By the time they emerge from the sleep-deprived fog of caring for a new baby, many moms are shocked to see that their pregnancy glow has been replaced by a host of skin issues, from horrible cystic acne to discoloration. Hormones have a tendency to wreak havoc on our skin and pregnancy, both pre- and post-natal, is certainly a time of great hormonal change. Thankfully, the implementation of some simple skincare routines can minimize those hormonal side effects and restore your glow in no time. Here are our recommendations for four common postpartum skin issues.
Dubbed “the mask of pregnancy,” melasma is a condition characterized by lighter or darker skin patches that typically appear on the forehead, nose, chin, cheeks, neck, and forearms. For most, this hyperpigmentation will fade one month to a year after delivery; however, there are circumstances when the discoloration can last longer. A variety of factors can contribute to the manifestation of melasma, including fluctuating hormone levels, exposure to the sun, and plain old genetics.
To prevent new occurrences of melasma, application of sunscreen before heading outdoors is recommended. To treat melasma already present, you’ll want to begin your daily skincare ritual with a gentle cleansing agent. A vitamin C-rich facial wash such as the belif Creamy Cleansing Foam Moist will do the trick. Follow up with a natural toner of your choosing, apply a vitamin c serum, and then follow up with a moisturizer. For especially troubling cases, you may also want to opt for a vitamin C chemical peel. Vitamin C is known for its antioxidant properties which assist in the fading of dark spots.
Whenever acne is present, hormones are to blame. It’s no wonder that after giving birth, many new moms discover that they’re plagued by acne. However, treating acne while breastfeeding can be a bit complex as there are concerns about certain medications making their way into breastmilk. Not to worry, there are safer options.
As with any great skincare routine, you want to begin with a gentle cleanser, such as Mederma’s AG Facial Cleanser, which has acne-fighting properties but is still safe to use while pregnant or nursing. Next, you’ll want to apply a toner. Dickinson’s Pore Perfecting Witch Hazel Toner is a breastfeeding-safe option. Follow up with a serum of your choosing — you can never go wrong with a vitamin C serum. Lastly, you’ll want to apply a hydrating moisturizer such as Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel. If you find that you’re needing to spot treat pimples, try applying tea tree oil to the affected area. Exfoliating two to three times per week is also recommended. Belli’s Fresh Start Pre-Treatment Scrub is a great option.
Acne Scars or Dark Spots
Even worse than postpartum acne are the scars and dark spots those awful pimples leave behind. Thankfully, there are ways to fade those marks within a few weeks’ time. Similar to the routine for melasma, you’ll want to incorporate a healthy amount of vitamin C into your skincare regimen. Starting with a vitamin C-rich cleanser will set you up right in your journey to a clearer complexion. Next, you’ll want to apply a toner, followed by a vitamin C serum and a hydrating moisturizer.
Dull, Dry Skin
Another common postpartum side effect is dull, dry skin — especially when nursing. First things first, it is important to stay hydrated. It is recommended that nursing mothers consume 100 ounces of water per day, which is why the nurses in your maternity ward were probably chasing you around your room with a pitcher of water during your stay at the hospital. As important as it may be, drinking water is not a cure-all for dull postpartum skin.
To restore your glow, you’ll want to begin with a hydrating facial cleanser such as the Creamy Moisturizer Deep Moist by belif. Follow up with a toner and hydrating serum, such as The Ordinary’s 100% Plant-Derived Squalane. Next, you’ll want to indulge in a super-hydrating, water-based moisturizer like belif’s The True Cream Aqua Bomb. If you find that your skin is especially dry, try adding a hydrating mask to your rotation a couple of nights per week.
Playing it safe:
Medical professionals advise nursing mothers to avoid skincare products that contain retinoic acid, retin-A, retinol, retinyl linoleate or palmitate, diferin, razarotene or tazorac and avage, BHA or beta hydroxy acid, and salicylic acid.