Tricks of the Trade: All-natural ways to minimize pregnancy hyperpigmentation

Hi. Please suggest a pregnancy hyperpigmentation remedy using natural ingredients.–VIJAYA

While there are a few women lucky enough not to experience hyperpigmentation during pregnancy, there is a larger number of those who go through it. It is quite common (my OB/GYN and dermatologist have warned me about this skin condition) and can appear at any stage of pregnancy. It seems women with darker complexions are more prone to this than those with light skin. It is known as chloasma or melasma gravidarum, and comes in the form of blotchy areas of darkened skin that can appear on the face (sometimes in the shape of a mask) and on other parts of the body, like the forearms and legs.

Hyperpigmentation can also be more pronounced in areas that are generally more pigmented, like the underarms and inner thighs, and may darken existing freckles and scars. These are caused by hormonal changes triggered by pregnancy, which stimulate a temporary increase in the body’s production of melanin. Constant exposure to the sun makes matters worse. It’s best to put sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 when going out of the house. Wearing a floppy hat or bringing an umbrella can help as well. Of course, when pregnant, it seems there is little one can do to prevent or even minimize the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Pregnant women are advised to stay away from most skin lightening products, especially treatments that involve laser machines. The next best thing is to go the natural route, which can actually be effective (and it’s good for you, too).

Fruits, vegetables and spices can be mixed together to form a skincare mask that can gently minimize the appearance of hyperpigmentation. These might take a little longer than your usual go-to over-the-counter products, but rest assured, these will do the trick. Follow these easy steps to make your own skincare regimen from your kitchen.

Cut up a lemon. Lemons contain citric acid that has a natural lightening component. Applying it directly on the skin every other day (leaving it for about 15 minutes) can eventually lighten dark spots and freckles. But it will take time. Also, you must diligently apply sunscreen as you apply lemon juice, or else you won’t see any results. If you find that the lemon juice is making your skin dry, dilute it with water before applying.

Mash a papaya. The beauty nutrient in papaya is papain, an enzyme that has skin-lightening properties that help lighten the complexion and minimize the appearance of hyperpigmentation. It acts as a gentle exfoliator, which also helps smoothen and soften skin as you use it. To use papaya as a lightening mask, simply mash the fruit in a bowl and apply to the skin. Leave on for 15 minutes and wash off. To make the mask more potent, add ½ teaspoon of lemon juice to the solution.

Mix milk and an orange peel. Grate the orange peel and add milk to make an exfoliating mask. This will help slough away dead skin and speed up skin renewal. Also, the citric ingredient in the orange peel can help lighten skin, while milk (which also has a lightening effect on skin) prevents skin from getting dry. Leave on for half an hour, gently massage the mask on skin and wash off with warm water.

Apply aloe vera. What you want from aloe vera is aloesin, a compound that inhibits the production of melanin in your skin. Aloe vera gel helps lighten dark spots and is great for healing minor burns (like sunburn). To apply, simply cut an aloe vera leaf and collect the gel inside. Apply directly on skin and leave for 20 minutes. In two weeks of continuous use (once or twice a day) you’ll be able to see a lightened effect.


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