Pigmentation During Pregnancy; Causes and Treatments

The level of estrogen increases during pregnancy, triggering melanin production. Excessive melanin production can cause hyperpigmentation on the face, neck, armpits, or belly. Research shows that some mild to severe pigmentary changes, such as melasma, dark spots, or secondary areola may occur during pregnancy. However, the changes are more noticeable during the first trimester.

Let’s understand the pigmentation triggering factors during pregnancy.

Causes of Pregnancy Pigmentation

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, about 50-70% of pregnant women face skin pigmentation issues. Pigmentation on the face may appear on the forehead, nose, cheeks, or upper lips, and is generally known as the mask of pregnancy.

The main reasons behind pigmentation are:

Hormonal Changes

Estrogen and progesterone are the primary reproductive hormones of the female body that increase during pregnancy. The sudden hormonal changes stimulate melanin production, leading to dark spots and pigmented skin on the face.

Excessive Sun Exposure

Sun activates and boosts the production of melanocytes, the cells responsible for melanin production. Melanin is the natural defense system of the skin against harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Whenever your skin exposes to the sun, melanocytes become active to protect the skin, thus causing pigmentation.

Hereditary Factors

Some women may experience pigmentation during pregnancy without any prominent reason. Thus, genetics can be the pigmentation triggering factor in those women. Moreover, women of a certain race with a darker skin tone are more likely to develop pigmented skin during pregnancy.


Usually, women are more prone to nutrient deficiency during pregnancy that can cause poor health and pigmented skin. Taking multivitamins and folic acid can help to improve your health and skin. Dark green vegetables, lentils, legumes, beans, and chickpeas can significantly improve your skin texture and glow.

Tips to Avoid Pregnancy Pigmentation

There are a few essential tips to be followed to avoid the severity of your symptoms, such as:

  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure and always apply an excellent pregnancy-safe sunscreen of probably SPF 30+before going outside. Ensure to re-apply the sunscreen every 2-3 hours of sun exposure. Wear a cap or scarf to minimize sun exposure.
  • Increase your vitamin C (citrus fruits, broccoli, brussels’ sprouts, tomato) intake through diet to help prevent sun tanning and spots.
  • Taking antioxidants through diet, such as strawberries, blueberries, flaxseeds, avocados. Antioxidants help to fight oxidative stress and make the skin younger and glowing.
  • Avoid excessive and harsh scrubbing as it can increase the risk of pigmentation.
  • Taking supplements rich in vitamin A, B, C and E may help treat acne and pigmented skin. Being HACCP-approved, Diamond Glow a reliable multivitamin supplement, ideal for pregnant women as it helps restore collagen, diminish dark spots, and treat acne scars.


Usually, pigmentation is not a severe problem, but can exert psychological pressure on pregnant women. Pregnancy is a beautiful experience for women. Due to minor skin problems like melasma, skin rashes, or freckles, don’t panic. However, consult your gynecologist if you feel too much irritation or pain in pigmented areas. They’ll prescribe you some over-the-counter medicines to relieve the symptoms.

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