About 50-70% of women experience darkening of the skin of the face during pregnancy. Also women experience the same during oral contraceptive intake or while on hormone replacement therapy in menopause due to the increased hormones, Estrogen and Progesterone. This occurs in a particular pattern, in the shape of a butterfly with darkening of the cheeks, nose, upper lip and forehead; or else it may occur as blotchy, darkened patches distributed over the face. This is known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’ or melasma or chloasma.
What causes the mask of pregnancy?
This represents an increase in melanin which is the pigment which gives skin it’s colour. It’s main purpose is protection of the skin from the harmful effects of sunlight. In most women this discolouration is a temporary phenomenon which will most likely disappear after pregnancy, or soon after breast feeding is over.
How to prevent the mask of pregnancy?