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Pregnancy and Pigmentation - Understanding and Managing Hormonal Changes

Published : June 30, 2023 10 mins read Updated On : Mar 22, 2024

Pregnancy and Pigmentation - Understanding and Managing Hormonal Changes

Pregnancy is a remarkable journey filled with joy but presents certain challenges, such as pigmentation issues. These changes in skin colouration can occur due to hormonal changes, sun exposure, or underlying medical conditions. Fortunately, there are ways to manage and prevent pigmentation concerns effectively. In this blog, we aim to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of pigmentation, including its various types and offer valuable insights on addressing them. We will also provide essential skincare tips to help you maintain a radiant complexion throughout this beautiful phase of your life. So, if you're an expectant mother seeking to safeguard your skin's health and preserve your natural glow during pregnancy, you've come to the right place.

Pregnancy and Pigmentation
Pigmentation during pregnancy refers to changes in skin colouration that occur as a result of hormonal fluctuations and other factors. It is a common occurrence and can manifest in different forms on various parts of the body. The increased production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone can stimulate the melanocytes (cells responsible for skin pigmentation) to produce more melanin, leading to hyperpigmentation.

These changes in pigmentation are often seen as darkened patches or spots on the skin. Some common types of pigmentation during pregnancy include:

  • Melasma: Also known as "the mask of pregnancy," melasma appears as symmetrical, dark patches on the face, particularly on the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip.
  • Linea nigra: This is a vertical line that forms on the abdomen, running from the navel to the pubic bone. It is typically a dark brownish colour.
  • Darkened areolas: The pigmented area around the nipples may darken during pregnancy.
  • Chloasma: Like melasma, chloasma refers to the appearance of irregular patches of darkened skin on the face. The exposure to the sun frequently causes it.

While these changes in pigmentation are generally harmless and resolve on their own after pregnancy, they can cause concern for some women. Understanding the nature of pigmentation during pregnancy can help you manage and minimise its effects, allowing you to embrace this beautiful phase confidently.

Understanding Changing Hormones

Changing hormones play a significant role in pigmentation on face during pregnancy. Hormonal fluctuations, particularly increased levels of estrogen and progesterone, can impact the activity of melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing melanin, which gives colour to the skin, hair, and eyes.

During pregnancy, the surge in hormone production can stimulate melanocytes to produce more melanin. This increase in melanin production can lead to the development of hyperpigmentation, causing dark patches or spots on the skin.

Estrogen, in particular, has been found to influence pigmentation. It can stimulate melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) receptors on melanocytes, increasing their activity and melanin production. This is why pigmentation changes are more common during pregnancy when estrogen levels are significantly elevated.

Progesterone, another hormone abundant during pregnancy, can also contribute to pigmentation changes. It can stimulate the production of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), which further activates melanocytes.

It is worth noting that hormonal pigmentation changes are not limited to pregnancy. Hormonal fluctuations during other periods, such as puberty or menopause, can also result in similar pigmentation issues.

While these hormonal changes are a natural part of pregnancy, they can be managed and minimised to some extent. Taking precautions such as practising sun protection, using gentle skincare products, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help regulate pigmentation and reduce its severity.

Causes of Pigmentation in Pregnancy

Pigmentation during pregnancy can have multiple causes, including hormonal changes, sun exposure, and certain medical conditions. Here are some of the primary factors that contribute to pigmentation during pregnancy:

  • Hormonal fluctuations: The increased levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy can stimulate melanocytes to produce more melanin, leading to hyperpigmentation. This is especially prominent in areas such as the face, abdomen, and breasts.
  • Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH): The rise in MSH levels during pregnancy can activate melanocytes, causing increased melanin production and subsequent pigmentation changes.
  • Melasma/chloasma: Melasma, also known as chloasma or the mask of pregnancy, is a type of pigmentation that occurs due to a combination of hormonal changes and sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can trigger the production of melanin, exacerbating pigmentation issues.
  • Sun exposure: Prolonged or unprotected exposure to the sun's UV rays can worsen pigmentation during pregnancy. UV radiation stimulates the production of melanin and can darken existing pigmented areas.
  • Genetic predisposition: Some women may have a genetic predisposition to pigmentation changes during pregnancy. If your mother or other female relatives experienced pigmentation issues during pregnancy, you may also be more likely to develop them.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders, or adrenal gland dysfunction, can contribute to pigmentation changes. If you suspect an underlying medical condition is causing or exacerbating your pigmentation, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.

