Melasma & Pregnancy

Increased hormones in pregnancy can give rise to pigmentation, including melasma. It is more common in the third trimester of pregnancy. Most cases reduce in severity postpartum. Effective treatments are available during pregnancy & after birth. Recurrences are commonly seen in subsequent pregnancies.

Recovery

0 days

Results

14+ days

Treatment Time

5 minutes

Aftercare

SPF + pigment correctors

Treatment science score

The Science of Melasma Treatment in Pregnancy

  • Melasma also known as chloasma or the mask of pregnancy is the most common form of facial pigmentation
  • It affects up to 70% of pregnant women
  • It will not affect the pregnancy, however has an emotional impact on women
  • Safe treatment options are available during pregnancy
  • Sunscreen, skincare & chemical peels can effectively treat melasma in pregnancy
  • Pigmentation commonly improves after delivery, however this may take 12 months
  • Subsequent pregnancies can usually result in recurrence

Using safe, naturally derived products, our clinicians can reduce melasma pigmentation in pregnant & breastfeeding women.

What does melasma look like?

Melasma presents as patchy pigmentation on the forehead, upper cheeks, & the top lip. These areas may get darker the more you’re exposed to the sun or the further along you are in your pregnancy. Pigmentation starts in the first trimester, increasing in severity in the second & third stages of pregnancy. Atypical cases affect the jawline, neck & outer aspect of the arms.

Why does melasma flare up in pregnancy?

The 3 main causes of melasma are genetics, hormones & sun exposure. This common condition occurs in 50-70% of pregnant women.

You’re also more likely to develop it during pregnancy if someone in your family has had it, if you have dark skin, or if you spend significant amounts of time exposed to the sun.

Will melasma settle down postpartum?

50% of melasma sufferers will have a significant reduction in melasma postpartum. It often takes up to 12 to 18 months before maximal pigment fading occurs.

Pigment correctors, lasers & chemical peels can accelerate pigmentation clearance after delivery.

Should I treat melasma while pregnant?

Whilst most cases of melasma will settle within one year after delivery, you may elect to safely treat melasma whilst pregnant. We understand that pigmentation may have a significant impact on your emotional well being & hence offer various treatment options to effectively fade pigment.

How do we treat melasma in pregnancy?

Safely. It’s a balance of safety & efficacy. Our clinics two step melasma treatment involves-

  • Pigment correcting skincare. A mix of skincare ingredients are prescribed to pregnant patients. Refer below for options. The optimal combination depends on your skin tone & pigmentation severity.
  • Chemical peel or laser program. We use a combination of AHA peels & or laser light modalities to reduce pigmentation. The optimal combination depends on your type & level of pigmentation.

What results can I expect?

The prognosis for melasma treatments in pregnancy is different from postpartum treatments, primarily because of the safety aspects during term.

For pregnancy associated with it, our success rate is around 50%, whilst post-partum the success rate goes up to 85%.

How can melasma be treated after pregnancy?

This is when other more potent pigment correctors can be prescribed, in addition to other treatment options such as retinoic acid peels/Cosmelan/ Dermamelan peels.

Postpartum, you will not be limited to treatment options as treatments are compatible with breastfeeding.

Will breastfeeding affect my treatment?

No. Our team will safely prescribe skin care products that are compatible with breastfeeding. These include vitamin C, azelaic & glycolic acids.

Will melasma recur in subsequent pregnancies?

Most likely, with a confidence interval of greater than 87%. Simple skin care can reduce the intensity of pigmentation.

How do I prevent recurrence?

The two most important factors that predispose you to subsequent melasma recurrences are factors that you can not control, namely genetics (no cure for DNA) & hormones, which is synonymous with pregnancy. This leaves you with sun protection, which is reinforced throughout this website.

Our clinicians can guide you as to the correct sunscreens to use, in addition to a customized skincare routine that involves pigmentation correctors. Lasers & chemical peels can also be used to help prevent (or in the very least, reduce) it pigmentation.

What skin care ingredients are compatible with pregnancy?

Safe ingredient include-

  • Vitamins: niacinamide, vitamin C, E
  • Botanicals: licorice root, green tea, soy, flavonoids, bearberry
  • Acids; azelaic, ascorbic, lactic, glycolic, citric, salicylic & mandelic acid.
Your clinician will guide you through your specific protocol & pigment corrector. This only applies to potentially irritating agents, it is not a blanket guide for all topicals/pigment correctors 
.
Still sensitive, even if short contact? 
.
1️⃣Use half the amount (dilute in moisturizer) 
.
2️⃣ moisturiser before & after
. 
3️⃣Titrate use, ie. skip a day….or three
.
4️⃣Test spot for allergy (very rare, skin irritation more common). Use a tiny amount, apply to the inner arm, photograph 📸the reaction taking note of the time it takes to develop irritation. Show this to your treating clinician to interpret & they will guide you. Irritation is different from allergic reactions💯
.
👉🙏🏼Addition of topicals will be guided by your treating clinician, based upon your skin sensitivity, current topical use & treatment (peels vs lasers). Timing is important 
.
The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#themelasmaclinic #melasma #dermatologistsydney

