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Dark spots that appear on the face during pregnancy are scientifically called melasma or chloasma gravidarum. They appear because the hormonal changes typical of pregnancy stimulate the formation of melanin in certain areas of the face.
These spots usually appear around 6 months and are brown in color and although they are more frequent on the face, they can also appear on the armpits, groin and belly. But despite their appearance being more common in pregnancy, they can appear whenever the woman has significant hormonal changes, as can happen in menopause or if there is myoma or polycystic ovary, for example.
Do the pregnancy spots come off?
Melasma tends to become more evident whenever a woman is exposed to the sun and therefore depending on her daily activities and skin care, the spots can become lighter or darker. When a woman has spots that don't differ much from her skin tone, they can disappear naturally after the baby is born, as long as she uses sunscreen and avoids being in the sun as much as possible.
But when the stains are more evident, because they differ a lot from the woman's skin tone, they can be more difficult to remove, being necessary to follow a treatment, which can include skin cleaning, use of whitening cream, or use of laser or intense pulsed light, for example.
How to treat Melasma
During pregnancy, women should use a sunscreen SPF of at least 15 and can also use a moisturizing cream with vitamin C, for example. After the baby is born, other treatments can be used such as:
- Whitening creams recommended by the dermatologist that should be used regularly, usually at night and that contain retinoic acid or hydroquinone;
- Peeling with acids that causes light peeling of the skin, helping to remove dead cells and pigment in 3 to 5 sessions at 2 to 4 week intervals;
- Laser or intense pulsed light which has a deeper action in removing the pigment, in generally 10 sessions, and the skin may become reddened and swollen after one session. The laser is indicated for blemishes that have resisted creams or peelings or for women who want faster results.
During the treatment you should wear sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen and avoid being in the sun between 10 am and 4 pm.
This video indicates more treatment options:
How to avoid melasma
There is no way to avoid pregnancy spots, as they are related to hormones.However, it is possible to alleviate the situation by avoiding sun exposure during the hottest hours, between 10 am and 4 pm, and putting on a hat or cap and sunscreen recommended by the dermatologist, reapplying every 2 hours.