Understanding the causes of pigmentation during pregnancy can help you make informed choices about prevention and management. Remember that while pigmentation changes are common and usually harmless, it's important to understand to keep using proper products and supplements so that the pigmentation doesn't become severe.

Role of Inflammation in Pigmentation

Inflammation can play a role in pigmentation changes, particularly in certain skin conditions. When the skin undergoes inflammation, it can trigger a series of reactions that may lead to increased melanin production and subsequent pigmentation issues. Here's how inflammation can contribute to pigmentation changes:

  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH): PIH occurs when the skin experiences inflammation or injury, such as acne breakouts, cuts, burns, or other skin conditions. The body produces excess melanin in response to the inflammation, leading to darkened patches or spots in the affected areas. This pigmentation can persist even after the initial inflammation has resolved.
  • Dermatitis and eczema: Inflammatory skin conditions like dermatitis and eczema can cause skin irritation and inflammation. This chronic inflammation can stimulate melanocytes to produce more melanin, resulting in localised or widespread hyperpigmentation.
  • Hormonal acne: Hormonal imbalances and increased androgen levels can trigger acne breakouts, which are often accompanied by inflammation. Inflammatory acne lesions can leave behind post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, intensifying the pigmentation changes.
  • Skin injuries and trauma: Any injury or trauma to the skin, such as cuts, scars, or surgical procedures, can trigger an inflammatory response. This inflammation can lead to increased melanin production and subsequent pigmentation in the affected area.

It's important to note that not all cases of pigmentation during pregnancy are directly linked to inflammation. The primary hormonal changes and sun exposure are the predominant factors. However, in certain situations where inflammation is present, it can contribute to pigmentation changes and exacerbate the condition.

Overall, while inflammation can contribute to pigmentation changes in specific instances, it is just one aspect to consider, and hormonal factors and sun exposure remain key factors in pigmentation during pregnancy.

Sun Exposure and Pigmentation

Sun exposure is a significant factor that can contribute to pigmentation changes, particularly in pregnancy. Here's how sun exposure influences pigmentation:

  • Melanin production: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun stimulates the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin colouration. When the skin is exposed to the sun, melanocytes produce more melanin as a natural defence mechanism to protect the skin from UV damage.
  • Activation of existing pigmentation: Sun exposure can activate and darken existing areas of pigmentation, such as melasma or chloasma, making them more pronounced. This is often referred to as "sun-induced pigmentation."
  • Increased pigmentation risk: Pregnant women are generally more susceptible to pigmentation changes caused by sun exposure. The hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can make the skin more sensitive to UV radiation, increasing the risk of developing hyperpigmentation.
  • Uneven distribution of pigmentation: Sun exposure can lead to an uneven distribution of melanin, causing irregular patches or spots of pigmentation on the skin. This can be particularly noticeable in areas of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, arms, and décolletage.

To manage pigmentation related to sun exposure during pregnancy, it is crucial to practice proper sun protection:

  • Wear sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF like Chicnutrix Block to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays. This sunscreen has SPF 45 PA+++, with Niacinamide, Adenosine, and is non-greasy, refreshing, and lightweight with no white cast. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if you're spending time outdoors or engaging in activities that cause sweating or water exposure.
  • Seek shade: Reduce your exposure to the sun's rays, especially between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, when they are at their peak intensity.
  • Wear protective clothing: Cover exposed areas of your skin with lightweight, breathable clothing that provides adequate sun protection. Opt for wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and long sleeves whenever possible.
  • Avoid tanning beds: Tanning beds emit harmful UV radiation and can worsen pigmentation concerns. It's best to avoid them altogether.

