Normal pregnancy induced hormonal changes may have remarkable influences on the skin. Some degree of skin darkening resulting from melanin deposition occurs in 90 percent of pregnant women. These changes are triggered by hormonal changes in pregnancy, which stimulates the production of melanin (substance that give colour to hair, skin, and eyes)
Causes of Hyper pigmentation:
Hyper pigmentation is more pronounced in women with dark complexion and in brunettes. Pigmentation changes are evident beginning early in pregnancy and are more pronounced in naturally hyper pigmented area such as areola a small circular area, in particular the ring of pigmented skin surrounding a nipple) , perineum (the area between the anus and the scrotum or vulva.), umbilicus. Also it is common for pregnant women to develop blotchy areas of hyper pigmented skin on face referred to as the mask of pregnancy. It is also called cholasma or melasma gravidarum.This is seen in half of pregnant women. Patches can show up around upper lip, nose, cheek bones, forehead or along jaw line. The effect of melasma may become more pronounced with each pregnancy.
Although hyper pigmentation usually regresses after delivery, it may persist up to 10 years in a third of affected women.
Severity of pigmentation during pregnancy may be mitigated by avoiding excessive sun exposure and by using sunscreens.
Oral contraceptive containing estrogen may aggravate melasma and should be avoided in susceptible women. If your skin is still blotchy after a few months, talk to your dermatologist about treatment options. Topical application of 2 to 5% by hydroxyquinone, 1% tretenoin gel cream may provide some treatment. Sunscreens use should be continued.
Ways to prevent Hyper pigmentation in pregnancy:
Use a good sunscreen always
Try and use a light sunblock even when you are indoors
Use facial cleansers that are gentle on the skin. They should not aggravate the situation.