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Mask of Pregnancy

Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me: Mask of Pregnancy

You expect to see masks at a Halloween party, a day spa and masquerade balls. I certainly never expected pregnant women to get them.

Most ladies anticipate skin changes during pregnancy — stretch marks and linea negra are common to many mamas–to–be. The "mask of pregnancy" that some women experience while expecting is another visible condition particular to pregnant women.

To learn more about the mask and what you can do about it,


As defined by the American Pregnancy Association:

"Mask of pregnancy" is also referred to as melasma and chlosma. Melasma causes dark splotchy spots to appear on your face. These spots most commonly appear on your forehead and cheeks and are a result of increased pigmentation. When you become pregnant your body produces more hormones, which causes an increase in your pigmentation. Nearly 50% of pregnant women show some signs of the "mask of pregnancy."

While I did not develop the dark spots on my face while pregnant, my girlfriend had melasma with her birth control pills and again with her pregnancy. Similar to the APA recommendations, she found the best way to avoid the darkening of the spots was to wear high SPF lotion and stay out of the sun.

Like many other conditions, the mask typically goes away once baby is born and hormones return to normal levels.


Join The Conversation
vinnie vinnie 9 years
I got it! One month after birth and it has lightened, but it hasn't gone away. It looks like concentration of freckles on top of my cheek bones. I live in sunny So. CA and I'm worried that it's here to stay. I hear that it most typical with brunettes. I also got the linea negra and my areolas spread to the size of saucers! UGH!
rgrl rgrl 9 years
I did not get the "mask" but I did get one small, almost pencil eraser size dark spot under one of my eyes. It's still there and it's probably hardly noticeable but it bugs me to no end. :makeup:
anniebananie anniebananie 9 years
I have always had high levels of hormones due to my hyperthyroid, I have struggled with hyperpigmentation since the age of 12 but now that i'm pregnant they seem to be fading faster than usual. Thanks baby
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
i had a spot on my check of melasma before i was pregnant (about the size of a pencil eraser) it kind of looked like an age spot (ugghh) but as soon as i got pregant it was MUCH darker and VERY noticeable... (like a really DARK age spot) i remember my sister commented... what's that on your face & tried to wipe it off! hahah oh & i still have it... exfoliating helps keep it lighter and SUNSCREEN IS A MUST
schnappycat schnappycat 9 years
I somehow escaped the face puffiness totally. I have no idea how, but I wasn't puffy anywhere--face, fingers, ankles, etc. If you looked at me from the shoulders up, you'd never know. I have also never seen this mask of pregnancy.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
jennifer--thanks for mentioning that! My face gets all puffed in the last month or 2. I hate it!
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I've heard about it, but have never actually seen it.
meena1677 meena1677 9 years
MY mom had this after I was born and hers never completely went away. Its sort of faded away from the center of her face and because she always used sunscreen, she still has fabulous skin at age 60! :D It kind of looks like freckles, but is darker..
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
I wish someone had warned me that my face would inflate like a balloon. :Rotfl: I know it's perfectly normal - I noticed it on Angela Kinsley in The Office finale and Poppy Montgomery in the Without A Trace finale - but, jeebus.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I've heard of this but never really seen it. Maybe most cases are not extreme. Could it look like freckles? I always picture the "mask of pregnancy" as large blotches but I am probably taking the name too literally.
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