Skin is more than just the largest organ of the human body. The condition of the skin can also have a psychological effect on people. Good skin can improve the confidence levels remarkably, and make you feel better generally.
That is why skin conditions tend to be rather depressing. Chloasma, or the pregnancy mask as it is popularly known, is one of those problems. The spots created by this condition make your skin look bad. Unfortunately, they typically occur around the facial region which makes it hard to hide them.
Thankfully, there are ways to combat this problem. You will be learning about the various treatments for chloasma in this article. However, first you need to understand chloasma and its characteristics. Later on, you will discover the incredible secret that my friend Jane used for overcoming the issue. Don’t forget to read that useful tip.
Let’s start by understanding the condition.
1. Chloasma: Let’s Understand What It Is
You may have noticed some patches on your skin becoming dark, brown or blotchy. These patches tend to look like confetti and appear on your cheeks, forehead, upper lip, nose or lips. If this is what you are experiencing, then you have chloasma.
It is also popular as pregnancy mask because it tends to be rather common among expectant mothers. In fact, nearly 50 percent to 75 percent of pregnant mothers may get brown spots on skin, also called melasma. However, this condition can affect anyone even males. Besides, there are women who suffer from pregnancy mask, but are not pregnant.
Melasma spots become more noticeable during the summer, but the condition improves in winter. As it is not an infection, chloasma is not a contagious condition. It is not an allergic reaction either. Chloasma is not cancerous at all and it will not develop into skin cancer either.
2. Facts About the Pregnancy Mask That You Should Know
Below are the most common facts about this condition that you should become familiar with.
- Women between the ages of 20 and 50 have the highest risks of suffering from melasma.
- Melasma is a type of skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation.
- The melisma spots can look like tan, brown or even blue-gray.
- One of the major characteristics of melasma is the locations which it affects, which are the jawline, cheekbone and central face.
- There is no single cause for this condition; rather a combination of factors is responsible.
- There are various different treatments available for melasma these days, but there is no cure.
- Prevention tactics can reduce the susceptibility; however, they cannot guarantee that you will not develop melasma.
3. What Are the Symptoms of the Mask of Pregnancy?
The symptoms of chloasma include the presence of hyper-pigmented patches in the skin that are dark, irregular and clearly demarcated from each other. The patches generally develop gradually and take time. Typically, they spread in a symmetrical manner. The areas affected by melasma are not raised. Additionally, the skin does not become sore or itchy.
Apart from the cosmetic discoloration, there are no other symptoms of melasma. However, it is possible for the condition to affect your quality of life as the appearance of the skin is affected.
The melasma patches are generally present in the following locations:
- Upper cheeks
- Upper lip
When does pregnancy mask appear? Let’s find that out.
4. What Causes Melasma?
Your body causes melasma through the stimulation of a specific type of cells, known as melanocytes. These cells are present in the skin’s epidermal layer and they produce melanin, a pigment.
When progesterone and estrogen, the female sex hormones, stimulate the melanocytes cells, they begin to produce more melanin pigment when exposed to the sun. This results in the development of patches. In other words, a hormonal imbalance is responsible for the condition. That is why there is a development of pregnancy mask after pregnancy.
Researchers have also found that chloasma may appear because of the use of oral contraceptive pills as they can affect the balance of hormones in the body. Postmenopausal women are also at risk for the same reason.
The genetic predisposition of an individual is another major factor that determines when that individual will develop chloasma. Patients of thyroid disease are at a higher risk of this condition, as well. According to researchers, an increased production of Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone, or MSH, which is caused by stress can result in melisma, as well. Allergic reactions to cosmetics and medication can be another cause; however, such cases are rare.
5. Find Out About the Main Types of Chloasma
There are three different types of melasma. As such, the treatment you choose will be dependent on the chloasma type that you are suffering from, including:
- Epidermal Melasma: In this condition, the excess melanin pigment is present in the epidermis of the skin. Topical therapy, such as lotions and creams, is generally enough to treat this type of pregnancy mask.
- Dermal Melasma: In the case of dermal melasma, there is a presence of excess pigment in the deeper dermis layer of the skin. As the pigment is located deeply, it is more difficult to treat this condition with topical therapies. You may need to use other stronger treatments, such as lasers in order to treat it.
- Mixed-Type Melasma: As the name suggests, pigment is located in the epidermis as well as the dermis. Topical therapy may not be enough to treat this type of chloasma on its own. You may have to opt for stronger treatments, such as lasers.
6. Diagnosing Chloasma: A Wood’s Lamp May Help Guide Your Treatment
Diagnosing Chloasma is generally quite straightforward. Of course, you may need to visit the doctor in order to check if you have melasma. In a clinical diagnosis, your dermatologist will perform a visual examination. They will recognize the typical appearance of the skin patches in order to confirm that you are dealing with melasma.
- Diagnosis with Wood’s Lamp: A Wood’s Lamp is often used to aid in the visual diagnosis. Also known as black light, the Wood’s Lamp helps in the identification of dermal or epidermal areas on the skin which have a higher content of melanin.
- Skin Biopsy: The dermatologist may also suggest a skin biopsy. The aim of the biopsy is to determine the exact cause of the hyperpigmentation in the skin. After all, there can be other causes.
