Mom-to-be, close-up of belly

Pre and Post-Pregnancy Skin

Twenty seven years and almost two and a half months ago, I held my first bundle of joy, and my second one four years after my eldest came into this world. It feels like it all happened yesterday. How did time manage to condense so many moments of joy and pain, laughter and tears in a blink? But what a fabulous journey of blessings it has been for us!

My Pregnancy

I learned of my first pregnancy only a couple of months into our marriage. Caught totally by surprise, it was such a joyous moment for both of us and our respective families. Once the celebrations cooled down and the reality started to kick in. Early morning bouts of nausea, and body changes and skin changes surged. I was in anticipation of the adventure that we were going to sail through in the following few months after that. 

I say “we,” as pregnancy involves the couple, rather than just the mother-to-be.  As a young father-to-be, my husband was as involved as I was. Although he was not necessarily experiencing a hormonal change, or other pregnancy symptoms I was experiencing. He was equally partaking in the transition but in a different way. Admittedly, I am so grateful and blessed that this life-changing experience was made much easier for me. It is thanks to my hubby’s unconditional love and support during my pregnancy and after our babies were born. He was a great help throughout both my pregnancies and thereafter, in spite of the delicate state I was undergoing. He helped transform the challenges into a magical journey. We were also blessed with our two fuss-free boys, who –  once bathed, fed and warm – peacefully slept like angels through the night. 

What was happening to my skin during and after my pregnancy? 

I would like to share with you the common skin concerns that majority of ‘moms to be’ go through including myself. We would also love to discuss any personal skin concerns that you may be experiencing and we may have overlooked. It was a beautiful time for me and hope so it is for you all. 

Stretch Marks

It is important to prepare the skin before for it to expand without being laced with stretch marks. They may look ugly. However, they are beautiful reminder of the time you kept your bundle of joy safe within you. Start using Vitamin E cream to keep the growing tummy hydrated and it will handle the stress much better.

After as many years I may have a sagging tummy but no stretch marks.

Genetics play a vital role in determining who may be affected with stretch marks. The most effective treatment for minimizing the stretch marks post pregnancy is Laser Fractional Skin Resurfacing. Depending on the extent of damage three to six treatments are required.

Melasma

Melasma also known as the pregnancy mark is characterized by the darkening of the skin color due to the elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone. The rise in the levels of estrogen and progesterone triggers the melanocytes or the pigment producing cells to produce more melanin. The common areas affected by the shift in hormones are on the face for most women, around the eyes, forehead and cheeks. For few this pigmentation clears within the few months after the delivery. 

For myself I was lucky enough and the areas that were affected were my chest and back. I thank the almighty not only for my beautiful baby boys but also because the pigmentation cleared itself within the first month after the pregnancy.

Is there a way to avoid getting this pigmentation? 

Simple answer is No, as no aesthetician or dermatologist has control over the changes in hormones. Using good quality sunscreen, keeping the stress levels in check, and enjoying the pregnancy is important for the development of new life growing within you. Such issues can be dealt with after easily.

IPL Photo-facial treatments are very effective in dealing with post pregnancy hyper-pigmentation. Moreover, microdermabrasion and certain kinds of Chemical peels also help with post-pregnancy hyper-pigmentation.

Acne

Acne is a skin concern that almost all women deal with at one time or another. It has a strange way of making its presence felt. Due to the change in progesterone levels during pregnancy, strangely some women see improvement in acne during pregnancy while others see a flare up. 

Using gentle exfoliants at home and doing some safe professional treatments go a long way in keeping the acne under control. Microdermabrasion is one of the safest options along with pregnancy safe peels. Gentle home care with aloe vera, lavender or chamomile also keeps the skin calm and healthy.

There are many treatment options following the pregnancy although they cannot be started until after you finish nursing. If the acne is cystic and persistent kind then BLUU Levulan work wonders. It is an excellent treatment for post pregnancy pigmentation.  Deeper fruit acid peels can also be done.

Spider Veins/Cherry Hemangioma

Stress caused by weight gain causes blood capillaries to enlarge which shows on the skin in web like pattern or small dots. There are not topical treatments to address this skin condition other than IPL treatments after the pregnancy.

Nonspecific Dermatitis

Red patchy flakiness is observed by some young mom to be due to the change in the hormones. Natural calming products with licorice root extract, primrose, jojoba and shea butter help to relieve the flakiness. Once the hormones settle down the condition goes away for most women.

We understand that as you hug your precious bundle of joy skincare is the last thing you want to stress about. We also understand that it’s easier said than done that give yourself just five minutes each morning and about ten each night to follow a simple routine and you should be good. It really does not take too long to apply moisturizer and sun protection in the morning and a nourishing night time moisturizer with aloe vera based eye cream to soothe the puffy eyes due to exhaustion. This is where the new father can help the mom by letting her have a “me” time.

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