Pregnancy is one of those times in your life when anything goes, particularly when it comes to your skin and hair and every single person is different. Your body is going through so many changes and your hormones are all over the place so we have to cut ourselves some slack when it comes to pre and post-pregnancy skin and hair which can often be a bit of a nightmare.
If your one of the lucky ones who look radiant and glowing then congrats and enjoy every second of the magic! If you’re not one of the glowing few like me, then there are a few things we can do to try and fight the dreaded hormonal skin and hair changes we have to deal with. The postpartum period is rough for a million and one reason so remember you’re not alone and sometimes helping to clear up a few issues with your skin and hair during this time can make you feel a million dollars and really brighten up a tough period of adjustment for you and your body.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are a great time to begin thinking about what we put on our bodies as skin and hair care, to ensure we are using the safest products. This doesn't mean you need to immediately throw away every product you have been using with a chemical in it (repeat after me: Everything is a chemical, even water), however we need to be more aware and conscious.
Here are a few quick tips to help with some of the dreaded issues we can face pre and postpartum.
Hormonal Acne, oily skin and congested skin:
Hormonal acne, over active oil production and blackheads are almost unavoidable pre and post-pregnancy, due to the huge surge of hormones, progesterone and estrogen, these fluctuations lead to increased sebum production and clogged pores. There are a few things we can do to help reduce the effects of hormonal acne along the journey.
- Gut Health: Firstly, we need to look at the gut, as a majority of what we see on our skin comes from issues with our gut. Healthy gut = healthy skin and happy hormones. Begin by adding in a good quality probiotic supplement into your diet, throughout pregnancy you are a lot more sensitive to food poisoning and making sure you have enough good bacteria is crucial to feeling well and having a good hormonal balance. Don't forget to increase your intake of leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and kale which are super hormone nourishing and will help to level out blood sugar on those sugar cravings you get while breastfeeding (and in the last trimester - or was that just me?). We love the Inner Health Plus Probiotic capsules.
- Skin Needling: You will hear me praising skin needling for completely overhauling my skin in most of these blogs, but it honestly has treated so many of my skin conditions that I can’t seem to stop shouting about it. Skin Needling is a completely natural and safe procedure to do while pregnant and breastfeeding, it uses an electronic pen to glide microneedles over your skin creating micro punctures that trigger a “wound-healing” response in the skin. This increases collagen and elastin, clears congestion and reduces pigmentation. I had skin needling treatments every 6 weeks while I was pregnant and I couldn't believe how different my skin was compared to my first pregnancy. I started to see that elusive glow and my hormonal acne was barely noticeable. If you're worried about the fact needling into your face sounds painful don’t be, it's truly not uncomfortable and has little down time.
- Supplements: Continuing to take your prenatal vitamin postpartum is a great way to ensure you are keeping your body nourished as we can become very depleted of all the vitamins and minerals we desperately need after giving birth. However, if you don't want to continue this multivitamin then it's worthwhile speaking to your doctor or going to see a naturopath to decide which supplements will be beneficial to begin taking after some simple blood tests to see if you are deficient in anything. For example, a good quality Zinc and Magnesium supplement can do wonders to your mood, skin and overall health postpartum. Introduce a clean and pure Collagen Supplement into your daily diet, such as the Pearl Marine Collagen Super powder Collagen is essential for healthy hair, skin and nails and this dissolvable power can be added to any drink, soup or sauce for a nutritional boost.
- Dry Skin Body Brush: After giving birth our body can take time to adjust which can cause build-ups of toxins in the body. Dry Skin brushing is a fantastic way to ensure the lymphatic system is flowing well to rid your body of toxic build-up, it also helps remove dry skin and improve circulation.
- Skincare: A strong arsenal of skincare products can do wonders for your skin and ensure you are helping to prevent and treat any congestion. Ensure you are double cleansing with the Vela Days Lipid Complex nightly to remove all dirt and impurities and finishing with our Vela Days Oil Infusion to protect and hydrate your skin.
Pigmentation, dull and dry skin:
Pigmentation is another hormonal treat we can begin to see during and after pregnancy. Pigmentation will naturally occur on most women during pregnancy on their entire body, however, it can significantly affect the face and other sun-exposed areas drastically if not controlled. Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do to avoid hyperpigmentation during and after pregnancy however, there are some measures we can take to help reduce the effects.
- Sunscreen: This is the biggest one for face care when it comes to pigmentation, sun exposure will make pigmentation worst, so ensure you are applying a 50+ SPF every day and get used to wearing a good hat outdoors. We love the Ultra violette Supreme Screen 50+ Sunscreen.
- Skin Needling. Apart from the above-mentioned benefits Skin's needling is fantastic for treating pigmentation and dull skin tones. You can continually treat this during and post-pregnancy.
- Exfoliant: A good quality chemical exfoliant can do wonders at brightening the skin. Try using Paulas Choice Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA which contains a blend of AHAs and BHA’s to brighten skin.
- Treatment: The Vela Days Active Compound has been specifically formulated with a brightening cocktail of Actives to target pigmentation.
Postpartum Hair Loss
Hair loss is often one of the hardest postpartum skin symptoms for women to deal with. It can often feel like you might not have any hair left soon after you are constantly pulling out large clumps with every wash.
Since your hair has been in a state of rest for the last 9 months, once the baby is born it begins to shed all the hair which hasn't broken or fallen out during pregnancy, which leads to extremely frizzy, thin and damaged hair. There are a few things we can do to help minimise hair loss and damage along the way.
- Hair products: The Kevin Murphy Plumping Shampoo and Conditioner are one of my favourite product ranges to help reduce postpartum hair loss. Try using the shampoo and conditioner to lengthen and strengthen weak thinning hair.
- Collagen Supplement: Introduce a clean and pure form of collagen into your daily diet. Collagen is essential for healthy hair, skin and nails.
- Scrunchies: Throw out all your horrible tight hair elastic bands immediately. The rise of the scrunchie is back and better than ever. Get yourself the softest loveliest scrunchie you can find and wear that scrunchie with pride knowing you are protecting your hair from further breakage.
Unfortunately, we are genetically predisposed to stretch marks so if your one of the unlucky ones who does get stretch marks then there isn't much that can be done to stop them.
There are a few treatments that we can do to help reduce the stretch marks once they appear and soften the scars.
- Skin Needling/laser: A GP or dermatologist can often help recommend the best course of treatment however laser and skin needling can be very effective and breastfeeding safe to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
- Skincare: A strict regime of intense moisturising during pregnancy can help to reduce the severity of stretch marks post-pregnancy. Try Combining a body oil, such as Tata Harper Revitalising Body Oil and a body moisturiser such as Weleda Skin Food. Be consistent at applying these products every night and you will reap the rewards post-pregnancy.
Whatever the skin and hair symptoms you have pre-or-post-pregnancy remember they too shall pass. It’s sometimes hard to see while you're sitting there a sweaty mess, covered in acne with your hair falling out, but enjoy those tiny newborn cuddles while they last - it's all worth it in the end!
*Note: Skin needling is a professional service offered by a Dermal Therapist, not to be confused with derma rolling, which is an at-home procedure where you run a roller over your face which is covered with microneedles. These can often cause more damage to your skin as the needles don't go deeply into the skin layers so they can often cause tearing and when not cleaned properly introduce bacteria into your skin, so best to avoid.