It’s no secret - women’s bodies undergo change during pregnancy! However, an often overlooked, and sometimes even surprising, aspect of bodily change can occur after giving birth. As hormonal levels fluctuate, women can find themselves facing a plethora of physical and mental adjustments after their bundle of joy arrives. Most commonly, women tend to experience an onset of unfavorable skin conditions, including acne, eczema, and melasma. As annoying as these skin concerns can be, it is important to understand their root causes and stick to a routine to help resolve the condition! Let’s look at several common types of issues and identify ways to combat them, which will leave your skin glowing and beautiful!
Hormones, Hormones, Hormones
Those pickles and hot sauce cravings, rapid-fire emotions, and the dreaded morning sickness - these are all caused by changes in hormones. The production of hormones, such as Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), Progesterone, and Prolactin all help to read a woman’s body biologically for gestation and birth, as well as a steady production of estrogen. As these hormones begin production, they command a woman’s body to begin building and preparing for accommodating the baby, developing the placenta, and beefing up the immune system. However, after the child is delivered and the placenta is expelled, there is a significant drop in progesterone and HCG, causing an influx, or dominance, of estrogen. As this occurs, certain conditions can arise due to the hormonal imbalances, including mood changes, fatigue, and menstrual irregularities - as well as skin disorders. These changes are usually temporary, as the body readjusts to normal hormonal levels.
Not So Crystal Clear
Skin issues can range from a minor annoyance to a downright nuisance. As the body rebounds, the excess estrogen can promote the presence of melasma. Sometimes known as the “mask of pregnancy,” melasma appears in patches, which are observed as darker pigment on top of the regular pigmented skin. This condition is known as hyperpigmentation. As the slang name indicates, melasma generally is found on the face - especially on a woman’s cheeks. The condition generally dissipates after pregnancy and can be exacerbated by UV exposure, so it is very important to wear sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher! Fluctuating hormones can also be the culprit for postpartum acne, which can appear after giving birth. Very similar to normal acne, these blemishes appear as painful red bumps, often in clusters, which can arise on the face and neck. Other issues, such as eczema, dry skin, and facial spider veins, can all present themselves after pregnancy, so it is important to be proactive in keeping your skin healthy!
How to Care for Your Skin
Caring for our skin is much more than simply washing it. By sticking to a dedicated skincare routine, you can minimize the irritation caused by hormonal imbalance and keep your face looking radiant. Start by exfoliating in the morning; this process will remove the buildup of dead skin cells, oils, and other impurities that have accumulated. Gently massage the exfoliant onto your face, and rinse away with warm water. This will open your pores for a deeper cleanse. After, be sure to use a moisturizing lotion on your face to properly hydrate and heal the skin. At night, before going to bed, use a cleansing face wash to remove the dirt and gunk that accumulates throughout the day. As with the exfoliant, be sure to rub your face gently and rinse with warm water. There are also medicated topical creams that can be utilized to help clear your skin of the imperfections caused by postpartum skin conditions.
The baby has arrived and your hands (and hearts!) are full! It may be frustrating dealing with the physical changes that come after birth, but it is very important to realize why your body is going through them! Through a proper, dedicated skincare routine, you can stay on top of healthy skin and minimize the effects of postpartum acne, eczema, and melasma, and focus on being the glowing and radiant woman you’ve always been!