Through our sister studio, fresh.beautiful: the skin studio, I often meet women whom complain of dark spots and blotches that appeared during pregnancy. This condition is called melasma; for some it appears in blotches freckled over the skin, for others, the entire face – also known as “the mask of pregnancy”.

The darkening of the skin is often caused by your raging and now unpredictable hormones, and for most, after pregnancy, the blotches will fade away. It takes some time, but they will eventually lighten.

Treating this common skin issue is a matter of due diligence during and after pregnancy. Here are some tips to keep it under control:

Practice safe sun. Whether your nine months occurs during summer or the dead of winter, protect your skin with SPF daily. You are producing more melanin than ever, so when you are out in the sun, you’re pushing its production into overdrive which will cause darker spots and take longer to fade.

Stick to a gentle skincare routine. Yes, your hormones are going bi-polar now too and you may be experiencing breakouts. You’ll be tempted to switch up your routine in order to treat your skin and may even start looking to topical ointments or harsher cleansers to help alleviate the situation but that’s not always best. If possible, stick to a very gentle cleansing routine and try to ride the acne wave in stride. Irritating the skin can lead to bigger problems including acne scarring, and since you are producing more melanin – just imagine how dark those scars will become.

Research safe options after pregnancy. Patience is key to seeing an improvement in the skin, so monitor the dark areas after pregnancy for any positive changes. If say, after 6- 9 months post pregnancy the spots have not faded (or have not quick enough), consult with your dermatologist or doctor about your options. Some may suggest topical treatments or even chemical peels.  Others a lightening cream. Some may steer you into laser treatments, whether hot or cold. The key is to do your research first, get recommendations, and make the safest decision for you.