Recently two small patches of darker colored skin have appeared at the corners of my mouth. Sadly they look less like dark patches of skin and more like the Kool-Aid stains my kids sport when drinking out of a cup with no lid.
I affectionately refer to them as sunspots—without the solar explosions of fire. It’s a valid comparison really, since in about three months my stomach will be roughly the same size as the sun—equipped with it’s own gravitational pull. Instead of mystical planets, my orbit will randomly pick up items around the house or grocery store.
These patches of dark skin are called the mask of pregnancy—because melanoma gravid arum is not only difficult to pronounce, but sounds more like a name for a pinot grigio than a pregnancy side effect. It isn’t enough that stretch marks happen. I mean, I can already feel my skin itching and can only presume that in three months I’ll have a complete visual interpretation of Dante’s Inferno, replete with a design of flame art that should have been on a gig poster for a band in the 70’s.
But thanks to overdrive in temporary melanin, my hair and skin will sport disproportional highlights. A tanning of natural selection, if you will.
If you also have this issue, rest assured the patches generally go away after delivery. Until then you can help by:
A. Protecting yourself from the sun.
Thankfully this isn’t an issue in my house. I’m married to the sunscreen king. He lathers sunscreen on our kids like lotion is a suit of armor—the more lumps the more protection. He and our daughters walk around together like they just survived a giant marshmallow explosion on our backyard.
B. Use gentle cleansers and facial creams.
Probably you aren’t using cleansers and face creams that hurt. I used to use St. Ives apricot scrub all the time. Honestly, I’m surprised I still have skin; using sandpaper would have been less abrasive. I can only assume experts feel the more gentle the cleanser the less damage to your skin. I suppose it makes sense.
C. Apply concealing makeup.
I don’t know why you use makeup, but I use it for two reasons:
1. To cover up pimples I was supposedly never going to get again after high school.
2. To make it look like I got more than 3 hours of sleep.
If you feel weird about your newly formed splotches, just apply concealer. Find one with SPF—two birds people. Two birds.
In the end, it’s a small price to pay for the incredibly gift I’ll receive at the end of this journey. A few dark patches in exchange for a baby with a face to love, kiss, and clean Kool-Aid stains off of.