-from babycenter.com: soy products can cause melasma!!
Some moms-to-be seek out natural ingredients such as soy in their skin-care products, thinking that they're free from harmful effects. But that's not necessarily the case, says Baumann.
While soy-based lotions and facial products are generally safe to use, "Soy can make the 'mask of pregnancy' (dark splotches on facial skin) worse, as can oil of bergamot, which is in many organic products," she says.
Soy has estrogenic effects, which can make those dark patches, also known as melasma or chloasma, worse, Baumann explains. "The 'active soy' found in some product lines is okay, however, because the estrogenic components have been taken out."
On the label:
Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
If you have dark skin or melasma, avoid these products, or choose 'active soy' products instead. Otherwise it's safe to use.
Pregnancy Mask and Other Pigment Problems
Among the most frustrating pregnancy skin problems is melasma, also known as chloasma or "pregnancy mask" - patches of dark, pigmented skin that appear on the face.
Pregnancy mask is related to pregnancy hormones and sunlight exposure. The American Academy of Dermatology says women with darker complexions and dark hair are at greatest risk.
But regardless of your complexion, Marmur says, other areas of darker skin can also develop on or around your nipples and between your thighs. "Many women also experience linea nigra or 'line of pregnancy' -- a darkened area of pigmentation that runs down the center of the belly," she says.
While there is no specific treatment for pregnancy pigmentation problems, staying out of the sun can definitely diminish the amount of discoloration you experience, so can wearing a sunscreen anytime you are outdoors.
While the jury is still out on the safety of traditional skin-lightening ingredients such as hydroquinone during pregnancy, Jamal says there are others with an established safety profile you can safely try.
"You can use azelaic acid, which is good for pigment, as well as any topical vitamin C product, which helps suppress pigment naturally," she says.
She also recommends Phytocorrective Gel by Skinceuticals, which she says safely suppresses pigment, as well as the Aveeno soy-based products. "They have a photo-stabilized sunscreen that contains soy and has been shown to lighten pigmented lesions on the skin," says Jamal.
if all else fails, you can safely cover pregnancy mask with a high-pigment concealer or foundation. For best results, choose the color closest to your complexion and resist the urge to go lighter.
"If you select a light shade of concealer, you're not going to get better coverage, plus you're only going to draw attention to the mask by highlighting that area," says Holly Mordini, director of global artistry for Smashbox Cosmetics. Another tip, says Mordini, is to always use a good moisturizer before putting on your concealer. "This will help give better, more even coverage over large areas," she says.
If your mask does not clear after pregnancy, Marmur says a chemical peel "works like magic" to remove all traces.
-Another alternative to hydroquinone: Mother of Pearl cream (at CVS) or Concha Nacar de Perlop #3 bleach...has salycilic acid, so works to heal blemishes and bleach PIH
Description from Amazon.com: A one of a kind cream uniquely formulated to bleach, cleanse the pores, remove impurities, aid in fading spots and blemishes, and generally beautify the skin. Contains Genuine oyster shell powder. Concha Nacar is an anti-aging ingredient for the skin. It has been used since ancient times, and in China it used to be claimed that this product could stop the formation of acne scarring. Concha Nacar de Perlop is particularly very common in Latin America and its proven success is making its way to America. If you are looking for a better deal, we recommend you try Madre Perla. It contains twice as much cream: Bleach Cream , Day Cream and Night Cream . Directions: Wash face with warm water. Apply cream and rub in well, avoiding areas around the eyes and the mucous membranes. Allow cream to remain on skin for 1/2 hour to one full hour. Wash off with cold water to open skin pores. Use daily for best results. Minimize exposure to direct sunlight and use sunscreen during the day to avoid recurrence of spots. Tips and Tricks: Don't over wash or use harsh scrubs. Two gentle washings a day is sufficient. Too much cleaning can leave skin irritated and dry, triggering glands to produce more oil, increasing the likelihood of pimples or blackheads. Use oil-free or non-comedogenic products (those that won't clog pores) on your face. Size: 2 oz.
It's like a mask, so you can't leave it on for more than 1 hour