Being pregnant can be one of the most wondrous experiences of your life. Yes, there’s tiredness and aches and pains, but those first tiny flutters of a baby moving inside is something so very special to behold. There’s no doubt that the miracle of life is amazing, but of course, it doesn’t come without uncertainty, anxiety and sometimes changes that we didn’t quite anticipate.
What is Pregnancy Pigmentation
Pregnancy pigmentation is often referred to as the ‘pregnancy mask’. Typically, it presents as patches of darker pigmentation and dark spots across the face. It’s a bit like having a mass of joined up freckles suddenly appearing and can obviously be quite disconcerting. Some people aren’t too bothered whilst for others, it can feel really distressing and knock their self-esteem.
What Causes Pregnancy Pigmentation?
You won’t be surprised to hear that raging hormones that kick in during the first trimester are the main culprit here. One of the main reasons is that there are some sudden changes in the Endocrine system resulting in large surges of Oestrogen, Progesterone and Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH). None of this spell’s good news for skin because it has the potential to trigger a disordered pigmentation process.
Whether or not you experience pregnancy pigmentation or hyperpigmentation and how badly depends mainly on environmental factors including previous sun exposure or pre-existing conditions, including hyperthyroidism.
How Long Does Pregnancy Pigmentation Last?
Usually, pregnancy pigmentation is harmless and resolves itself after the baby has been born and within 12 months as hormones readjust and settle down once again. In some cases, it can last much longer though and it’s also prudent to say that if you have any concerns at all about changes to your skin, always contact your GP for advice and to check that its nothing more sinister.
Skincare for Preventing Pregnancy Pigmentation
In an ideal world, we’d recommend starting a skincare routine well before conception that will minimise your chances of experiencing pregnancy pigmentation.
We’ve already touched on the fact that UV exposure and sun damage can increase your risk, so the number one priority is, you’ve guessed it, SPF! Most dermatologists would advise using a factor 50 sunscreen because it acts as a barrier, preventing harmful UV rays from passing through the skin and triggering melanocytes, the miniscule cells that guard our DNA. When they sense an attack, they react by releasing melanin pigment to shield the cell’s DNA from damage, much in the same way as soldiers might set off a smoke bomb to disorientate the enemy.
One of our favourite SPF products is Dr Dennis Gross Dark Spot Defense Sunscreen SPF 50. Specifically formulated to tackle hyperpigmentation and dark-spots, this exceptionally high-protection SPF, defends skin against the visible signs of ageing.
This supremely effective sunscreen is brimming with enriching antioxidants and Melatonin Defense Complex to combat free radicals and correct and prevent damage. Vitamin C and E are also in there to maintain healthy skin. All you have to do is massage it in until the formula completely melts into your skin. Make-up can be applied once it’s been fully absorbed.
Another essential step in your defence against pregnancy pigmentation is to apply an antioxidant serum as part of your morning routine to prevent free radical damage and pigmentation triggers. SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum is once such antioxidant Vitamin C Serum that provides powerful anti-ageing benefits, including a visible improvement in the appearance of lines and wrinkles and loss of firmness. Not only that but it’s also a fantastic one for brightening the complexion.
Obagi Professional-C Serum 10% is another great Vitamin C serum, particularly suitable for sensitive, dry, or irritated skin. A gentle formulation, this is still an amazingly rich concentration containing 10% L-ascorbic Acid, the purest form of Vitamin C. On application, it immediately penetrates the skin, providing antioxidant protection and leaving skin instantly radiant.
Skincare for Pregnancy Pigmentation Sufferers
If you’re already suffering the annoying effects of pregnancy pigmentation, then don’t panic, help is already on hand. SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Serum is yet another transformative product from this in demand brand that corrects pregnancy pigmentation at cellular level. Apply 3-5 drops of this layerable, daily-use dark spot corrector serum twice daily. It won’t be long before you see why it’s been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of skin discoloration including stubborn brown patches, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and sunspots to leave you with brighter and even-looking skin.