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Mask of pregnancy, also known as melasma or chloasma is a common presentation during pregnancy. Almost 75% of the women who becomes pregnant have muddy brown pigmentation on their face. Melasma usually appear on cheeks, nose and forehead or any other parts that are exposed to sunlight. Although the pigmentation will fade after pregnancy, it may not disappear completely.

What causes mask of pregnancy ? (Melasma)

The precise cause of melasma is still unknown; however there are several possible contributing factors.  The two most contributing factor being excessive sunlight exposure and genetic predisposition. Clinical studies have shown that several other factors also plays important role in triggering melasma. These factors include pregnancy, birth control pills, hormonal replacement therapy, emotional stress and photosensitizing medications that make skin prone to pigmentation after exposure to sunlight.

When melasma occurs during pregnancy, people use the term chloasma “mask of pregnancy”.  During pregnancy there is increase in the level of progesterone, which is the major contributing factor.  During pregnancy there is increase in the level of other hormones like estrogen and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), but experts think that progesterone is the major contributing factor in pregnancy related melasma.

How to Prevent Mask of Pregnancy?  (Melasma Treatment)

The most important step in treatment and prevention of melasma is to avoid the contributing factor that is triggering your melasma. These include; avoidance of excessive sun exposure and regular use of broad-spectrum (UVA+UVB) sunscreen. The most common treatment of melasma is the use of topical hydroquinone. There are several other alternative skin lightening agents like azelaic acid, Kojic acid and tretinoin. Chemical peels, laser therapy and intense pulse light (IPL) are the other alternatives. All these treatment options may gradually fade your melasma, but will recur if you are exposed to excessive sunlight. So always apply broad-spectrum sunscreen of at-least SPF30 throughout the year.

If single therapy is not working, you can use combination therapy with hydroquinone, tretinoin with or without mild corticosteroids. Always remember; none of this treatment will completely eradicate your melasma. People with genetic tendency to occur melasma or the people who are frequently exposed to excessive sunlight should always apply sunscreen throughout their life to avoid melasma. Be sure to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go out to the sun.


  1. Rita Mechin
    September 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    I use the Gorgeous Peel to remove all my brown spots pregnancy mask, it works great and did not have any downtime! It is the only thing that worked for me!I buy it online for like $50.

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  3. ykzir
    September 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I’ve a condition of melasma along with some hyperpigmentation and I read that consuming daily supplements of vitamin C supplements of like 2,000mg each day for some time could help fade away the melasma and hyperpigmentation. Is that a fact?

    I do not want to have chemical substances such as hydroquinone because I have learned it is extremely harmful health-wise.

  4. ganeshmrp
    September 22, 2011 at 8:31 am

    It is good to get rid from the chemical substances that harm the pregnant woman during the pregnancy times. Moreover the mask of pregnancy can be removed with much ease by the usage of topical hydroquinone and getting away from the sun rays. Really a great boon in the skin care point of view as they reduce the pregnancy mask in greater scale.

  5. Mary Parker
    September 25, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I had used bleaching creams during my pregnancy period. It was okay to some extent. Afterwards I started using chemical peels, probably it has Glycolic acid I guess. I started using it after consulting a good dermatologist. It worked better for me.

  6. Holly
    December 11, 2011 at 1:21 am

    You should stay away from hyroquinone while pregnant and nursing, but after it is a safe way to lighten the mask completely without the use of chemical peels. Just make sure your product has the maxium amount allowed as many just put enough in their bottles to get ‘hydroquinone’ on the label. 2% is the maximum allowed without a prescription in the US. I use Rodan and Fields Reverse line with excellent results in about a month

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