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Pigmentation during pregnancy
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Hyperpigmentation may or may not set in during pregnancy. You can fight the devil with ease. Read on to know more. – By Dr varun Katyal

Treatment of Skin and Remedies for Pigmentation During Pregnancy:

Pregnancy is a period that brings joy to the expecting parents. It is also a period when the mums-to-be experience an overabundance of hormones that causes broken skin and acne flare-ups. And the worst is when you know you can’t undertake any form of medication since most skin treatments involve the use of benzoyl peroxide, which may pose harsh affects to the foetus. So what should you do? The answer lies in consulting your dermatologist and going for a remedy which is safe and sound.

  • Hyperpigmentation:

One of the most common skin problems that women encounter during pregnancy, hyperpigmentation is the appearance of dark patches on certain areas of the skin due to the overproduction of melanin. It is relatively harmless, but for cosmetic reasons, proves to be a nuisance to women who face it.

Hyperpigmentation can affect any part of the body, including hands and the neck. Most pregnant women face a type of hyperpigmentation called Melasma, also known as the ‘pregnancy mask’, which is characterised by splotchy areas on the face (except the eye area).

Hyperpigmentation is usually a combination of causative factors, the most common being – overexposure to the sun, certain illnesses, hereditary reasons, picking at the skin, hormonal changes and side affects of certain medications such as antibiotics, hormone treatments and anti seizure drugs. Inflammation and skin injuries such as acne, allergies and heat too can lead to the condition.

  • Goodbye patches:

Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, it is important that you take care and leave no scope for an onset of hyperpigmentation.

1. Follow strict sun protection: Use a good broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 every day. You may layer it up with your make-up products that contain physical sunscreens. If done skillfully, this layering can help conceal the dark spots and achieve a natural looking finish. Apply your sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before stepping out in the sun. Remember to reapply it after every two hours. Therefore, keep a sunscreen handy in your bag all the time.

2. Properly cover up: Dress up to protect all the parts of your body. Lightweight, cotton clothes along with a cap, scarf or broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses act as shields from the harmful UV rays.

  • Follow a healthy regime:

Use an antioxidant cream or serum in the morning to fight the free radical damage. During night, you can use the ones containing peptides, alpha hydroxy acids or retinol to gently exfoliate the skin and increase collagen production.

  • Weekly exfoliate:

Sweep away the top layer of the skin and remove excess pigmentation by using a chemical, manual or fruit enzyme exfoliator which is effective as well as gentle on the skin, once a week.

  • Take the fruit route:

Include foods that are rich in antioxidants in your diet. Berries, pomegranate, papaya, citrus fruits, kale, soybeans and nuts are helpful in warding away hyperpigmentation. Eat foods that have a high Vitamin C content. Some of these foods are kiwifruit, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, strawberries, blackcurrants and cranberries.

Foods that are rich in carotenoids, such as carrots, yams, sweetpotatoes, squash and apricots, are also helpful. Even the selenium-rich foods can prove to provide relief from hyperpigmentation. Some of these foods are whole grains, wheat germ, seafood and sesame seeds. Manganese-rich foods such as nuts, egg yolks and pineapple are very beneficial.

  • Take medical help:

If the situation has aggravated, don’t hesitate to fix an appointment with your dermatologist as it is always beneficial to take medical help before the situation gets out of control. The dermatologist will help you determine which treatment or combination of treatments will best suit your needs.

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