Now that you possess a thorough knowledge of the chloasma condition, it is time to learn significant information, like how to prevent it; continue reading.
7. Primary Preventive Measures for Melasma: Stay Out of the Sun
Melanin production depends on the level of exposure to the sun. Therefore, you need to start avoiding the sun if you want to protect yourself from melasma. While this method is not guaranteed to protect you from the condition, it can significantly decrease your susceptibility.
Here are some of the measures you can take to keep yourself safe from the sun.
- Apply Sunscreen: Make sure that you apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you go out and become exposed to the sun. It will be better if you apply it every day, even when you are not planning to go out.
Opt for a sunscreen of at least SPF 15. However, the results will be better if you choose one that is SPF 30 or higher. Apply the sunscreen on your face. Choosing sunscreens with nutrients like zinc will benefit the health of your skin.
- Wear Wide Brimmed Hats: Do not forget to wear a hat whenever you are going out. Choose a hat that has a brim wide enough to cover your face properly.
- Protect Your Eyes and Face by Wearing Sunglasses: Another effective way to prevent sun exposure is with the use of sunglasses. Opt for larger sunglasses as they can cover a wider area of your face.
- Wear Clothes That Provide Maximum Coverage: You should wear clothes that can cover more parts of your body. In other words, choose pants and long-sleeved shirts.
These measures will also prove to be beneficial when your dermatologist has diagnosed you with melasma. With these measures, you will be improving the results of your treatment and preventing the condition from returning.
Does pregnancy mask go away? Of course, there are several treatments. Let’s find out about them.
8. Hydroquinone: A Possible Treatment for Melasma
Hydroquinone is a popular ingredient in skin care cosmetics. This substance can also prove to be useful in pregnancy mask treatment. You can find hydroquinone in the form of a liquid, gel, lotion or cream.
Hydroquinone can block the natural processes, which occur in the skin and result in the creation of melanin. By blocking melanin production, it can reduce the pigmentation occurring in the skin and thereby lightening its tone. As a result, this substance can cause the melasma patches to fade.
When using hydroquinone in treating your mask of pregnancy condition, here are a few things you need to keep in mind.
- It is possible for hydroquinone creams to contain sunblock. Opt for these creams, as they can protect your skin from the sun, while reducing the patches at the same time.
- Hydroquinone will work better when you use it alongside other skin-lightening ingredients. Find and use such products to get better results.
- You need to apply the cream or lotion onto the affected regions at night. Repeat the process daily for up to four months.
- In spite of its benefits, hydroquinone is a rather harsh compound. It can harm the skin when used in high concentrations. Therefore, keep track of how the substance is affecting your skin. Stop using it if your skin becomes irritated.
You can buy hydroquinone products from stores, over the counter. These products will have a hydroquinone concentration of less than two percent. If you want a product with a higher concentration, you will need to consult your dermatologist for a prescription.
9. Kojic Acid: The Safer and Natural Alternative to Hydroquinone
Although hydroquinone is a good skin lightening compound, it tends to be rather harsh. It can irritate the skin and therefore, most people prefer avoiding this product. Instead of using hydroquinone, they use kojic acid as an alternative.
Like hydroquinone, kojic acid is available in the form of creams and lotions. Generally, the concentration of the substance does not exceed two percent in these products. In fact, it is better not to opt for a higher concentration, as it can irritate the skin. Do not go for products with a kojic acid concentration of less than one percent, as the product will be too mild to have an effect on your chloasma.
Kojic acid works in the same manner as hydroquinone. It can block the production of melanin in the skin. As a result, your skin’s tone will become lighter, thanks to regular use of the product.
Another safer alternative to hydroquinone is a natural topical treatment from Illuminatural 6i. It is a natural-based skin lightening topical treatment that clears melasma, freckles, moles, dark spots and hyperpigmentation. It causes a noticeable improvement in just four weeks.
10. Does Tretinoin Improves Melasma?
Tretinoin is an acid and a source of vitamin A, which can increase your skin cell rejuvenation. In other words, it can boost the rate at which your skin sheds its dead cells. As the melanin pigment is present in skin cells, this substance removes the pigment by getting rid of the cells. The new skin cells contain a lesser amount of the pigment. As a result, your skin will be more radiant.
You must remember that this substance may not work in all cases of chloasma. Therefore, you need to treat the underlying cause of melasma first. If the body is still capable of developing melasma, tretinoin will not have any effect. Instead, the substance will not produce any permanent result at all.
Additionally, tretinoin can irritate your skin. The risks of suffering from sunburns increase with the use of this compound. Interactions with medications like aspirin are also a possibility you need to be aware of before using it.
A Warning for Pregnant Women
It is vital that you remember that expectant mothers cannot use tretinoin. Experts have categorized this substance as being unsafe for use during pregnancy.
11. Three are Better Than One: Using a Combination Therapy for Chloasma
These days, there are combination topical therapies available for the treatment of melasma. These therapies generally involve the use of three active ingredients. According to dermatologists, this therapy is highly effective for melasma. Each of these ingredients acts in different stages of the pigmentation process. As a result, they are more effective when used together.
