We all know that we need to limit our sun exposure and wear sunscreen every day to protect our skin, but you may not realize that it’s especially important for you to practice sun safety while you are pregnant.
Although you may cringe at the thought of turning pale and pasty while you are pregnant, it’s the safest shade for your skin. Over-exposure to UV rays (artificial or natural) will not only increase your risk of skin cancer, it can also increase your chance of developing the “mask of pregnancy,” also known as melasma or chloasma. This benign, but sometimes permanent, the condition usually shows up on the face as dark, blotchy spots.
The increase in hormones in your system during pregnancy makes you more susceptible to developing melasma, which may appear on any area of skin exposed to the sun. To prevent melasma, use a high-SPF sunblock (30 or more) and wear a wide-brimmed hat any time you are outdoors, even if it’s cloudy.
And while many women use sunless tanning lotions to give their skin a tan appearance, experts still aren’t sure if or how much of the active ingredient, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), crosses the skin and enters your bloodstream, possibly affecting your baby. Many doctors and midwives encourage women to wait to use tanning lotions at least until after the first trimester, just to play it safe.