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My second son is almost 4 years old and I still have what's called the pregnancy mask

By Anonymous September 27, 2014 - 9:09pm
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Is there something wrong with my hormones?

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HERWriter Guide

Hello Anon and welcome to EmpowHER!

The pregnancy mask, or melasma,  is something that can remain for many years. The American Academy of Dermatology says that while there is no cure, sunscreens are essential for the treatment of the condition. Here's the rest of what they had to say.

They (sunscreens) should be broad spectrum, protecting against both UVA and UVB rays from the sun. A SPF 30 or higher should be selected. In addition, physical sunblock lotions and creams such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide, may be used to block ultraviolet radiation and visible light. Sunscreens should be worn daily, whether or not it is sunny outside, or if you are outdoors or indoors. A significant amount of ultraviolet rays is received while walking down the street, driving in cars, and sitting next to windows.

Any facial cleansers, creams, or make-up which irritates the skin should be stopped, as this may worsen the melasma. If melasma develops after starting birth control pills, it may improve after discontinuing them. Melasma can be treatedwith bleaching creams while continuing the birth control pills.

A variety of bleaching creams are available for the treatment of melasma. These creams do not "bleach" the skin by destroying the melanocytes, but rather, decrease the activity of these pigment-producing cells. Over-the-counter creams contain low concentrations of hydroquinone, the most commonly-used depigmenting agent. This is often effective for mild forms of melasma when used twice daily. A dermatologist may prescribe creams with higher concentrations of hydroquinone. Normally, it takes about three months to substantially improve melasma. Creams containing tretinoin, steroids, and glycolic acid are available in combination with hydroquinone to enhance the depigmenting effect. Other medications which have been found to help melasma are azelaic acid and kojic acid. It is important to follow the directions of your dermatologist carefully in order to get the maximum benefit from your treatment regimen and to avoid irritation and other side effects. Remember, a sunscreen should be applied daily in addition to the bleaching cream. Some bleaching creams are combined with a sunscreen.

You will also find additional information in this article for the EmpowHER community: The Mask of Pregnancy

Let us know if this is helpful and what steps you decide to take.



September 28, 2014 - 1:45pm
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