Chloasma, or pregnancy mask, usually occurs as a darkening of the skin on your cheeks, upper lip or forehead–it resembles a mask because the brown discoloration is often symmetrical, appearing on both sides of your face. (On darker skinned women, the patches are light in colour.)
Chloasma is caused by the increased production of melanin (the tanning hormone) during pregnancy, which is why sun exposure can make the patches appear even darker and more obvious. Pregnancy mask usually fades on its own, but some people continue to experience it post-pregnancy. Bleaching creams, chemical peels and light treatments, such as lasers, can help lighten your skin, but are only safe after the birth of your baby. In the meantime, your best bet is to invest in a good-quality foundation to even out your skin tone.
To help prevent pregnancy mask, the best thing you can do is protect yourself from the sun by using a broad spectrum SPF of 30 or higher every day. If you're pregnant during the summer, it’s also a good idea to wear a hat broad-brimmed hat.
Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, a Diplomat of the American Board of Dermatology, a member of the Canadian Dermatology Association, the Canadian Laser Aesthetic Surgery Society, and the Toronto Dermatological Society. For more information and skincare advice from Dr. Kellett, check out www.dlkonavenue.com and www.skinlibrary.com