Pregnancy affects everyone’s skin differently; some experience redness while others get acne breakouts or hyperpigmentation (i.e., melasma or ‘pregnancy mask’). Some may even have broken capillaries from giving birth as intense pushing can burst blood vessels. After pregnancy, your hormones are going haywire (which, by the way, explains common night sweats and post-partum depression) and this can wreak havoc on the skin.
Breakouts are no fun. Ever. When they are provoked by post-pregnancy hormones, you just have to roll with it, knowing that they will probably subside in a matter of a few short months. In the interim, use skin care products that are specifically formulated to combat acne, namely topical products that contain Salicylic Acid, since they don’t typically cause irritation (if you are nursing, consult with your physician first to be on the safe side).
If you have blackheads, mechanical exfoliation is the key method to help banish them. Exfoliating helps slough away dead skin cells and unclog pores, which cause the breakouts in the first place. Face scrubs are examples of mechanical exfoliants. On the other hand, chemical exfoliants include Salicylic Acid, which are ideal for any type of breakout, including whiteheads and cystic acne (hard, painful bumps that are under the surface of the skin).
If you’ve got pesky post-partum brown spots, unfortunately there is no miracle-in-a-jar to make them disappear completely, but there are ways to help lighten them, such as:
- Wearing sunscreen on a daily basis, rain or shine, winter or summer. Pregnancy causes melanocytes (the cells that are responsible for pigment in the skin) to be active and sun exposure can stimulate them even more.
- Exfoliating to help break down darkened skin cells.
- Using skin care products that contain Vitamin C as it has lightening properties that will help fade pigment with continued use. Kojic Acid is also used to whiten melasma after pregnancy.
Basic and Proper Daily Skin Care Regimen
Now that you know what type of products you need to help eradicate a post-prego skin issue, the other half of the battle is when to use them. The following is a basic and proper skin care regimen, respectively:
- Cleanse—twice a day.
- Tone (with a toner or astringent). Most people ignore this step, but it is important because a toner helps remove impurities and restores a pH balance in the skin.
- Exfoliate—no more than three times a week.
- Serum application. Serums are concentrated liquids or gels that penetrate deep into the skin to perform a specific function. For instance, a serum that contains Vitamin C would be ideal to use if you were dealing with hyperpigmentation or if you’re in search of an anti-aging serum.
- Moisturize—with a moisturizer suitable for your skin type. Your moisturizer for the day should contain sunscreen and the one for night does not need to be formulated with a sunscreen (for obvious reasons).
Motherhood doesn’t have to take its toll on your skin. While you celebrate the birth of your new child, embrace the right skin care products and skin routine!