Your clinician will guide you through your specific protocol & pigment corrector. This only applies to potentially irritating agents, it is not a blanket guide for all topicals/pigment correctors
.
Still sensitive, even if short contact?
.
1️⃣Use half the amount (dilute in moisturizer)
.
2️⃣ moisturiser before & after
.
3️⃣Titrate use, ie. skip a day….or three
.
4️⃣Test spot for allergy (very rare, skin irritation more common). Use a tiny amount, apply to the inner arm, photograph 📸the reaction taking note of the time it takes to develop irritation. Show this to your treating clinician to interpret & they will guide you. Irritation is different from allergic reactions💯
.
👉🙏🏼Addition of topicals will be guided by your treating clinician, based upon your skin sensitivity, current topical use & treatment (peels vs lasers). Timing is important
.
The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#themelasmaclinic #melasma #dermatologistsydney
...

Dr Vee Mang is an Australian trained physician with extensive experience in skin, having worked in the field of dermatology. She’s a cosmetic physician who works with Dr Van Park & Dr Davin Lim in Woollahra, Sydney
.
👉Her interests: Pigmentation, neurotoxin, acne management, anti-aging
.
📖Bookings: Open for consultation, send your expression of interest at our website, melasmaclinic.com.au Yes, an expression of interest is required for the Sydney clinic. 
.
The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#themelasmaclinic #melasma

Dr Vee Mang is an Australian trained physician with extensive experience in skin, having worked in the field of dermatology. She’s a cosmetic physician who works with Dr Van Park & Dr Davin Lim in Woollahra, Sydney
.
👉Her interests: Pigmentation, neurotoxin, acne management, anti-aging
.
📖Bookings: Open for consultation, send your expression of interest at our website, melasmaclinic.com.au Yes, an expression of interest is required for the Sydney clinic.
.
The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#themelasmaclinic #melasma
...

Dr Van Park is the co-founder of The Melasma Clinic. She’s a key opinion leader in the field of aesthetic injectables with her innovative & novel injection techniques with neuromodulators & soft tissue injectables
.
👉Rumor has it that Davin Lim fixed her melasma & hence why she founded this clinic. 
.
📖Bookings: She’s closed her books, but occasional consults may arise 
.
The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#themelasmaclinic #drvanpark #dvp #clinicdvp #cosmeticphysician

Dr Van Park is the co-founder of The Melasma Clinic. She’s a key opinion leader in the field of aesthetic injectables with her innovative & novel injection techniques with neuromodulators & soft tissue injectables
.
👉Rumor has it that Davin Lim fixed her melasma & hence why she founded this clinic.
.
📖Bookings: She’s closed her books, but occasional consults may arise
.
The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#themelasmaclinic #drvanpark #dvp #clinicdvp #cosmeticphysician
...

Davin Lim is a technician & co-founder. He comes up with the diagnosis, management plan & settings, nothing more. He fixed Van’s melasma & the rest is history☄️
.
👉In store: working on AI for ‘virtual Davin’, namely programmed AI bot for Q and A, coupled with AI video & virtual voice. Bot Q & A will be released in the next few weeks, virtual video & voice within 6 months (hopefully)
.
📖Bookings: handful of appointments available in Sydney every month, expression of interest via melasmaclinic.com.au 
.
🏡The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#davinlim #drdavinlim #themelasmaclinic #dermatologistsydney #dermatologyclinicsydney

Davin Lim is a technician & co-founder. He comes up with the diagnosis, management plan & settings, nothing more. He fixed Van’s melasma & the rest is history☄️
.
👉In store: working on AI for ‘virtual Davin’, namely programmed AI bot for Q and A, coupled with AI video & virtual voice. Bot Q & A will be released in the next few weeks, virtual video & voice within 6 months (hopefully)
.
📖Bookings: handful of appointments available in Sydney every month, expression of interest via melasmaclinic.com.au
.
🏡The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#davinlim #drdavinlim #themelasmaclinic #dermatologistsydney #dermatologyclinicsydney
...

IPL is awesome for non-melasma pigmentation but is often a cause of flare ups for melasma pigment. The reason is the excessive heat that is often associated with IPL. Exception to this rule is the use of exact filters in correct pulse widths with co-prescription of pigment inhibitors- medical therapy. It can be done, but the threshold for error is very thin💯
.
👉This patient: treated with old fashioned dermal toning with nano-lasers, Spectra by Lutronic, in addition to medical therapy
.
📆👉Timeline: 10 weeks. Pico lasers offer faster resolution, if performed correctly. 
.
Dr Davin Lim
Dermatologist
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#drdavinlim #IPL #IPLtreatment #melasma #melasmacure #melasmasurvivor #melasmaskincare #themelasmaclinic #sydneydermatologist

IPL is awesome for non-melasma pigmentation but is often a cause of flare ups for melasma pigment. The reason is the excessive heat that is often associated with IPL. Exception to this rule is the use of exact filters in correct pulse widths with co-prescription of pigment inhibitors- medical therapy. It can be done, but the threshold for error is very thin💯
.
👉This patient: treated with old fashioned dermal toning with nano-lasers, Spectra by Lutronic, in addition to medical therapy
.
📆👉Timeline: 10 weeks. Pico lasers offer faster resolution, if performed correctly.
.
Dr Davin Lim
Dermatologist
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#drdavinlim #IPL #IPLtreatment #melasma #melasmacure #melasmasurvivor #melasmaskincare #themelasmaclinic #sydneydermatologist
...

