Life is crazy when you are adjusting to having a new little one in your life. This month, I want to talk about one part of your body that gets overlooked when you are up all night: your skin. Dull, tired skin is the root for many common skin ailments, including dark circles, fine lines, and more. Being a mother of three myself, my skin just isn’t always a priority! But one thing I have learned is that healthy skin cannot just be a desire. It has to be an investment in YOUR health and wellness. And trust me, after you have your baby your skin is prone to a whole new set of issues, just based on hormones alone! Let me explain: when pregnant, your level of the hormone estrogen is extremely high. This is why you have perfect hair and perfect skin. After you give birth, this level drops to the lowest of lows. This makes the skin prone to dryness, loss of elasticity, and overall ‘tiredness’. In addition, these high levels of estrogen and another hormone called progesterone cause your liver and kidneys to retain high levels of water and salt. This, of course, is the infamous water weight we love to blame when our midwife or OBGYN asks us to hop on the scale at 38 weeks (can’t they just estimate??). Postpartum, the water weight and salt make their grand exit. I know, it’s a relief! Unfortunately, it can make your skin appear less ‘full’ looking. The good news? In a couple months your hormones will return to normal and so will your skin. But in the meantime, here are some easy ways to help bring some energy back into your skin:
- DRINK WATER!! Read that one more time. Staying hydrated is probably the single most important thing that your skin needs from you right now. I know, your doctor is probably already telling you to do this to increase your energy and milk supply if you are breastfeeding your little one. But, the water will help increase cell reproduction, which will improve the overall appearance of the skin. New skin cells=Beautiful Skin.
- Ice/cold water Splash this on your face in the morning after a long night up with baby. It will stimulate blood circulation, which temporarily will invigorate your face. So, when your mom/mother in law/great aunt Betsey calls and tells you she’s five minutes away with your favorite green bean casserole, you don’t need to rush around in a frazzled attempt to put face on (though combing your hair wouldn’t hurt).
- Exfoliate Between those lovely (absent) hormones and 24/7 new baby care, your skin would be dry even if we didn’t live in Colorado (aka the land of flaky skin). A good exfoliator will stimulate blood circulation in your skin as well as remove dead skin cells that are doing you no favors. Being a local products kind of gal, I love the BioElements Measured Micro grains. When the body is trying to even itself out, the last thing it needs is an overly-active exfoliator with enzymes that cause irritation. This one uses a moisturizing clay base with extremely fine micro granules that gently remove excess dirt and dead cells.
- Moisturize your skin immediately after you bathe/shower I know, I know. Showers are few and far between these days, aren’t they? I’m not going to tell you to make extra time for the impossible. However, moisturizing your skin after a warm shower when the pores are open leads to better absorption. Try coconut oil at least once: it’s one of the best skin moisturizers out there, and it’s all natural.
- Keep the humidifier on What’s good for baby is good for you too, as it turns out. Make sure you keep your house nice and humid so your skin does not become any more stripped of moisture than it has to be.
- Use a hydrating mask My oldest daughter recently gave birth to my first grandchild last fall. She came to me about three and a half weeks postpartum and begged me to do something about her dry skin. It was flaky and just slightly irritated by the lack of moisture. I used the Sanitas Vita-Rich Mask. It contains vitamins A through K to help nourish and strengthen the skin. The aloe and sodium hyalaurenate soften the skin. It is gentle enough to even be used twice weekly (most masks you will find only recommend weekly use), which is great for new mommies with a similar problem to my daughter that could use it regularly.
- Use a night cream Night creams are great because they replenish what the skin is lacking while you sleep. Think of it as cementing your status as Supermom (now if only you could figure out how to make all this laundry do itself!). My favorite is BioElements Sleepwear. It has several key ingredients including time released retinol, topical calcium, protein pep-tides, cranberry seed oil, safflower oil, and bergamot oil. Together, the ingredients promote connective tissue, increase elasticity, and ease irritation. Aka the perfect postpartum cocktail (for the skin, that is!)
- And finally….sleep when your baby sleeps I know, you’ve heard this one before too. But did you know that the amount of sleep you get has a profound effect on your skin as well? Lack of sleep makes it harder for the skin to stay hydrated and increases stress hormones (can you say breakout central?). So, please, do yourself a favor and get some zzz’s. Its better for your skin, your body, your sanity, the list goes on…
Being a new mother was always the best time (make that plural, I went back for seconds and thirds) of my life. I encourage you to enjoy as much time with baby as you can. One minute they are learning to say ‘mama’ and then you blink…and you have a high school graduate! Trust me, I’ve been there. Congratulations, good luck, and here is to a harmonious partnership to achieve the Good Life (and gorgeous skin!)