With two little ones at home, here’s one thing I know for sure: no two pregnancies or postpartum experiences are the same. Your body goes through a deluge of hormonal changes during and after pregnancy. Some hormones plummet, others skyrocket, and what results is a veritable whirlwind of emotional and physical journey. Every time I looked in the mirror I felt unrecognizable, which really knocked me out. I wanted to give my skin some encouragement to regain my pre-baby self-confidence. So I researched the best postpartum beauty products and all the advice and expertise I could find to restore your glow.
After having Liam, I was so busy and overwhelmed with the experiences of being a first-time mom that I didn’t even notice some of the changes taking place in my body. All I was focused on was getting to know this new little person and wondering if I was doing this whole motherhood thing right. When I had Norah, I was a little more comfortable and had a better handle on things. And while I certainly had my hands full, I felt more aware of the changes in my own body.
If you are reading this in a panic because you are going through the same sometimes stressful changes, don’t worry. This story has a happy ending. It took a few months, but with a bit of gentleness and a lot of patience, my glow came back! How did I get here exactly, you ask? I got you. I followed a few essential steps to get my glow back after giving birth. So without further ado, let’s go.
Featured image by Zachary Gray.
What are the common skin conditions that women can experience after giving birth?
Among the many changes I experienced was a complete change in the appearance of my skin after pregnancy. Throughout my first pregnancy, I had that signature glow (you know, the one everyone talks about). But after giving birth to Liam, I almost immediately had dull, dry skin that did nothing to help my nighttime feeding-induced dark circles under my eyes! My usual skincare routine wasn’t up to par with the woes I was going through and I just didn’t feel like myself. I tried to reach for foundation and concealer, but when I applied my products, they only clung to my thirsty, flaky skin. Not a cute look – and that only made me feel worse. It was crystal clear that instead of trying to cover up my skin issues, I needed to focus on giving my skin some more TLC.
What helped me was knowing that I was not alone in this particular struggle. Many women experience changes in the appearance of their skin after giving birth. The onset of acne can be common with hormonal changes and high stress mothers experience. Another common complaint is melasma. Those who suffer from melasma see patchy brown patches of hyperpigmentation on the skin developing as a result of a buildup of melanin. It is completely harmless but can sometimes remain even with an intervention.
The dullness and dryness I felt, on the other hand, is also common. Now I’m the type to fully embrace you just the way you are, love every inch of that mommy body (and don’t forget your face too!). But in a time when much of your devotion goes to your baby, it can be rewarding to do something for yourself. With the hormones raging, I wanted to find a bit of myself and feel good about myself. I turned to an expert for answers.
Why does skin feel dry after childbirth?
I spoke with Dr. Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce to get some insight into skin after pregnancy. She shared that while new mothers have spent the past nine months with that rosy pregnancy glow, it’s normal for them to now have skin that looks dull and dry after birth. “Thanks to hormonal changes, sleep deprivation and stress, our skin can take a bit of it. Luckily, many of these changes are temporary, as skin has an amazing quality of bounce back and can be repaired with a little bit of TLC,” Dr. Geddes-Bruce said when asked why our skin changes after having a baby.
“During pregnancy the body has higher blood volume and higher hormone levels. Soon after birth these levels drop and the effects on the skin can be a bit jarring. Add to that a few sleepless nights and a general self-neglect, and you have a recipe for skin that needs a little help turning itself over and retaining moisture.
What steps can new mothers take to regain their glow?
When it comes to the best postpartum beauty products, Dr. Geddes-Bruce recommends looking for “products containing niacinamide, zinc, azelaic acid, and hyaluronic acid during this time. They are all safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding and will keep your skin soft, hydrated and luminous.
A good facial
The first thing I did when I noticed my skin had lost its glow was to schedule an appointment with my beautician. When I finally got a chance to see her after my body had had some time to recuperate, she suggested a LaserAway Clear + Brilliant Skin Rejuvenating Facial. This laser facial permeates the skin microscopically and accelerates cell turnover, polishing dull skin and revealing a fresher glow. This facial kickstarted my postpartum skin journey, and while it definitely looked raw and red for a few days after, I saw a marked difference in texture after about a week.
Load on moisture
Part of the reason my skin was so dry was because I was so busy juggling my two babies that I would completely forget to moisturize. After some research and recommendations from my friends and beautician, I opted for Therapi Honey Skincare Ultra Radiance cream. This super thick cream is formulated with organic botanicals, so it’s perfect to incorporate into your skincare routine during pregnancy as well.
My esthetician also suggested Three Ships Dew Drops, a serum that contains vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. While hyaluronic acid works to fight dryness, vitamin C is clinically proven to brighten skin.
Together, this cream and serum duo brought life and bounce back to my devitalized and stressed skin. I kept these products on my nightstand so I didn’t even have to get out of bed to apply them during cuddly moments with Liam and Norah.
Boost that glow
While I was able to sneak in to get a laser facial once, I didn’t have time to get routine professional facials in the first year of Norah’s life. I knew that chemical peels could really help brighten my skin tone, so I was thrilled to find Goop’s Goop Glow. These overnight glycolic acid peels allowed me to benefit from a chemical peel safely at home once a week. It’s a product that I still use today because the results have been so dramatic. Within months, my glow was back in full force!
Be easy on yourself
Toddlers come first, but it’s important to remember that being a good parent also means taking care of yourself. Stress manifests itself in many ways, including on your skin and hair. However, I’m not going to sit here and tell you to sleep more because, let’s face it, you’re not going to get it. But it’s a good time to lean on your partner or loved ones to make time for you. Tyler goes out of his way to spend quality time with Liam and Norah so that I have the opportunity to take a relaxing Epsom salt bath to unwind. A little time to unplug goes a long way.
And There you go. If you’re struggling with stress and dull skin, I hope you’ve found some helpful tips and a reminder that you’re not alone. If you’ve been through the same, I’d love for you to share your holy grail products and routines that have helped you regain your glow.