Pregnancy is definitely not a cakewalk. It is a roller-coaster ride that not just fills you with emotional ups and downs, but the hormonal changes can affect your body in various ways, some of which are peculiar and you might not have even heard about its existence.
Some of the pregnancy symptoms when hidden do not bother you much, but there are some that cannot be hidden - like your bulging tummy and for many to-be-moms the issue with skin darkening. Appearance of blotches, along with patches and lines, is one of the symptoms of pregnancy whose visibility you cannot hide much.
Skin Darkening During Pregnancy
Read on to know more about the darkened patches that you might develop during pregnancy.
• Dark patches on your face are known as "Chloasma" - sometimes also referred to as the "mask of pregnancy." These usually fade away after a couple of months post delivery.
• Nipples are darker than before. This, along with sensitive nipples, serves to be one of the first signs of pregnancy even before you have seen a positive home pregnancy test result.
• Areola, which is the region that surrounds the nipples, also becomes darker.
• Dark patches are common around your vaginal area. Your upper legs and under arms also get discoloured.
• Soles of the feet and hands tend to be reddish in colour.
• Freckles and moles, especially those on your face, that did not appear obviously before pregnancy, now turn darker and look extremely visible.
• If you have observed the center of your belly as you progress forward in your pregnancy, you would see a black line - known as "linea nigra". This fades away about 3 to 4 months post delivery.
• People with darker skin are more likely to notice changes in the colour of their skin during pregnancy when compared to fair-skinned women.
Reducing Pigmentation During Pregnancy
Below mentioned are some pointers that can help you deal with the pigmentation issues that you face during pregnancy.
• Wear a hat when out in the sun. Also, do not forget to apply a good quality sunscreen with a high SPF content.
• Try wearing clothes that have full sleeves. Less exposure of the skin directly when out in the sun prevents discolouration to a great extent.
• Prevent body exposure to the harmful rays of the sun, especially during the afternoon. Even if you do so, make sure that you wrap your skin up very well.
• If your doctor has identified that you possess chloasma during pregnancy, then it is advisable to keep applying sunscreen daily, irrespective of whether you are directly out in the sun or not. Sun rays surely pour in from the windows and doors of your house and you need to protect your skin from that as well.
• Few women recommend the use of herbal solutions like a few oils. However, its efficiency and effectiveness is not proven much. Also, use of such herbal oils needs to be stopped before twelve weeks of pregnancy. Doctors are better advisors when it comes to oils or creams that can be applied without any potential harm to the baby.
• Few doctors relate discolouration of skin to the deficiency of folic acid in the body. Folic acid being very important during pregnancy. Pigmentation can be prevented by incorporating folate in your daily diet. Folic acid supplements are also available and most likely to be prescribed by your doctor immediately after your pregnancy is confirmed.
• According to Dr. Low Dog, keeping yourself away from the direct rays of the skin is the most preventive manner to avoid skin darkening and pigmentation. It has been found by the American Academy of Dermatology that over 70 percent of pregnant women face issues of pigmentation and skin discolouration during their entire pregnancy period.
In most cases, the discolouration of the skin reduces after delivery and is gone after a few months. However, if the skin continues to appear patchy and dark even months after you have delivered, then you can talk to your dermatologist about it. However, be extremely careful about using specific cosmetics such as bleaching cream, as it is not recommended when breastfeeding.
Doctors know better as to which topical medication will be suitable post-delivery. So, better seek their guidance. In case the skin pigmentation is intense and there are no signs of it fading away, your dermatologist might advise you to acquire laser treatment.
Skin discolouration does not happen overnight during pregnancy. It occurs gradually as you go forward into your pregnancy. With hormonal changes beyond your control, the utmost that you can do to prevent darkening of your skin is to stay indoors during the day and ensure proper coverage of your skin when under the sun directly.
Hyperpigmentation is extremely common during pregnancy and with plenty of solutions available to treat it, you should not be stressed.
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