Dermamelan & Cosmelan peels have arrived 💯
.
👉Novel peels: are a good option for primarily epidermal melasma and superficial pigmentation, albeit a downtime of 6-12 days 
.
👌🏻Employ peels based upon diagnostic features of pigment and allowed recovery of the patient 
.
🏡The Melasma Clinic Sydney-Brisbane 🇦🇺
#melasma #cosmelan2 #cosmelanmask #cosmelanpeel

Dermamelan & Cosmelan peels have arrived 💯
.
👉Novel peels: are a good option for primarily epidermal melasma and superficial pigmentation, albeit a downtime of 6-12 days
.
👌🏻Employ peels based upon diagnostic features of pigment and allowed recovery of the patient
.
🏡The Melasma Clinic Sydney-Brisbane 🇦🇺
#melasma #cosmelan2 #cosmelanmask #cosmelanpeel
...

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What skin care ingredients are not compatible with pregnancy?

The main group are retinoids, namely retinol, tretinoin, tazarotene, adapalene & retinoic acid. In laboratory settings super high doses in rats have been shown to cause fetal malformations. Hydroquinone is also not compatible with pregnancy.

Can lasers be used during pregnancy?

Yes. Lasers are energy based light systems that are not systemically absorbed. They are safe in pregnancy however there are other factors to consider. Most importantly, skin in pregnancy is hyper sensitive to laser light because there are global increases in pigment & that the cells that produce pigment are sensitive to circulating hormones.

Taking into consideration the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, laser settings are lower, as compared to post-partum. This means patients require 40 to 80% more sessions to get the same results.

Can Cosmelan peels or Dermamelan peels be used in pregnancy?

Dermamelan or Cosmelan peels are not recommended in pregnancy as the level of skin irritation is epic with healing times of 7-14 days. Better chemical peel options include glycolic, lactic or salicylic acid chemical peels. These peels are safe in pregnancy.

Are sunscreens safe in pregnancy?

Super safe. If you are pregnant it is recommended to use a high factor SPF of 50 or greater, ie. 50+. Chemical & physical blocker are recommended, as well as a make up base high in iron oxide (tinted).

Iron oxides attenuate viable light, which is a wavelength not protected by sunscreen.

How do I use sunscreen?

Wearing a good SPF 50+ is key. Look for products that contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide & iron oxides. Physical blocking sunscreens tend to offer broader protection and may be less irritating to the skin.

The two rule of sunscreens are-

  • Two finger lengths of sunscreen
  • Apply twice daily, regardless of sun exposure

The Melasma Clinic difference

Our specialist clinic can effectively treat pigmentation in all skin types, employing bespoke treatment protocols that consist of skin care actives, picosecond lasers, clinical peels & in some cases prescriptive medication. With 20 years of dermatology behind us, we can manage all forms of pigmentation, from melasma, through to post inflammatory pigment.

Dr Davin Lim

650K subscribers

How to treat PIGMENTATION

If I can identify the cause of pigmentation, chances are I can treat it. This can only be achieved with careful real time examination…

More of our mostFrequently asked questions

Does pregnancy induced melasma differ from normal melasma?

What are other causes of pigmentation that may occur in pregnancy?

Will melasma affect my pregnancy?

Can LED lights be used to treat melasma in pregnancy?

Can microneedling be used in pregnancy?

What is the best laser for melasma?

How do I treat melasma at home (DIY tips)?

How do I get an appointment with our specialists at The Melasma Clinic?

A SummaryMelasma treatments in pregnancy

Dr Davin Lim | Dermatologist
The Melasma Clinic, Brisbane | Sydney

Coined the mask of pregnancy, melasma can affect up to 70% of pregnancies. Darker skin types are more susceptible to pigmentation. Additionally genetics play an important role. Though the majority of cases resolve spontaneously within 12 months of delivery, 10-30% of cases persist.
Management is three fold, namely prevention prior to pregnancy (especially important if you suffered from it prior), treatment during pregnancy, & management postpartum.

Pre-pregnancy: the usual mitigation measures apply, most importantly the use of hats, sunglasses ,high factor SPF & iron oxide mineral makeup.

During pregnancy: is a compromise between safety & efficacy. The management strategy here is to marginally improve melasma using skincare products that are compatible with pregnancy. They include azelaic acid, vitamin C & alpha hydroxy acids. Treatments can be stepped up during the second and third trimester, a period when pigment intensifies.

Postpartum: is when treatments are taken up to the next level. Prescription medication & pico lasers can effectively manage melasma in over 80% of cases.