Pregnant and I have melasma – what should I do?

Melasma, also known as pregnancy mask, is a pigment disorder characterized by symmetrical, pigmented maculae. Macula is Latin for spot. In dermatology, this term is used to indicate a non-elevated color change of the skin. Melasma (50-70%) can indeed develop during pregnancy under the influence of pregnancy hormones. Fortunately, for most women, these spots disappear on their own after giving birth. Pigment spots do not need to be actively treated immediately.

Pregnant Melasma

It is better not to apply these cosmetic ingredients when you are pregnant


I regularly see an increase in pigment spots in the face during pregnancies at the consultation hour. A fairly effective ingredient to lighten the skin is hydroquinone.

There is no proven link between major congenital anomalies and hydroquinone. But because the body can absorb a significant amount of hydroquinone, 25 to 35 percent, it’s best to limit the intake during pregnancy.


Some skin care products use a retinol to reduce acne and fine lines. Retinol exfoliates superficial skin cells faster and stimulates collagen production to rejuvenate the skin.

The relationship between the use of retinol or retinoids, a stronger vitamin A variant and pregnancy problems has not been directly demonstrated in studies. Studies showed that retinol can be transferred from parent to baby through the placenta, and up to 60 times more during breastfeeding. The Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board also advise not to use it during pregnancy.

More on cosmetic ingredients during pregnancy and breastfeeding

What can you do?

Fruit acid peeling at a skin therapist is allowed.

During late pregnancy you should use a sunscreen with a high factor (SPF 50) every day. Preferably a mineral sunscreen that contains both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. This combination provides broad UV protection (UVA and UVB light), works immediately after application and is not absorbed by the body

Pregnant Vitamin C Vitamin E Ferulic Acid Airless Dispenser Antioxidant Pigment Spots Melasma Pregnancy Mask
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Vitamin B3 – Niacinamide, may be used during pregnancy. Skin products with Niacinamide have many good effects on the skin: improves the skin barrier, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and reduces pigment spots.

Iconic Elements Spotreducer contains 5% Niacinamide

Vitamin C – also a safe ingredient to use during pregnancy. Vitamin C, an antioxidant, also has a whitening effect on the skin. If you combine vitamin C with vitamin E together, the antioxidant effect is enhanced – up to 8 times if ferulic acid is a plant hormone.

While you are here

Melasma in men also occurs. More often than you think, according to research. In men it occurs between 5-10%, with an average age of 30.7 years, just like in women. It is more common in people with dark skin (Fitzpatrick skin types IV to VI) such as Hispanics, Asians and African Americans than in white populations.

Melasma is caused by a combination of external factors and genetic predisposition. The exact cause of melasma is not known. Some of the most common factors include sun exposure, hormonal influences, and genetic predisposition. Other, less common causes include cosmetics (highly perfumed products, aftershave), photosensitizing medications ( for more information: medications and photosensitivity), diet, thyroid disorders, liver diseases, ovarian tumors, parasites and stressful events. More about melasma in men

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Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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