Unfortunately no matter how bad you want your skin to go back to normal after having a baby; many of the "changes" continue well into postpartum.
Dark spots, acne, melasma, dullness, dryness, & excess oiliness + whatever else is ailing your skin... can really just... persist.
One of the most massively popular websites that was recommended for me to join during pregnancy; had this to say on the topic:
"Don’t worry too much about your skin’s texture or appearance after childbirth. Your body has been through the mill, and the fact that you’re not sleeping very much doesn’t help at all. In many cases, your skin issues will resolve with the passage of time"
Ugh... ya thanks. The passage of time has never been good enough for me.
Our bodies, our hair, our sleep, and now our skin?
Not waiting this one out with the ole "I've been through a lot birthing a human, so I'll just let me skin slide..."
I'm looking for improvement folks! Better skin, smoother skin, more glowing/less sympathy.
Read on for my top picks to changing my skin to glowy, smooth, and clear postpartum:
Who would have thought that the thicker mane I inherited while pregnant would make its way to... my face.
Yup, it's true- excess hair facial hair did pop up and I did not welcome it with open arms.
The easiest way I found to get rid of the extra peach fuzz, and reveal smoother & softer skin instantly was through dermaplaning.
For me, dermaplaning is quick, painless, and inexpensive. My go to face razors are the tinkle face razors (under $4 on amazon).
Once I started 'face shaving' I found myself doing it about once a week in under a minute.
I've heard rumors about hairs growing back thicker but I haven't found that to be my experience.
Meanwhile my serums & skincare go on easy and should I wear tinted moisturizer or foundation; its so much smoother.
2. An oil mattifying clay or cold plunge mask
Postpartum is a weird time for skin oils. You may find your scalp & face extra oily.
As someone who has only had normal-dry skin my whole life this was a world I knew nothing about.
Fresh from a shower my hair would look oily on top. I was breaking out and just looking shiny all over.
There's a term I quickly became all too familiar with and that is "postpartum extra sebum." It was an unwanted part of my life that I needed handled.
First things first I picked the brain of my esthetician, Nita.
Postpartum can be hard with acne popping up; because if you are breastfeeding you may be limited on some of the topical acids that would normally be a go-to for a zit, (even pimple patches are a no because of the salicylic acid acid).
Nita recommended adding a good pore purifying clay mask while my sebum attempted to regulate postpartum.
There certainly are no shortage of clay masks out there, so take a few minutes and try one. You'll likely find it eliminates some extra oil to the point that when used a few times a week; can actually be manageable.
I have two favorites I like alternating between.
1. The Revision Pore Purifying Clay Mask: It left my skin still feeling smooth and is made to deeply clean your skin while getting rid of impurities and excess sebum.
2. Olhenrisken Cold Plunge Pore Mask : This mask goes on blue and its super cool (no seriously, its actually cooling). I love the cooling affect. It detoxes and is a clay mask that instantly helps reduce the look of pores and controls oil all day. I also feel like my skin texture looks smoother and more radiant.
Pores have always been the thing I've tried to downsize - even pre-pregnancy.
During postpartum; with all the extra sebum filling them in- really made them more noticeable to me.
Seeing your biggest insecurity getting amplified; can really get to you. The above two helped minimize that.
3. Melasma Fader AKA Hydroquinone Cream:
Megan, shares her melasma journey on her blog: https://whenpigsfly-blog.com/
Melasma affects a ton of moms. I've seen it minimal to a full on dark mustache under your nose; in pregnancy and postpartum.
I've also seen a ton of pricy products claim to help with discoloration and melasma -that fall really flat for me.
In fact, the only thing that worked for mine required a dermatologist visit, a good cry, and a prescription for Hydroquinone Cream.
As a new mom with literally no one guiding me in the things of postpartum beauty - I suffered uncomfortably with noticeable melasma for a year.
Hydroquinone Cream quickly lightened and blocked my discoloration. I used it twice daily for about 6+ months. Always use with sunscreen as it does make skin more sensitive in the sun.
*While hydroquinone cream should be avoided while pregnant; most doctors do ok it while breastfeeding- however discuss with your doctor and decide what is best for you.
4. Inhale Antioxidants:
Antioxidants are a must for your skin postpartum. They protect skin from oxidative stress, inflammation, and even help skin look younger by boosting collagen production.
Antioxidants are so great because they also calm irritation leading to brighter skin.
My doctor suggested not only the importance of a good vitamin c serum for topical use; but making sure I was consuming lots of healthy antioxidants as well.
He recommended adding wild blueberries to my smoothies and adding the Baby Blues Skin Glow Antioxidant Superfood supplements daily.
I try to get in the smoothies twice a week but I find the chewy supplements very easy to take. They have Acai Berry, Acerola Cherry, European Gooseberry, Pomegranate, Goji Berry, Banana, Apple, Beet Root, Peach, Papaya, Cranberry, and Mango...which is waaay more antioxidants than I could get in an average day.
It took about 30 days but I've seen such a good difference in the clarity of my skin. I have my mom and sister on the vitamins too with really good results as well.
5. Growth Factors
When not pregnant or postpartum I'm a big retinol girlie. I feel like it makes such a good difference when you are consistent. It's hard to beat something that spurs faster skin cell turnover and boosts collagen.
However, my skin postpartum -even after I stopped breastfeeding- was initially more sensitive.
While I had every intention of returning to retinol one day; my skin just wasn't ready yet.
So, I turned to something trending; but that I didn't know a ton about yet and that was growth factors.
What are Growth Factors?
Growth factors are a protein that naturally occurs in our body and communicates with cells to make sure they function normally.
As we get older and go through these big body changes (pregnancy etc)- they produce smaller quantities. This ends up in resulting in signs of aging, wrinkles, thinner skin. Growth factors also communicate with cells to create more collagen and elastin - which helps skin look bouncier, smoother, firmer- all the good stuff.
If you've read my blogs, you know that postpartum I even did a serious of morpheus 8 to help reduce sagging skin and give everything a tighter less lax appearance.
I was advised in between treatments to pile on the growth factor serum to help rejuvenate skin and continue the good results. (they also extend the benefits of cosmetic treatments so there is less need to do them as often).
Of course if you are not ready for microneedling and laser, but you still want to care for your skin postpartum and restore a more youthful complexion, growth factors are the perfect add on.
Since growth factors are something that naturally occurs in our body, they make for an especially gentle skincare ingredient. Most people do not have an adverse reaction to them.
Some of my favorites to compare:
- Skinceuticals TNS serum
- Dr. Jason Diamond Metacine insta facial Plasma
- Perricone MD growth factor serum
While postpartum can be a hard period to navigate and really feel good about your appearance, hopefully these 5 give you a little direction and hope!
Let me know what has been working well for you in the comments!