With all the changes your body undergoes during pregnancy, it’s no surprise that your skin may be worse for wear post-delivery. Common skin problems after delivery include dark under-eye circles, melisma (or the discoloration of the skin due to hormonal changes, acne breakouts), and hypersensitivity.
In addition to the overall hormone imbalance, you’ll also be dealing with sleepless nights and a lack of rest from attending to your baby. Getting back your pre-pregnancy skin texture may seem difficult at this point, but think of it this way: if you take care of your skin and, by extension, take care of yourself, you can be in a better state to care for your child.
Here are some tips for updating your skincare routine post-pregnancy, bringing you closer to regaining healthy and happy skin.
Cleanse and tone gently
After pregnancy, your skin may become more sensitive than before. The slightest exposure to cosmetics, fragrances, or household detergents may irritate your face and body. Opting for a gentle cleanser and toner allows you to clean your skin of any bacteria or irritants without aggravating them.
Watch out for ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), commonly found as foaming agents in cleansers but can be too harsh for sensitive skin. Instead, opt for products infused with bisabolol or honey, which have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
While many commercial toners contain alcohol and additives like sulfur or benzoyl peroxide, these can further irritate the skin. Look for toners with green tea, chamomile, and white tea extracts for the soothing and calming effects your skin needs.
If you’re struggling with postpartum acne, toners with salicylic acid and glycolic acid can aid in purifying pores and preventing new blemishes from erupting. It’s best to cleanse and tone twice daily to keep your skin clean. Make sure to double-check your products to ensure that they are non-comedogenic or won’t clog your pores, adding to your acne woes.
Exfoliating your skin can help lighten dark spots and reduce acne by lifting the dead skin cells from your face. This is best done at least once a week and not more than three times a week, as exfoliating too often can also pose serious risks. If you’re dealing with skin sensitivity or irritation, best to skip this step and address the irritation first before attempting exfoliation.
Always use sunblock
Dark spots and melasma can worsen—either by aggravating existing dark areas or causing new ones to appear—with exposure to ultraviolet light. It’s advisable to wear sunscreen every day, even if you tend to stay indoors more. Choose a broad-spectrum SPF with a non-comedogenic formula to protect your skin without clogging your pores.
As much as possible, avoid direct exposure to the sun and cover up any bare skin. If you know, you’ll be outdoors for 10 minutes or longer, opt for an SPF 50 sunscreen for maximum protection.
Keep your skin hydrated
To bounce back to healthy and glowing skin and reduce the under-eye darkness and puffiness, keeping hydrated is a must. Make sure to drink lots of water—at least eight glasses a day— to boost the natural moisture in your skin.
Aside from this, invest in a good moisturizer to use following your twice-a-day cleansing and toning. Make sure to choose one free from harsh additives, comedogenic ingredients, dyes, and synthetic fragrances to avoid irritating your skin.
Multitasking products that provide hydration for your skin while offering SPF protection can work in tandem with your existing sunscreen.
Add more care to your routine
A new baby in the household can mean your me-time is little to basically non-existent. However, sacrificing your own well-being can take its toll on your body. Adding more care to your routine means hitting two birds with one stone: giving your skin much-needed attention while also creating an opportunity to relax.
Applying a nightly under-eye cream can help combat the dark circles and puffiness and give you a few minutes of peace and quiet. In addition to this, getting more restful sleep can make all the difference in the condition of your skin.
Once a week, consider setting aside some time for a hydrating face mask to bolster your skin’s moisture. You can meditate, read a book, or catch up on some rest while it sets and absorbs. Of course, you can always ask your spouse or partner for help in taking care of the baby if you feel like you need to take a rest!
Building a routine with all the hustle and bustle of tending to a newborn is daunting. After all, a baby’s needs are ever-present, and you can’t exactly plan when they can get fussy. However, it helps to have something as simple as skin care to anchor your self-care. Remember to stick to your routine every day and you’ll be moving towards a more stable schedule and better and healthier skin in no time.