Mask of Pregnancy
Another name for this is a “butterfly mask” because it commonly looks like butterfly wings have spread across the cheeks. It can also extend up to the forehead, the nose and chin. The correct name for the mask of pregnancy is actually Chloasma and the cause is an increase in the melanin production in the dermal layers of the skin.
Melanin is responsible for the color of our skin and women with darker or olive skin tend to be more affected by Chloasma. Many women also find their moles become darker during pregnancy as well, due to the overall increase in Melanin production. But it’s important to monitor any changes in the color, shape and general appearance of moles. To be on the safe side, it’s worthwhile monitoring any mole changes and to check with your GP and your maternity care provider.
For most women, chloasma fades within 3-6 months after the birth of the baby. In some women it takes longer.
There is no specific treatment for mask of pregnancy because like most skin changes during pregnancy, once the baby is born and a mother’s hormone levels return to normal, it tends to fade. But it is important to avoid sun exposure because this may make it worse.
Wear a broad brimmed hat, rub in a broad spectrum sun block and avoid being out in the sun between 10am-3pm. Don’t forget that winter sun can be just as detrimental as summer rays.
What else will get darker when I’m pregnant?
It’s hard to say but in many women there is an increase in the colour of:
Their labia and cervix. Not that most women are aware of changes in the color of their cervix or even labia for that matter, but hormones do cause a change all the same.
Freckles and moles may also appear darker but if you notice any change in the shape or a freckle or mole or are worried, then it’s important to have this checked by your GP and maternity care provider just to be on the safe side.
You may also notice your nipples becoming darker and a line spreading from your belly button down towards your pubic region. This is known as Linea Nigra. This generally appears within the second trimester, from around the fourth-fifth month. At first you may think it’s a stain from wearing dark pants or a need for a little more diligence when it comes to bathing. But Linea Nigra can’t and won’t wash off.
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