Linea Nigra and Facial Pigmentation in Pregnancy

Linea Nigra and Facial Pigmentation in Pregnancy

As the weeks of your pregnancy go by and your baby grows inside of you, you may be noticing many changes. Some are more welcomed and some you may not like as much. However, the female body is a most wondrous creation and there are some pretty impressive reasons for these changes in your body.


Have you had a look at your face in the mirror and noticed any darkened, pigment like blotches over your skin?


This is called ‘cholasma’ or ‘melasma’ and is most probably due to female sex hormones stimulating pigment producing cells, named melanin. They mainly show up on the upper lip, nose, forehead and cheekbones and close to three-quarters of pregnant women experience it. This type of pigmentation can also occur around the genitals, nipples and inner thighs.


These melasma spots are stimulated even more by sun and heat and are also hereditary. Therefore, the best way to manage pigmentation is to always use sun-screen lotion SPF50+ over the face and body and to wear a hat when going outside or to remain in the shade whenever possible.


Have you looked down at your belly and noticed a black like spanning all the way down the middle, and over your belly button?


This particular skin change occurs in more than 90% of women and is the most prominent amongst women with darker complexions. Like the darkened areas over the face, linea nigra is also associated with pregnancy hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone which stimulate melanin production. The placenta and the hormones it produces are also thought to play a role in accentuating the dark colour.


Linea nigra has no negative effect on pregnancy and there is no ‘treatment’ for it, however, folic acid in pregnancy has been thought to reduce its occurrence. Foods like leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits and legumes contain high amounts of folic acid.


Though you may be avoiding the many changes of pregnancy, aim to embrace some of them as well. Many of these changes mark an amazing and complex network inside of you that is creating and growing a life.