Snezana Markoski has found a 'bright side' to the pregnancy side effect no one talks about.

As if pregnant women don’t have enough to deal with (you know, starting with growing a human inside them), along comes melasma.

A skin problem that causes brown or grey patches across the face, melasma has a number of causes including sun damage and hormonal changes but is particularly common during pregnancy, often called “the mask of pregnancy”.

Snezana Markoski is one woman currently wearing that ‘mask’, after giving birth to daughter Willow earlier this month.

Image: Instagram

"Damn melasma!" she recently captioned a picture of the skin condition on her Instagram story.

However, the molecular scientist, blogger and The Bachelor winner joked that she may have found a silver lining.

"Ooh well, at least I use less bronzer now," she wrote.

Actress Jenna Dewan Tatum has also been open about sharing her own battle (yes, it really is a battle) with melasma that first popped up after the birth of her daughter Everly in 2013.

Dermal therapist James Vivian says that about 50 per cent of his female clients have melasma, a type of pigmentation.

"The condition is hormonally induced pigment which sits quite deeply in the skin in the dermal aspect of the skin rather than the epidermal aspect so it's not so available to treatment and it's very sensitive to things like light and heat," he explains.


It comes out as a combination largely of sun and the contraceptive pill.

Hyperpigmentation is caused by external factors, whereas melasma is caused by changes within.

"Generally it won't come up because of pregnancy, it will be a pre-existing condition but the pregnancy brings it out," he says.

"It's unfortunate and I feel the frustration from so many of our female clients who were put on the pill and weren't told about the side effect of melasma and now it's a condition they will have forever and they now have to spend a lot of money and time on it and be very careful about the sun.

"Even the smallest amount of sun can undo a year's worth of treatments."

Those using HRT or doing IVF might also experience the condition.

While there is no "cure" for melasma, there are options to minimise it.

"Treatment involves predominantly good work at home with sun protection on a daily basis and reapplication every couple of hours and using the right acids and the right de-pigmentation ingredients like Vitamin Cs and Vitamin As," says Vivian.

"In-clinic treatments is a way to really move that pigment through the skin a lot but it will always be there so we really try to ingrain that into clients that we can make it look so much better but it will always be there."


Dewan-Tatum said she'd tried everything and finally noticed a difference after using 'Coolaser'.

"The hype is real people. And no I'm not being paid," she wrote on Instagram last year.

"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," celebrity facialist Melanie Grant wrote on Instagram earlier this year.

"I find Cosmelan and Dermamelan are super effective."

She also echoed Vivian's point of the importance of sun protection, as melasma can often worsen in Summer.

"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," she wrote.

"Diligent sun protection is vital in managing all types of hyperpigmentation, this is where it starts! Some women even choose to stop taking the pill to ease the side effects of melasma."