It’s no secret that pregnancy often comes hand-in-hand with some less than desirable and sometimes embarrassing side effects (looking at you, peanut-sized bladder.) But there’s one common symptom that’s rarely talked about: Melasma.

Also known as ‘cholasma’ or the ‘pregnancy mask,’ it’s a skin condition that affects three out of four expectant mothers that causes brownish patches to form all over the body (but mostly on the face.) And despite the fact that it doesn’t cause any physical discomfort, it can be pretty g-darn annoying.    

Someone who knows this all too well is Bachelor alum, Snezana Markovski. Just weeks after the birth of her second child Willow, the 37-year-old has taken to Instagram to reveal her battle with the pigmentation.

“Damn melasma!” she captioned one make-up free selfie showing the discolouration on her cheeks. “Ohh well, at least I use less bronzer now.” 

Hollywood actress Jenna Dewan Tatum has also been open about her struggle to overcome the condition, which first reared its head after her daughter Everly was born back in 2013.

“Sooo no reason selfie,” she shared on Instagram earlier this week. “But I do want to say I am shocked that I am able to go mostly make-up free now with no filters or retouching etc. Those who have had melasma know it’s hard to manage and big thanks to @simonoouriamd1 and his magic coolaser!”

Melasma is caused by the drastic change in hormones that occur during pregnancy. But while there’s no magic fix, there are options to minimise the symptoms over time.

“For hormonal pigment there’s no cure as such, however it can be managed with a good skincare regime and in-clinic treatments such as Pico laser or depigmentation peels, I find Cosmelan and Dermamelan are super effective,” advised celebrity facialist Melanie Grant in a recent social media post.

Sun protection is also key as melasma often worsens in warmer weather. 

“Unless you want to end up right back where you started, there’s no use booking in for clinical treatments if you continue to skip the SPF. Diligent sun protection is vital in managing all types of hyperpigmentation, this is where it starts!” 

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