Whether your little one is one month, four months, ten months or even three years…
As you well know, there is A LOT going on after giving birth. Between changes in your body, lack of sleep, and adjusting to your new life, the last thing you have time to worry about is your skincare routine… and added stress is not good for your skin! So I am here to offer some suggestions on how to care for yourself and your skin without the stress.
Like your body, your skin is in transition. It’s normal to have increased reactivity and sensitivity while your hormones are adjusting. It’s also normal to develop acne, dry skin, and hyperpigmentation (dark spots). These concerns usually work themselves out in about 12 weeks. Like everything else postpartum, this is temporary.
To support your skin through this transitional phase, and incorporate simple moments for yourself, here are some of my recommendations for stress-free skin care postpartum.
Keep it simple
What does simple look like? Wash, Tone, Moisturize – that’s it. You don’t need a complicated routine for healthy skin. Especially when your skin is changing. That dry spot you’re concerned about today might not be a problem in a few short weeks. Right now, you don’t need fancy serums, eye creams, or exfoliants, unless you have time and like using them! Try a simple routine twice a day. If that feels like too much, once a day works too.
- Wash: The key to choosing products is to make sure they don’t strip or irritate your skin. A cream cleanser or something gentle that doesn’t create a lot of bubbles is perfect for this. Heavy surfactants can cause dehydration, which contributes to a number of other concerns. I like keeping a bottle of cleanser in the shower and another at the bathroom sink. There’s nothing worse than having to remember to schlep your cleanser back and forth when you’re running on no sleep.
- Tone: After cleansing, toning can help hydrate and maintain proper pH which is a major factor in healthy skin. Toner isn’t the second step in cleansing, but the first step in hydration. There are many different names for toners; mist, essence, facial spray, etc. The important thing is to choose a toner that doesn’t make your skin feel tight after using it. Spraying toner directly on your skin will ensure full absorption, and you have to go digging for a cotton ball! We don’t have time for that right now!
- Moisturize: Finding a good moisturizer feels like a big decision with all the product marketing and ingredient information constantly being thrown at us. Again, keep it simple. Choose a moisturizer that fully absorbs and doesn’t feel too heavy. Something that works for both day and night saves you the hassle of choosing two different products. I recommend applying moisturizer when your skin is still slightly dewy from the toner. This helps pull the moisturizer deeper into your skin.
If you’re confused about which products to use, opt for sensitive skin choices. You may be dealing with multiple concerns at the same time and gentle products will help guide you as your skin acclimates. Once your skin stabilizes, you can start treating concerns with a more targeted approach.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Hormonal changes throw your skin, and your mood, out of balance. Most of the time when skin is out of balance it gets dehydrated. Ever felt tight, dry, and oily at the same time? Your skin has a barrier, like armor, protecting it from environmental irritants. Dehydrated skin is caused by disruption in barrier function. Then that dehydration causes more disruption in the barrier creating an armor destructing cycle we don’t have time for right now. This vicious cycle contributes to all sorts of skin concerns like breakouts and reactive rashes. It can even make fine lines and blackheads look worse.
To combat dehydration you need a mix of water and oil. I’ll spare you the science behind this, but it has to do with molecular size and rate of absorption. Water and water-like molecules found in toners (your first step in hydration) go deep into the skin and need to be applied first.
Next is moisturizer with bigger molecules that sit closer to the surface of the skin. Most moisturizers have a small percentage of non-comedogenic oil that helps create an occlusive barrier to prevent water loss. The goal is to layer your products, so that the smallest, fastest absorbing molecules go on first, followed by the bigger molecules stacked on top.
With that in mind, face oils are an amazing way to lock in hydration and address skin concerns. If your skin is extremely dehydrated, you may want to consider adding one to your routine. Like moisturizers there are TONS of different kinds of facial oils. I usually recommend hemp oil to my new mom clients. Hemp oil is totally safe for pregnant and breastfeeding moms and does not contain CBD or other cannabinoids. It rebalances and feeds your skin’s natural microbiome. It also does wonders for treating and preventing breakouts, decreasing dehydration, and calming sensitivity – the perfect antidote for hormonally stressed skin.
One of the best ways to stay hydrated is to continue hydrating throughout the day. I recommend keeping a toner in the bathroom for easy access. Every time you’re in the bathroom, give your skin a mist. It also feels so good and so refreshing. A perfect way to incorporate a #mamamoment for yourself throughout the day.
Target Skin Priority Spots on Your Body
Our skin has the amazing capacity to stretch and create space for a baby. It has the ability to heal wounds and keep out infection…and it’s really easy to neglect and take for granted. I totally get it, but during this time the skin on the rest of your body needs a little TLC too. Especially the skin on your belly and boobs. If lubbing up your entire body feels like a chore, then stick to the essentials.
My number one piece of advice for stretch marks is to address them as part of your facial routine. When you tone and moisturize your face, do the same on your stretch marks, and use the same products. Not only does this make it an easy extension of your facial skin care routine, it also means that you’re using higher quality products on these priority areas. If you used belly oil during your pregnancy, continue doing it! Don’t have belly oil? Facial oils work great on the rest of your body!
If you’re still feeling stressed about your skin, see a professional. Most skin therapists do virtual consultations if in-person isn’t an option. Sometimes a simple product swap or adding a step to your routine will do the trick. When you feel ready, an in-personal treatment or facial can get you over the hump and back into your glow!