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Pregnancy Safe Melasma Treatment

woman applying face cream to treat melasma
HayDmitriy/DepositPhotos

The dreaded mask of pregnancy, hyperpigmentation cause by hormonal changes, is also called Melasma. (You can learn all about what Melasma is and how to treat it).

While there are some over the counter things you can do to prevent and treat Melasma at home on your own, those options dwindle down quite a bit if you are currently pregnant or nursing. It turns out, many of the ingredients that help shut down excessive melanin production aren’t safe for pregnancy.

How should you treat melasma in pregnancy?

Sunscreen

The melanin overproduction in melasma is really triggered in part by the sun. If you can’t totally avoid the sun, make sure you’re covering up (hats and UPF clothing will help a lot), and wearing sunscreen!

Pregnancy Safe Facial Sunscreens, BB and CC Creams
Pregnancy Safe Sunscreens

Vitamin C

Vitamin C will cut down on melanin production, increase collagen/elastin production and even work as antioxidant. You can find it in serums, cleansers and moisturizers.

Pregnancy Safe Vitamin C Skincare

Tranexamic Acid

This magical lightening ingredient can help cut down a lot on hyperpigmentation, and it works via a different mechanism than many other ingredients such as Arbutin and Hydroquinone. However, there is a risk of blood clots when taken orally. Currently it is considered safe topically as I haven’t found any published reports to suggest it should be avoided and I also don’t know any other physicians recommending avoidance. But I have to admit that I am giving this ingredients quite a bit of side eye…

Exfoliation

One of the biggest benefits seen with retinoids is the increase in cell turnover. Revealing fresh new skin cells (which hopefully have less excess melanin) will improve overall skin tone and texture. And while you can’t use retinoids during pregnancy/nursing, you can get those benefits through regular exfoliation. Look for a lactic acid based product if you want chemical exfoliation. For physical exfoliation you can use a facial scrub or even just a washcloth.

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

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4 Comments

  1. 3.15.22
    EINAT said:

    Can you please recommend on safe vitamin c cleansers to use during pregnancy ? that would help with Melasma

    • 3.15.22
      Christine said:

      I don’t know of any specific Vitamin C cleansers at all. The Vitamin C is so water soluble that it would mostly be washed off, so kind of a waste of money. I would look for a serum or moisturizer, there’s a link in the post with a list of them.

  2. 4.26.22
    Diza E Laloo said:

    Dr, if tranexamic acid is safe to use during pregnancy,how much percentage is safe and which brand do you recommend!!??

    • 4.26.22
      Christine said:

      If something is safe, it’s fine no matter what percent. I don’t have a particular brand I recommend.

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