Pregnancy mask, otherwise know as melasma, is the darkening of certain patches of skin. It can happen during pregnancy or from other hormonal changes such as taking birth control pills. I got this badly during my second pregnancy and became pretty desperate trying to figure out a way to get rid of this unwelcome mask of pregnancy.
The first time I was pregnant I got it very lightly, the second time, whoa.. it was pretty dark. I started referring to it as my mustache 🙁 Using a sunscreen with SPF every day is critical for prevention, but despite my religious use of sunscreen I still got it. I am pretty sure being in the middle of my pregnancy, during the summer, did not help. The sun really helps bring it out.
I was pretty determined to get rid of it and cover it up while doing so. After a good amount of trial and error in the cover up department, I got a professional recommendation to try this Make Up For Ever concealer. I found it was absolutely the best coverage I could get.
Now that is just the covering up part. What about getting rid of the pregnancy mask?
Well, unfortunately there is not much you can use during pregnancy to lighten your skin. You want to stay clear of most skin lightening ingredients or ingredients like retinol. I will use the whole arsenal of skin care ingredients when I am not pregnant (even breastfeeding, it's safe) But, during pregnancy you need to keep it pretty simple.
A good skin care routine of washing your face, exfoliation and moisturizer plus SPF will help. To help prevent the pregnancy mask from getting any worse use an SPF every day no matter what. The sun is causing it, so you need to cover up.
I also used this Olay Regenerist Serum while pregnant and it did seem to help lighten the mask a little. The main ingredient is glycolic acid which is safe during pregnancy and it has an exfoliating effect. The exfoliation helps reveal new skin and fade the dark patches.
Once your pregnancy is over you have more product options
Some recommendations for getting rid of pregnancy mask include laser treatments or chemical peels, but I was able to fade mine completely using a couple of specific products. And it was pretty dark.. I will attach pictures below.
Sometime in the months following my second pregnancy I heard about Paula's Choice skin care products. I had been using her beautypedia product reviews for ages but never realized that she had her own product line. I was pretty skeptical of how great it could be without trying it out first in a store, but I have since became a huge fan. Besides wanting to get rid of the pregnancy mask, I really needed a good skincare routine and to clear my skin up after pregnancy.
I started off with her skin balancing system and went ahead and bought the whole kit. I figured I would try this first and see if the exfoliation in her system helped my 'mask' before I bought any more intensive products. Well, the products worked great on my skin and kept it clear but the 'mask' still only lightened a little.
Next, I tried her resist combination skin line and I added the Resist Triple Action Dark Spot Eraser 2% BHA Gel. This is a gel that has Beta Hydroxy Acid (salicylic acid) for exfoliation and hydroquinone for lightening. I bought this based off of the reviews on her site alone. I also added the Resist C15 vitamin C super booster to it since this was recommended for dark spots as well.
I can say now without a doubt that these two products were the key. Within two months of starting with them daily, my pregnancy mask was pretty much gone. Before that it seemed whatever I would do would lighten it a bit, and then it would come right back as soon as I stepped outdoors. (And I was using a high SPF daily). She also has other products available for removing dark spots that are even stronger than these, but these two did the trick for me.
While I do still use Paula's Choice products for all of my skin care, I stopped using these two when they ran out. By then the mask was gone and I didn't feel the need for products this strong any longer. I think I will be picking up more of the Resist C15 Super Booster though, I have noticed it's great for those occasional acne marks and helps lighten them quickly.
The Paula's Choice line has too many products to count, and so far every one I have tried has been a winner. I love trying new products and her line is huge so I am still experimenting. You can buy sample sizes if you are unsure of anything so go ahead and check it out!
And as promised, here is my photo of me with the pregnancy mask, and again a few months after I started using these products. I have makeup on in both pictures and neither one has been altered. It's kind of embarrassing for me to post this but here it goes..
So, let me know, did you deal with the dreaded pregnancy mask? If so, were there any products that worked great for you?