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Changes In Skin Pigmentation During Pregnancy Explained

One of the biggest changes that expectant mothers face is the change in their own bodies. Weight gain is pretty much a given, as are swollen ankles and in some cases, acne. When it comes to growing a baby, our skin might alter in ways that we aren't expecting it to. Stretch marks are common, but so are changes in the skin's pigmentation. But what exactly causes these darkened patches of skin, and more importantly, will it go away? Pregnancy hormones have a lot to answer for, but genetic makeup does too.

I was scrolling through Instagram when I accidentally swiped to the side, you know the side that brings up your camera and immediately shows you - you.⠀ -⠀ Lying on my bed wearing just the lightest of make up in this summer sun, I saw my face and all it’s markings.⠀ -⠀ ALL it’s markings.⠀ -⠀ The sun brings them all out, pop pop pop pop POP.⠀ -⠀ Squidgy brown marks everywhere.⠀ -⠀ I have chloasma. I dunno why, it just appeared one day under the Thailand sun in 2007.⠀ -⠀ I had a great big brown splodge on my forehead, right in the middle of my eyebrows.⠀ -⠀ It’s come back every year since.⠀ -⠀ And it’s weird, it kind of moves. Each summer I get to see where it’ll be this year.⠀ -⠀ The brown mark between my eyebrows has been gone for a while, yet it’s spread across my upper lip, two patches on my cheeks (when you get it, it’s often symmetrical, ‘butterfly’ like), two kinda patchy ‘L’ shapes above my eyebrows, and this year, a great big patch going from the corners of my mouth down to most of my chin.⠀ -⠀ I used to hate it (I still can’t say I love it), yet now I’ve learnt it’s just me, and I no longer try to hide my face... From either the world or the sunshine.⠀ -⠀ (It’s not treatable, you’re just told if you don’t want it to ‘pop’ out, stay out of the sun - yet for this summer child... #AintGunnaHappen)⠀ -⠀ I don’t have a real reason for posting this... I think it’s partly for me to show me how far I’ve come in accepting myself just as I am, and partly for anyone else hiding/cringing at their ‘flaws’.⠀ -⠀ I hope it shows we all have them, and takes away so much of the shame often felt for carrying them... (I’ve learnt how insanely heavy they can be).⠀ -⠀ To you, for being beautiful just as you are... Have the most equally beautiful weekend... ❤️❤️❤️⠀ -⠀ R xo

A post shared by RUTH RIDGEWAY (@ruthridgewayxo) on

PREVIOUSLY: REASONS TO LOVE YOUR STRETCH MARKS

According to Baby Centre, if someone's mother or sister had changes in skin pigmentation during their pregnancies, then that person will most likely follow suit. Many women notice that their skin appears darker during pregnancy, but it's far more common in females with darker skin. One of the most noticeable areas to visibly darken are the nipples and the skin around them, while other pigmented areas such as moles and freckles may darken too. Those with dark skin often notice their belly button darkening, as well as the armpits and inner thighs. All of these areas usually return to normal after the baby is delivered, although the nipples may remain the same.

Brown patches of pigmentation can often appear around the face and neck, called chloasma, melasma or "mask of pregnancy". This is the body making extra melanin, the tanning hormone, which helps to protect the skin against harmful UV rays. While you might be slightly alarmed to see it, there's no reason to be worried. Around two out of three expectant moms experience this during their pregnancy. If you're a little self-conscious about it, then putting on sunscreen will stop it from darkening in the sun.

Don't worry though, the skin should return to normal within three months of giving birth when the majority of the pregnancy hormones leave your system. With so many women suffering from drastic changes in their skin during pregnancy, it's important to remember that you're not alone.

Did you have any unexpected pigmentation changes when you were pregnant? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments!

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