Hyperpigmentation of the stomach involves a darkening of the skin pigment on the abdomen, which can be very common with pregnant women. For instance, many expecting women suffer from linea nigra, which is marked by a dark vertical strip that runs from the sternum to the pubis, crossing the navel. For the safety of the baby, it’s best to use natural remedies to treat this type of hyperpigmentation, as opposed to prescription creams and ointments.
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Soak a small cloth in lemon juice and apply as a compress for at least 15 to 20 minutes twice a day.
Slice up fruits that act as natural skin lighteners, such as papaya, grapefruit and kiwi. Rub the pieces along your stomach, allowing the juice to dry in the area of hyperpigmentation. Wash off the fruit using a mild soap and warm water.
Apply extracts from such skin-brightening compounds as licorice root, green tea and mulberry. These extracts can be diluted in distilled water and applied as a compress.
Avoid exposing your stomach to sunlight or ultraviolet rays in order to reduce the chance of hyperpigmentation. Always apply sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30) whenever you go outside, and wear hats and protective clothing to keep yourself out of the sun.
Keep the skin on your stomach moisturized with a lotion or baby oil. Hyperpigmentation can be aggravated by dry skin.
Refrain from using any type of prescription creams or ointments used to treat hyperpigmentation while you are pregnant or nursing. Drugs such as retinol and hydroquinone may produce serious side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, skin rashes and insomnia. In addition, hydroquinone may be linked to cancer according to some studies, and excessive amounts of retinol may produce Vitamin A poisoning.
Take additional vitamin supplements containing folic acid if you are a pregnant woman suffering from linea nigra. Take 400 to 800 micrograms daily toward the beginning of the pregnancy, with the dosage reduced by half during the last trimester and during nursing. Folic acid can also reduce the risk of miscarriage and some birth defects as well.
Some studies show a link between the occurrence of linea nigra and the amount of insulin being produced during a pregnancy. A strong linea nigra may indicate the onset of gestational diabetes.