Unmask Yourself | Fit Pregnancy

Unmask Yourself

When people said you'd "glow" during pregnancy, you certainly didn't expect that to mean you'd develop splotchy, uneven pigmentation on your face.

Can You Treat (And Maybe Even Prevent) The Mask Of Pregnancy?

When people said you'd "glow" during pregnancy, you certainly didn't expect that to mean you'd develop splotchy, uneven pigmentation on your face. But if you're like 75 percent of pregnant women, you probably have some degree of melasma (also called the "mask of pregnancy," or chloasma).

"The precise cause of melasma during pregnancy is unknown," says Peter Bernstein, M.D., a fetal-maternal medicine specialist at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "But we do know that hormones are a factor since some women develop the condition while taking birth-control pills."

The exact cause may be foggy, but the No. 1 remedy is clear: Stay out of the sun! Sun triggers melanocytes (pigment-making cells) to produce extra melanin, so always apply sunscreen as part of your morning routine.

For extra protection, wear large sunglasses and a big hat. The good news is that melasma usually clears up within a year (and often just a few months) of giving birth. In the meantime, stay protected with Belli Anti-Chloasma Facial Sunscreen SPF 25, $25, which contains the pregnancy-safe sunblocks titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Suis Face Creme, $48, has vitamin C and rosehip seed oil to reduce pigmentation, and chamomile, green tea and aloe to calm irritated skin. Comfort Zone Absolute Pearl Cream SPF 12 Anti-oxidant Moisturizer, $90, uses pearl powder to reflect light and licorice to diminish dark spots.