By practising sun protection measures, you can minimise the impact of sun exposure on pigmentation during pregnancy. Remember that prevention is key, and maintaining a consistent sun protection routine is essential for maintaining a healthy complexion and reducing the risk of pigmentation issues.

Managing Pigmentation in Pregnancy

Managing pigmentation during pregnancy involves a combination of preventive measures, skincare practices, and professional guidance. Here are some effective strategies for managing pigmentation:

Sun protection: It's important to shield your skin from the sun's damaging UV rays. Follow these steps:          

  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF (at least 30) to all exposed areas of skin daily, even on cloudy days.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if sweating or after swimming.
  • Seek shade and avoid direct sun exposure, especially during peak hours.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and lightweight, long-sleeved garments.

Skincare routine:

  • Cleanse your skin gently using mild, non-abrasive cleansers suitable for your skin type.
  • Use skincare products containing ingredients like vitamin C, niacinamide, or azelaic acid, which can help brighten the skin and improve pigmentation.
  • Avoid harsh exfoliation methods that may exacerbate pigmentation. Opt for gentle exfoliation with chemical exfoliants like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), as a healthcare professional recommends.
  • Moisturise your skin regularly to maintain hydration and support its natural barrier function.

Topical Treatments:

  • Topical treatments, such as serums, can be beneficial in reducing pigmentation. Certain ingredients like Glutathione, Vitamin C, Niacinamide, Arbutin, and Triple Hyaluronic Acid Complex have shown promise in addressing pigmentation concerns. One example of a serum that contains these ingredients is Chicnutrix Outshine.
  • Regular use of a serum like Chicnutrix Outshine can contribute to various positive effects on the skin:

Adding a natural glow and radiance to the complexion.

Improving skin texture and making it smoother.

Fighting against free radicals, which can help protect the skin from damage caused by environmental factors.

Assisting in achieving a more even skin tone by reducing pigmentation.


Glutathione is believed to have potential benefits in reducing pigmentation. It is commonly taken through supplementation to achieve optimal levels in the body.

Chicnutrix Glow offers a convenient and effective solution as it combines Glutathione and Vitamin C in an easy-to-use effervescent form.

Regular glow consumption can contribute to reducing dark spots and pigmentation, promoting a more even-toned complexion and imparting a radiant glow to the skin.

Patience and acceptance:

It's important to remember that pigmentation changes during pregnancy are a normal and temporary part of the journey. In most cases, they will gradually fade after childbirth.

Embrace and accept these changes as a natural part of the beautiful process of creating new life.

While these strategies can help manage pigmentation, it's essential to prioritise the safety of both you and your baby.


In conclusion, pigmentation during pregnancy is a common concern that many women experiences. Factors like changing hormones, inflammation, and sun exposure influence it. However, it can be effectively managed with the right approach and care.

Understanding the underlying causes of pigmentation is crucial for prevention and treatment. Hormonal changes have a significant impact, so using gentle skincare products suitable for pregnant women can help minimise pigmentation. Protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays by using SPF protection and avoiding excessive sun exposure is vital for reducing pigmentation.

It's important to debunk common myths about pigmentation. Contrary to popular belief, simply drinking more water or completely avoiding sunlight may not effectively prevent pigmentation.

By following a well-rounded approach that includes skincare, sun protection, and seeking professional advice if needed, you can successfully manage pigmentation during pregnancy. Remember, these changes are temporary, and with patience and self-acceptance, you can focus on the joyous journey of motherhood.

Rochelle Rocque
Wellness, Beauty and Seasonal

Rochelle is a person who loves to learn and read new things. Writing is her way of communicating to the world, she writes what she feels. According to her writing is the best way to speak her mind.... Read More


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