Skin problems after pregnancy
Life has been a beautiful mess since your cute, little bundle of joy has stepped into your world. All your time goes into taking care of your baby in a blink and you don’t even realize that. However, the ugly side of this blissful journey is when the horrible hormones come into play inflicting certain skin conditions. So we have put together our CONCISE GUIDE TO SKINCARE WHILE BREASTFEEDING in this article to know and solve your skincare woes.
The fluctuating levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone are mainly responsible for the skin and hair issues that you spot after delivery. Along with giving you skin and hair problems they also cause irritability, sadness, anxiety, mood swings, and other symptoms also called ‘baby blues’. Let’s have a look at how the hormonal changes affect your skin post-baby.
Read more about postpartum hormonal changes here:
Postpartum Hair Loss In New Moms
Postpartum Skin Conditions
There is a range of skin conditions of which you may be a victim. While some of them disappear, others may linger longer. However, preventive measures exist and medical treatments exist too. So moms, don’t freak out. Listed below are the skin conditions that new moms may experience.
1. Hormonal Acne
Increased sebum production and blocked pores are caused by progesterone and estrogen changes. Hormonal acne, which usually affects the neck and lower face, can be minor or severe, but it usually appears as raised red bumps that can be uncomfortable and painful to touch. For some moms, it can disappear within a few weeks but for some, it may persist.
Wash your face twice a day with a mild face wash and refrain from picking or squeezing the breakouts. This may worsen the condition and give birth to unwanted spots. Consult your doctor.
2. Post-Pregnancy Melasma (Pigmentation)
Post-pregnancy Melasma is a combined effect of exposure to UV rays, fluctuations in the levels of Estrogen and Progesterone, and genetics. Lighter skin tones start having dark patches while darker skin tones start having lighter patches on the skin. Pigment collects around the eyes, cheeks, eyes, and sometimes around the mouth, and is known as the "mask of pregnancy." Although the hyperpigmentation mostly fades away post-delivery, the discoloration won’t.
Apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 on the exposed areas regardless of whether you step out or not. Reapply if you are near a window or outdoors for hours. Products with ingredients like rice bran and lower amounts of vitamins C, E, and A (all of which are safe for nursing women) will brighten and refresh your skin. But to be on the safe side, consult your doctor before using anything on your skin.
3. Postpartum Dry Skin
Hormonal changes can deplete lipids in the skin during and immediately after pregnancy, resulting in dry spots on the face. On the cheeks, nose, and mouth, there appear patches of dry, red, and leathery skin. Because your skin is dehydrated, the sooner you replenish moisture levels, the quicker your complexion will return to normal.
Use mild, natal-safe cleansers and moisturizers to keep dryness and inflammation at bay. Use fragrance-free, chemical-free, additive-free, non-comedogenic products and use sun protection to protect your skin from the UV rays.
Drink plenty of water and fresh fruit juices to stay hydrated. Including omega 3-fatty acids in your diet can also help in keeping your skin soft and supple. Refrain from taking long showers and long hot soaks. Use moisturizing lotions with natural lipids like shea butter or jojoba seed oil on particularly rough areas, and look for products containing sea buckthorn on particularly red patches. And lastly, befriend the sunscreen my dear.
4. Facial Spider Veins
Increased blood flow and hormone levels accentuate the appearance of facial veins, giving them a spidery look. Small reddish blood veins branch out across the face, neck, and upper body, most typically around the nose and cheeks. Many women notice a lessened effect four to six months after giving child, and some may require treatment to improve their appearance.
Try using red raspberry extract, which is high in bioflavonoids and plant hormones and helps to strengthen arteries. To keep skin smooth, she recommends using ingredients like olive oil, shea butter and other plant oils.
