Darkening Skin

Is your skin darker in some places? It's just a symptom of your pregnancy. Chloasma, or melasma as it's otherwise known, is a pregnancy skin discoloration. Your skin may appear blotchy and the pigments will be brownish. It's estimated that 70% of pregnant women get chloasma! Women with darker skin are more prone to this.

Why Does it Happen?
This "mask of pregnancy" occurs because of your body's increased production of melanin, a harmless substance that is responsible for your hair, skin and iris color. Not only will you notice melasma on your face, you may notice it anywhere on your body.

Although this poses no 'discomfort' in pregnancy, many women are alarmed by this. It is another pregnancy sign; although by the time you see it, you are certainly aware that you're expecting!

What Can I Do About It?
Don't worry, it's not a permanent pigmentation. When your pregnancy hormones settle down after the birth of your child, you'll find that your skin will return back to normal. There are some things you can do to prevent chloasma from getting worse: stay out of the sun! The sun's rays are known to elevate the production of melanin.

If you need to, you can buy skin camouflage make-up to cover the darker patches. Using creams with alpha hydroxyl will help peel dead layers of skin. Avoid chemical peels! If the skin discoloration has stayed for several months and it bothers you, visit a dermatologist or a cosmetic surgeon.

What About That Line Below My Belly Button?
Very interesting: did you know you had an invisible line running from the belly button to the pubic bone before you were pregnant? This line is called the linea alba. Now that you're producing lots of melanin, that line will darken. It's now called the linea nigra. This, like your other pigmented skin, will go back to its natural color a few weeks after childbirth.

Worried about your changing skin? Talk about it with other pregnant women in our Discomforts forum.

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