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Simple Ways to Beat Melasma

2 min read

By Dr. Jenny Liu, MD

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jenny Liu, MD

Pregnancy bring many, many challenges, from nausea and vomiting during the early stages to feelings of bloating and general discomfort during the later stages. One symptom of pregnancy that’s not discussed at length, however, is melasma, a skin condition that’s sometimes referred to as a “pregnancy mask.” But it can come on any time during our 20s, 30s, and 40s.

Specifically, melasma involves the development of brown and gray patches on the skin, often on the face. It’s the result of the somewhat radical hormonal adjustments that accompany the pregnancy, OCPs, or out of the blue. Here are some simple ways to beat melasma…

Consider Switching Medications

Although melasma, a skin condition that involves darkening of the skin in patches, is often associated with pregnancy, it may be caused by certain medications. That’s because melasma is closely tied to hormonal changes that can be caused by pregnancy or certain types of drugs.

If you’re taking a medication that you think may be altering your hormones to the point where melasma is the result, talk to your doctor about switching to a new treatment. If that’s not an option — and for many patients it won’t be — speak with your physician about trying some of the other simple treatments contained in this list.

Sun Protection

We don’t know exactly how melasma works, but we know that ultraviolet and visible light plays a huge role. Tinted sunscreen to block UVR and VRs are very important, and should be worn daily. Studies have suggested that by wearing sunscreen alone, it can improve some discoloration.

Lightening Agents

Besides photoprotection, lightening agents are the foundation of melasma treatment. These include hydroquinone, kojic acid, vitamin C, niacinamide, and arbutin to name a few. Before you start, speak with your dermatologist to find the right products for your skin. Melasma can be recalcitrant and tricky to treat. Getting right information is key as sometimes, using ingredients incorrectly can lead to worsening of the hyperpigmentation.

Cosmetic Procedures

In office procedures done by your dermatologist including deep chemical peels, lasers, and light device treatments can complement topical skin care in treating melasma. Your dermatologist can determine the type of melasma you have and tailor treatments for your skin.

MD, Board-Certified Dermatologist and Assistant Professor of Dermatology

Dr. Jenny Liu is a board-certified dermatologist and an assistant professor in the Twin Cities. Her academic interests are complex medical dermatology, ethnic dermatology and medical education. She uses her blog and Instagram ( to educate others on all things dermatology and share her own tips and tricks regarding skin care.

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