5. Post-Pregnancy Loose Skin
During pregnancy, your tummy skin stretches a lot to accommodate your growing baby. And when the baby is out of your tummy, you may find that the skin around your belly has become loose. Your age, genetics and weight determines how fast your skin will return to normalcy. It is not harmful in any way. But, some moms don’t like the way it looks. Postpartum exercises, Yoga, and Pilates can be of great help to help tone and tighten your abdominal muscles. Craft a good cardio routine for yourself - a brisk walk, swimming, dancing, jogging, cycling, and so on, will work wonders for you. Keep yourself hydrated to maintain a healthy level of skin elasticity. And, then comes our good, old, reliable point - eat well. Stick to protein-rich and healthy fat-rich food items. Collagen can be found in protein. Protein requirements vary depending on how much exercise you perform, as well as your height and weight. If you're breastfeeding, you might need more protein. Apart from these, try massaging your skin with plant-based oils, for instance, almond oil.
6. Stretch Marks
Stretch marks start appearing on your belly, breasts, thigh, and hips, as your skin stretches due to your popping out belly. This stretching breaks the supporting structures in your skin's middle or bottom layer of tissues, resulting in a scar. Almost 90% of the moms develop stretch marks around their third trimester. The question is will the stretch marks go away after birth? Well, sadly no. It shrinks your heart we know, but stretch marks will be a part of you forever. But on the brighter side, most stretch marks go away naturally after birth. And additionally, you can take the support of different treatments to make them less noticeable. Laser therapy, Microdermabrasion, Microneedling, Radiofrequency, topical gels and creams infused with hyaluronic acid, creams with Tretinoin, Cocoa butter, Almond oil, Olive oil, and Vitamin E are a few options that you can explore in order to treat your stretch marks.
Read about Stretch Marks during pregnancy here: https://www.takecaremom.com/blogs/article/moms-guide-to-stretch-marks-during-pregnancy
7. Dark Circles and Puffy Eyes
By this time you have probably lost count of the number of your sleepless nights already. No doubt, you are devoting all your time to your baby. Naturally, you have less time to catch up on the lost sleep. Poor blood circulation, and exhaustion cause dark circles. nutritional deficiencies of Folic acid, Iron, and Vitamin K may lead to puffy eyes.
While under-eye bags and puffiness cannot be completely avoided, a well-balanced, nutritious diet will assist. Also, if you go out in the sun, use decent quality dark sunglasses. Caffeine in excess should be avoided. Sleep for at least 8 hours is advised.
Postpartum Skincare Guide
1) Drink up!
Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water is the best thing that you can do to your skin. The more you hydrate yourself, the farther you keep the skin issues like dryness from yourself.
2) Healthy Diet
When you eat well, it gets reflected on your skin. Eat foods rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Include green leafy vegetables, whole grains, fresh seasonal fruits, and vegetables to stay healthy and maintain healthy skin.
Clean your face regularly. Use a mild cleanser or a face wash twice a day. This will keep blemishes at bay.
4) Ditch the Sun
Stay away from the sun as much as possible. If avoiding is impossible at all (we understand certain things may not be feasible for some of you, some of you may work outside, and so on), do NOT forget to wear a broad spectrum of sun protection with an SPF of at least 30.
Skin and Hair Care Products to Avoid During Breastfeeding
While pregnant, you might have avoided certain foods and medicines that could pose a risk to your growing baby. And you would continue doing the same even post-delivery if you are breastfeeding, or pumping milk for your little one. The reason is that whatever you consume passes to your baby in much smaller quantities through your breastmilk.
The same logic applies when it comes to using topical products on your skin and hair. Continue using Natal-Safe products since even with topical application, the harmful chemicals and toxins in regular cosmetics can easily pass to your baby through your milk.
Research suggests that nursing mothers should particularly avoid ingredients that contain:
- Salicylic acid
- Retinoic acid
- Retinyl linoleate or palmitate
- Tazarotene or tazorac and avage
- Bha or Beta Hydroxy acid
Double-check all the labels or go for brands that are tailor-made for Pregnant and Nursing mothers.
Your 9 months journey has ended and your child is the center of your world now. Along with the happiness, this journey is filled with ample challenges of its own. When it comes to your looks too, the hormones are at play and the skin conditions resulting from that can be concerning particularly when they persist after weeks. Know that it's all a phase. Keep yourself calm, and consult your dermatologist if the skin concerns cause you discomfort or hurt your mental health. Remember, you are beautiful nonetheless and your baby too loves you the way you are. Take care Mom!