Darkening of the skin, whatever your natural skin tone, is common in pregnancy. Commonly seen are linear nigra (the dark line from the pubis to umbilicus), darkening of the underarms, and the ‘mask of pregnancy’ aka melasma.
Melasma in pregnancy develops due to a combination of sun-exposure and pregnancy hormones. Creams and sun screen can be used, some safer than others while pregnant. Try to treat this early and avoid excessive sun –exposure, as melasma invariably worsens with time.
What you can do before, during pregnancy and while nursing
Aside from avoiding prolonged sun-exposure especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm, remember to use the basic 3 tenents of applying sunblock, using anti-oxidants and a ‘bleaching’ agent daily. Use those which are deemed safe to use in pregnancy.
One newer product you can find on the cosmetics shelves at the chemists that can help even out the appearance of your complexion during pregnancy is BBcream. They are a little more effective at evening the appearance of uneven skin tone and have a brightening effect as well. A good BBB cream can also help combat mild acne without the use of harsher chemicals. The effect is only temporary of course but their effects can provide a big ego boost for a pregnant lady, something that is very important!
What you can do after nursing is completed
The regime established during pregnancy can be continued. However with infants and children at hand, there is a greater likelihood of being outdoors, and that can make existing pigmentation worse or even precipitate the onset of skin darkening.
There are a variety of bleaching creams, skin renewal lotions and oral tablets that can keep pigmentation at bay and lighten skin colour. These are often combined with procedures such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, intense pulsed light therapy and laser treatments to further improve the complexion. Do speak to your dermatologist for a tailored regime to suit your skin.