Pigmentation; The Mask of Pregnancy

Caught Unawares
When I saw the positive result on that little white stick I didn’t know what to make of it. I wasn’t surprised, we were in Venice two weeks before on holiday and I wasn’t interested in booze or fags the whole time (SO not like me back then!!) and I was exhausted every evening and all of a sudden my boobs were really round and perky, so I just knew. The little white stick was just my official confirmation. In those first few weeks our feelings alternated between scared and excited and we had endless conversations about how we were going to afford it. We certainly had not been trying or even thinking about having children, we were not ready as far as our living situation was concerned, but as a couple we were ready. I suppose that is the most important bit!

I actually enjoyed being pregnant, I liked my bump, it somehow suited my short figure and everyone said how great I looked. I didn’t have any sickness just a little bit of nausea which I sorted out with a banana and a sausage roll most days. I do not particularly enjoy bananas but I had one every day for six months, I cannot recommend them enough for an uneasy stomach!! I did not suffer with any of the usual problems pregnancy brings (not even one stretch mark) and all of my midwife appointments went perfectly so I certainly cannot complain, and this isnt me complaining!

pigmentation mama
T- short from Mere Soeur Personalised Baby Print from The Birth Poster

BUT I never achieved that beautiful dewy glow that I see some expectant mothers with, instead I started to develop pigmentation patches on my forehead. I had one small patch of darker skin that developed about 4 years previously whilst I was on holiday and the sun exposure really made it dark to the point everyone thought it was a bruise over time it has faded, but now I have a string of dark patches which trail up my forehead. I could almost see these developing by the day when I was pregnant, I managed it as best as I could with SPF50 and fortunately it didnt go to dark. It was actually after I had given birth that I noticed a major difference in how dark and vast the marks were and I developed them on the top of both cheekbones near my eyes.

Everyone from family and Friends to Modwives told me that it was common and that after childbirth it would fade. But NO, I was no longer breastfeeding and everything was back to normal with my body, yet I still had these patches developing. Then a friend told me that her skin became pigmented because of the contraceptive pill so last summer I stopped taking it and since then it hasn’t spread AT ALL. Obviously its a relief to find out what appeared to be causing it, but I had been taking the contraceptive pill for 8 years before becomming pregnant and not had any skin problems relating to it. If anything I thought it made a vast improvment on my complexion. Something had obviously changed through pregnancy which meant the pill now triggered it.

The marks almost dissapeared through winter but you can just see them on my forehead now the sun has been out more recently even when I have make up on, the ones on the tops of my cheekbones are much more easily disguised with a good quality conceiler. I wear SPF50 on my face every day through spring and summer now and always try to remember to wear a hat when I am doing the gardening and things. I have even considered getting a fringe again to give my forehead a little more protection!

Im not really complaining. I know it is just a cosmetic imperfection, its no where near as bad as some mums have it and it doesnt bother me much, I am fairly comfortable with it. Its just a pain in the bum to remember to wear a hat and having to always put sun lotion on. It is a challenge to conceil the marks because under make up they tend to look a strange dark greeny colour, so finding make up that works well with them isnt always easy. A couple of times people have asked me what it is and if it is a bruise when it has looked particularly dark which is a bit upsetting and does knock my confidence a little bit. How could it not?

I am extremely particular about what I use on my skin, as I have previously mentioned, I suffer with adult acne and have dry skin. I am pretty causcious about not using products with ingredients that will clog up my pores and trigger a breakout.
There are products on the market that help to whiten skin, but these tend to be harsh and I can’t imagine that it would do my dry skin any favours. There are many luxury brands out there that boast of their product’s ability to renew cells and even out skin tone and Im sure they do. But, my thoughts on this is that it is probably a temporary fix, as soon as you stop using those products it is likely to come back. Given that it is hormone related and can come back through future pregnancies I personally don’t believe this is something that can be solved with expensive products.

The only thing I do use is Gycolic Radiance Tonic I find this toner keeps my skin bright which has slightly lessened the dark patches and helps to shrink my pores and prevent outbreaks. The only issue with using an acid on your skin is that it is more sensitive to UV rays so, its another reason why I wear SPF50 under my make up. If I have had a blemish I get left with a small pigmented mark that is difficult to shift, this toner does appear to help.

The most affcetive treatment that I have been made aware of is laser treatment which I would possibly consider in future, but it doesn’t bother me enough right now to spend the money or go through the hassel. I have thread veins on the backs on my calves which are going very dark, so I imagine this is something I will get laser treatment on at the same time as my pigmentation.

To be honest if my pigmented patches were slightly more evenly spread across my face I would probably be more happy with it.

I love to hear any of your stories of experiencing pigmentation/cholasma, or if you can recommend any gentle products that won’t break the bank which may help them to fade!


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