How to treat melasma, aka the “pregnancy mask”

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Dr. Whitney Bowe on Good Morning America! sharing tips on how best to treat melasma, AKA the “pregnancy mask,” a skin ailment characterized by brownish patches on the face that is especially common for women during and after pregnancy. For more tips and treatments, check out today’s #Glow Diaries post, and check out ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee’s full blog about her struggles with melasma and her full treatments with Dr. Bowe.


ABC News’ Ginger Zee Shares Her Melasma Journey

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ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee recently blogged about her pregnancy and giving birth to her first child for ABC News. Today, she is back to share some of her post-pregnancy adventures. Zee discusses her battle with melasma, a skin ailment characterized by brownish patches on the face and is especially common for women during pregnancy, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

My son, Adrian, just turned 1. He’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. That said, this kid changed my body, mind and skin forever.

I’m not talking about the still-pink scar that crosses my lower abdomen where I had a c-section. That and the deflated boobs are both parts of me that I have come to accept and love as a badge of honor for becoming a mother.

The day I looked in the mirror and saw a mask over my face, that was the day I said, enough is enough. My skin was brown in patches and bright white in others. It looked much different than it had before I had the baby. One day I saw that Dr. Whitney Bowe was on our show and got her contact from producers and made an appointment. In doing research about the skin disorder I thought I had, I found many links leading me to laser treatment. But that scared me.

Dr. Bowe took me in and was so gentle with her description. I have melasma. A discoloration of the skin thanks to a shift in hormones. Many times women get it during or after pregnancy, but any hormonal shift, including birth control pills, can bring it on.

My melasma was most pronounced on my forehead, down my cheeks. She assured me that we could make major improvements but it would take time. That day, she explained that laser doesn’t work for many with melasma and gave me a chemical peel. I was so nervous that my skin would fall off in sheets and it would burn. Instead, the peel took 30 seconds to apply and barely tingled. She sent me home with strict instructions to wear SPF always, gave me C E Ferulic to mix in with my SPF and then made me a special melasma emulsion to use every other night.

We went on to do three more peels and even intensify the emulsion, and the results are outstanding. I kept dreaming of a day I could go makeup-less like Alicia Keys and while I’ll never have her flawless complexion and gorgeous skin color, I think I look pretty darn good after Dr. Bowe’s help.

What I love about this story is that you don’t have to spend hundreds to achieve improvement with melasma. There are natural ingredients to look for like licorice, vitamin C, kojic acid and soy that can help reduce melasma.

Bottom line, melasma is never cured, but it can be controlled. For now, I’m going out makeup-less. With SPF and a hat on of course.

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