Archive of ‘Pregnancy’ category

Pregnancy and Your Skin

Pregnancy and your skin

After having my first child I was surprised at how much pregnancy affected my skin. There are so many changes that, even as a dermatologist, I was totally unaware of until it actually happened to me. The most common complaint my patients have during pregnancy is acne. The good news is that acne during pregnancy usually gets better after the first trimester. The bad news is that there are only a few treatments available during pregnancy. While pregnant, women can typically usually use benzoyl peroxide and topical antibiotics. I also frequently prescribe azaleic acid which is safe during pregnancy. Topical retinoids cannot be used during pregnancy and I also do not recommend chemical peels. Microdermabrasion is a better option.

Another common complaint is hyperpigmentation. In women with darker skin, the hyperpigmentation can occur almost everywhere. The underarms, neck, and abdomen are very common locations, however, even the posterior thighs can get darker. This is a natural process and is likely due to an increase in estrogen. Fortunately, generalized hyperpigmentation does resolve after pregnancy, although it can take up to one year for some parts of the body to go back to the normal skin tone.

Melasma are the brown patches on the face that some women get during pregnancy. This is more common in Latina and Asian women but can occur in any skin type. This condition is so common during pregnancy that it used to be called “the mask of pregnancy”. While pregnant the best way to address melasma is to wear a lot of sunscreen to prevent it. The good news is that for most women, melasma resolves after pregnancy. For the unlucky few who have persistent melasma, there are many treatment options available.

Is There a Cure For Melasma?

Is There a cure for melasma

Melasma is a condition characterized by brown patches on the face. It is sometimes called the mask of pregnancy because women who are pregnant often get these brown patches on the face. It occurs in all skin types but is especially common in Latin and Asian women.

When I see patients with melasma, I always take the time to explain this condition because, in dermatology, melasma is definitely one of the most difficult conditions to treat. For this reason, it is important to establish realistic expectations from the beginning so that my patient and I can work together to achieve the best results.

It is important to understand that melasma is a chronic condition. There is no cure (i.e. there is no cream that is prescribed that can make it go away forever). For many patients, melasma is caused by hormones. So for some people after pregnancy or after stopping birth control, the melasma reslolves. For many, however, the condition continues. The good news is that there are good treatments available.

The most important thing to treat melasma is sunblock. Sunblock must be used religiously to prevent worsening of melasma. If you have melasma, the sun is your enemy! Wear a hat or use an umbrella if you are going to be outside for a long time in the sun. A hat with a 4 inch brim is necessary to protect the face from the sun. Bleaching creams with hydroquinone are most frequently used to initially treat melasma, however, these should only be used shot term and maintenance with another agent is necessary. See a dermatologist if you suffer from melasma. I know this can be a frustrating condition but don’t lose hope. There are many new treatment options on the horizon.