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Daily Mail Beauty Confidential 1 October 2009

Elsa McAlonan

I am 39 and have a brown area of skin on my forehead, following pregnancy. I have been told that this is Melasma or 'pregnancy mask' – how can I get rid of it, or will it just go away naturally?

When you become pregnant, hormones can change the pigment in the skin, leaving a sort of 'tea-stained' area of skin, which unfortunately is often on the face.

This pigmentation is sometimes permanent and doesn't tend to vanish completely on its own, but that also depends on how light the pigment is to start with.

Fraxel Re:Store is a laser treatment done by a doctor that restores balanced pigment to the area. It is expensive, but does help to remove the marks completely.

Cosmetic doctor Dr Rita Rakus explains: 'Melasma is a very common condition and can cause women to feel very self-conscious at a highly emotional time. I see lots of women who have melasma because of pregnancy.

'In certain cases it can be very difficult to treat, but with Fraxel's laser technology it is possible to improve the appearance with minimal down time and risk. After treatment, during the first 24 hours, your skin may feel as though it has mild sunburn and appear a bit pink, but you can wear a little bit of light make-up to cover it. Sometimes, while the skin heals after a treatment the pigment can appear darker, but this will fade.

'There is no special aftercare, unless your practitioner directs otherwise. It is recommended that you wear an SPF 30 to protect the treated skin from the sun's rays. Depending on the size and depth of pigment, usually people have three to five treatments, spaced about two to four weeks apart.'

Prices for Fraxel start from £895 per session for a treatment on the face, but they vary. Smaller treatments (such as on the hands or neck) can start from £575.

For your nearest Fraxel practitioner, visit www.fraxel.com.
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