excellent sources of beta-carotene, potassium, and antioxidants. They aid weight loss and keep your skin healthy .