My first pregnancy was a breeze. Glowing skin, rosy cheeks, shiny hair and a general radiant complexion that lasted even until postpartum. My second pregnancy was tough. Tough on my skin, tough on my hair, and tough on my general complexion. There comes a point, once all the adrenaline and excitement of your little bundle of joy begins to wear off, where the burnout becomes real. Looking after a newborn baby can be a huge stress, and the emotions can take a massive toll on your skin. Late night feedings, raging hormones, less personal time and copious amounts of caffeine intake for survival can all have a negative impact on your skin.
I am sure the uncertainties of Covid-19 and having a close age-gap between my boys ("two under two") has had a part to play on my negative skin health but lucky for me, I have had the knowledge to minimise any damage and to know that all these changes are temporary. I repeat, these changes are temporary, especially if you are using the right skincare ingredients. I hope this helps you to feel confident in your own postpartum skin.
1. Hormonal acne postpartum: this is caused by an increase in the hormone, progesterone, which triggers oil production and in turn causes breakouts.
Treatment options: Ensure you are cleansing thoroughly morning and evening. Avoid rich moisturisers and oil-based ingredients. Skincare products containing beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) for example, salicylic acid will help to deep cleanse the pores (Obagi CLENZIderm facial cleanser) and products with alpha hydroxy acids for example, glycolic acid, lactic acid, will exfoliate and remove the top layers of dead skin cells. If your acne is severe, then book in for a consultation to discuss alternative prescription based treatment options.
2. Lines and Wrinkles: I personally felt like I aged 5 years after my second pregnancy! Our skin is made up of collagen and elastin and this decreases postpartum due to hormone changes, lack of sleep and lack of rest.
Treatment options: A good skincare routine is crucial. Keep it basic with these simple steps whilst you are trying to find your feet again: cleanse, apply a serum, apply a moisturiser and use SPF as a basic daytime routine. Incorporate a retinol at night once you have finished breastfeeding. My holy grail has been Skinade. This is an award-winning collagen supplement and will support your skin health from within. My skin has felt more hydrated, smoother and the B vitamins it contains has supported my energy levels. You will start to notice a difference after 90 days of continued use. I cannot recommend this enough!
3. Dry and Irritated Skin: Dry skin is linked to hormones. Oestrogen levels are high during pregnancy and drop suddenly when you give birth. This drop in oestrogen reduces moisture in the skin. Skin can look particularly dry and red on the cheeks, nose and mouth area.
Treatment options: Use a very gentle cleanser (Obagi Nuderm Gentle Cleanser) morning and evening. Keep hydrated (minimum 2L a day), moisturise your skin and use a humidifier in the room you are spending most time in as this adds moisture into the air.
4. Pigmentation: this occurs due to changes in hormones in pregnancy that causes the stimulation of cells called melanocytes, resulting in darker areas of skin. This change is usually temporary postpartum, but it can remain for longer.
Treatment options: The prescription-strength Obagi Nuderm Transformation System is the gold standard for pigmentation but it is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding. In the meantime, keep your skin protected with daily SPF and a medical-grade vitamin C serum.
5. Puffy eyes and dark circles: this occurs due to sleep deprivation and irregular sleep patterns. The dehydrated eye area can also lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
Treatment options: Use 10 minutes of frozen tea bags over the eyes daily. Then apply an eye serum. The skin around the eye is extremely delicate, so it is really important to only apply products especially formulated for this area. I alternate between two serums that help to minimise fine lines and wrinkles – the DR LEVY Eye Booster Concentrate which has been described as botox in a bottle and the Obagi ELASTIderm Eye Serum, which also contains caffeine to help combat dark circles.
I know how mentally and physically exhausting caring for a newborn can be. I know how hard it is to balance time and how you want to complete the 101 things on your to-do-list, but actually time for your own self-care is crucial. Get rest, eat healthy, stay active and love your skin!
Such an informative article! Due my first baby next month and will definitely be using this as a guide to help control any skin issues during the postpartum stage. I’ve learnt a lot about my skin through Kuljeet pre pregnancy and cant wait to go back onto these products that transformed my skin