Pregnant Woman in Spotted Chair experiencing patches of darker skin during pregnancyQuestion: I’m twenty weeks pregnant and lately, I’ve been seeing a few patches of darker skin on my face. What’s going on?

Answer: It’s common for women to get few areas of darker skin during pregnancy. This is generally known as the “mask of pregnancy.”

If you have darker skin, you may be more likely to get the mask of pregnancy. Ask your mom or another female relative if they got darker skin during pregnancy; it usually runs in the family.

The areas of darker skin can show up around your lips, nose, cheeks, and forehead, and may appear in the shape of a mask. Also, your arms and other areas that are exposed to the sun might develop dark patches.

Your changing hormones probably are to blame for your changes in skin color.

Here are a few tips to reduce the patches of darker skin:

  1. Wear sunscreen. Being exposed to UV rays will bring out skin color changes. So, remember to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, even if it’s not sunny. If you’re going to be outside, apply more every few hours. When it’s possible, try to stay out of the sun between 10am and 2pm. And, you’ll want to steer clear of tanning beds!
  2. When you wash your face, use gentle soap. Soaps and lotions that irritate your skin may make the patches worse.
  3. Use concealer and/or foundation. If the darker spots are annoying you, you could just cover them up. But avoid skin-lightening products while you’re pregnant since they may not be safe right now.

The good news is that the darker patches will probably fade a few months after you deliver. Do you have a pregnancy question for us? You can ask it by calling 1-800-923-6784 or by emailing us.