The three ingredients and their effects in the therapy are:
- Tretinoin: This substance increases the rate at which the skin sheds and gets new cells. In other words, it exfoliates the skin. By removing the old skin cells, new skin cells with lower melanin content grow, leading to lightening of the skin tone.
- Hydroquinone: This substance blocks the production of melanin, thereby allowing the skin to become lighter naturally.
- Corticosteriods: This group of substances is capable of reducing inflammation, which is a common side-effect of skin lightening compounds, such as hydroquinone.
The combination can certainly be effective for your pregnancy mask skin issue. However, you need to use it with care, especially if you are sensitive to any or all of the ingredients. Contact a doctor to determine the safety of this therapy in your condition. For example, tretinoin is unsafe during pregnancies.
Are topical treatments not working for you? Read on to find out about the clinical chloasma treatments.
12. Scrub the Patches Away: Using Microdermabrasion for Treating Melasma
Microdermabrasion is one of the least invasive procedures that are available for pregnancy mask removal. As a result, the recovery period is short, thus making it a popular medical treatment for this condition. However, its effects are not as good, if compared to lasers or chemical peels.
In this method, experts will remove the top layers of the skin to improve its appearance. In spite of the reduction of melasma, the method does not fade it entirely. Up to 12 sessions may be required to obtain best results. For that reason, microdermabrasion is an expensive process compared to the other options.
During the procedure, experts will use a microdermabrasion machine for resurfacing the affected area. The handheld machine will blast abrasive crystals at high speed towards the skin, thus removing the top layer of the skin along with dead cells and dirt.
For treating chloasma, dermatologists often recommend a combination of microdermabrasion and chemical skin peel. This depends on the type of melisma, as microdermabrasion alone can only treat epidermal melasma.
13. Bring Out the Big Guns: Treating Melasma with Chemical Peels
Experts suggest chemical peels for treatment of stubborn melasma. These peels remove the upper skin layers, and thereby allow healthy skin to grow. The chemical peels are available in various strengths. In the case of chloasma, you will need to opt for a medium or deep one.
Here are some facts about chemical peels that you should become familiar with:
- Medium depth peels will destroy the top layers of the skin, allowing improved collagen production and skin regeneration. Your doctor may prescribe a series of this treatment, each being administered a couple of months after the previous one.
- Deep peels are generally effective for severe cases of melasma. However, they have more serious risks. Only one session of deep peel will be required.
- An aftercare regimen is vital for chemical peels. It will ensure that your skin grows healthily, without scars and marks.
- The recovery period for a chemical peel can be as long as two weeks. However, it can take up to six months for the skin to become normal again.
14. Going the Modern Way: Using Lasers to Treat Chloasma
Lasers are a common choice for treating melasma. In this treatment, the laser will damage the top layers of your skin, thus allowing newer and healthier skin cells to grow. With time, this will cause the discoloration and hyperpigmentation of melasma to fade away. However, laser therapy should be the last option, as there is a risk of worsening the chloasma and increasing the skin damage.
Fraxel laser treatment is the prevalent choice. In this treatment, dermatologists create many microscopic treatment areas in order to specifically target the melasma. This approach reduces the damage to the surrounding skin.
Laser is a beneficial option for a pregnancy mask upper lip and other inaccessible areas. You may have to go for multiple procedures, followed by weeks of rest before you can get the desired results.
You should avoid Intense Pulsed Light or IPL laser treatments. The treatment will improve the affected areas with intense visible light, without damaging the upper skin layer. However, this treatment can increase the darkness of the spots making them more prominent.
All of these treatments dealt with medical and chemical approaches to the treatment of chloasma. However, did you know that natural methods can be just as effective? Discover them in the next point.
15. Nature’s Cure: Organic Treatments for the Mask of Pregnancy
There is a secret treatment program for pregnancy mask, and that secret is to trust Mother Nature. There are a variety of natural ingredients which can help you in getting rid of pregnancy mask patches.
The natural treatments may take time to start showing results, but the fact is that they will show the results. The other beneficial thing about these treatments is that you can easily get the ingredients from your kitchen or from the grocery store. Moreover, as they are natural, there are no side effects that can worsen the condition.
Here are some natural recipes that you can use for treating your melasma:
- Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is a natural and powerful astringent. It can remove the upper skin layer and allow healthier skin cells to grow. At the same time, it can lighten the skin tone. Simply extract the juice from a lemon, and apply it on the affected areas, while it is still fresh. Wash it off after 15 minutes.
- Turmeric: This is a natural skin lightener making it a perfect therapy for melasma. Make a face pack with turmeric powder and whole milk. Apply the paste on the affected region and let it dry for 20 minutes before washing it off.
- Onion Juice: This is also a powerful natural skin lightener. Extract the juice from onions and mix it with apple cider vinegar in an equal ratio. Apply the mixture to the pregnancy mask patches and wash it off after 20 minutes.
You can use any of the above processes, twice daily for a few weeks, to get the results you want.
Melasma may not be curable yet; however, with the right treatments, you can reduce it to the point of having a negligible effect on your skin, as well as your quality of life.