During pregnancy, your skin glows. Your hair is thick and lush. And then the baby comes.
Your hair falls out and your skin becomes dehydrated from breastfeeding. You get spots and skin pigmentation from the raging post natal hormones.
It can be hard to feel good about yourself, especially when you constantly smell like sour milk and have no time to shower or even brush your hair. It can feel like you have no idea what you’re doing and your body isn’t your own.
You may be trying to work out who you are now (especially if you’re on maternity leave). If you’ve left a corporate job, you may feel like your whole identity has changed.
But while you’re spending this time looking after and getting to know your new bundle of joy, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Below are some tips for safe and natural post pregnancy skincare.
After pregnancy, your skin will continue to change. Some new mums may have hormonal acne even if your skin was clear throughout pregnancy. Others may suddenly get really dry and flaky skin. Fluctuating hormones can also leave you with dark circles, puffy eyes, and prolonged skin discolouration.
While melasma or the “mask of pregnancy” usually fades away on its own, some mums will continue to have it for years. These dark patches of skin can stick around for a while and resist treatment.
If you’re dealing with melasma, an organic pigmentation serum can help even out and brighten your skin tone. This one from Eco. improves pigmentation and restores skin’s radiance with certified organic jojoba oil and sunflower oil.
To hide skin imperfections, use the Lavera cover stick, which provides medium to full coverage. This handy concealer is great for busy new mums. It comes in a lipstick style tube that lets you swipe the product on with one hand. It’s also free from ingredients like parabens, petrochemicals, heavy metals, and synthetic fragrances.
While you wait for melasma to disappear, protect your skin by putting on a natural sunscreen every day. Choose one that doesn’t have any nasty stuff like chemical absorbers and nano particles.
With a newborn, you may be too tired and sleep deprived for your normal cleansing and moisturising routine. This can lead to your skin becoming dull and grey with rough and flaky patches.
So what’s a mama to do? First, you need to sort out a post pregnancy skincare regimen that works with your skin’s new needs and your busy schedule. It may be difficult to find the time or the energy to do this, but there are some multi tasking natural skincare products out there that will save you time.
Weleda has a wonderful one-step cleanser and toner that gets rid of impurities without drying your skin. It’s also ideal for removing makeup. The Andalou Naturals creamy cleanser deep cleans while also toning and moisturising skin with Manuka honey and sunflower oil.
Next, you can nip dry skin in the bud with a face cream that contains hyaluronic acid. This potent natural skincare ingredient has a unique ability to lock in moisture. It’s a main ingredient in this Andalou Naturals lift and firm cream, which also helps fade hyperpigmentation.
Aside from stocking up on natural skincare products that will nourish your skin, you can solve dryness by drinking lots of water. If you use a large water bottle, it will be easier to stay hydrated without trying to keep track of how many glasses you’ve had. Buy a large water bottle and keep it next to where you breastfeed. Drink two large bottles of water a day.
New mums tend to have hormonal acne either during pregnancy or after. The best way to deal with this is through proper cleansing. Choose a cleansing cream or gel that won’t strip your skin of its natural acid mantle.
You can get by with just a few makeup basics if you choose ones that multitask.
First, you’ll need a good natural facial oil. If your skin isn’t well moisturised, no amount of makeup will help you fake that fresh, well rested look. Apply the oil at bedtime to let your skin really soak it up. This almond facial oil from Weleda does triple duty as facial cleanser, moisturiser, and eye makeup remover.
If you breastfeed, you can end up dehydrated. One of the first places to show signs of dehydration is your lips, so grab a moisturising lip balm.
BB cream and CC cream are time saving products that moisturise while also providing coverage and offering some sun protection. Try this award winning natural BB cream or this rose oil-infused CC cream.
Put your favourite blush and lipstick aside for now and get a tube of lip and cheek tint. This multitasking makeup will give your face a bit of colour and stop you looking dead (even if you feel it).
There will be days when there’s just no time to wash your hair. Dry shampoo will keep your locks from looking oily and help create the illusion of volume when your hair is falling out post pregnancy.
Pregnancy will leave you with numerous battle scars, including stretch marks, swollen legs, varicose veins, and other skin problems. Here are tips for dealing with some of these using safe post natal skincare products.
Though stretch marks are truly badges of courage and you can certainly leave them as is, you may also want to improve their appearance. Organic camellia oil can help minimise and lightens stretch mark, as does argan oil.
Raw shea butter stimulates collagen production and restores skin’s elasticity. It also helps treat nappy rash, so you can share this with your baby!
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can leave your skin dry and flaky after baby comes. For flakiness and dry patches, use a hydrating body lotion like the one from Acure to lock in moisture.
Puffiness and swelling
Add an organic massage oil to your post pregnancy skincare arsenal. A relaxing massage will help with the puffy feet and swollen legs brought about by fluid retention during pregnancy.
As we mentioned in our pregnancy skincare guide, pregnancy is a good time to consider replacing your regular personal care products with nontoxic variants. This is also true for post pregnancy skincare items. Deodorants, self tanners, nail polishes, nail polish removers, and other things like hair removal creams may contain harmful ingredients. If you’re breastfeeding, these toxins can end up in your baby’s tummy.
Always use a natural broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 before heading out.
Lastly, not all natural skincare products are good for nursing mums. Scan ingredient lists for certain essential oils that are not safe to use if you are breastfeeding. These include frankincense, geranium, vetiver, hyssop, aniseed, mugwort, tansy, and wormwood.
All the extra hair you got during pregnancy will soon start falling out. Dry shampoo will bulk it up. You can also try brushing your hair upside down to give it more volume. In the meantime, use a volumising shampoo and a thickening spray until your hair starts to grow back.
You can also try a collagen supplement, like the ones from Vida Glow. Safe to use while breastfeeding, you just add a spoon to water, smoothies, yoghurt or porridge. Collagen has been shown to help with postpartum hair loss, strengthening nails and calming hormonal skin. I wrote an article about taking collagen supplements, if you want more information.
As your hair returns to its normal state, you’ll notice fluffy bits around your hairline where baby hairs are growing. Either incorporate these into your fringe or use an Alice band to hold them back.
It can be tough when you’re got a newborn, we know that! And while looking your best probably isn’t a priority in the first few days, we hope these post pregnancy skincare tips help to make you look and feel more like yourself.
Have you got any post natal skincare tips to share? Let us know in the comments!