You’ve had your baby.
You’re over the moon.
But some challenges lie ahead.
Routine needs to be simple, effective and QUICK! Your sleep pattern is going to be seriously out of whack. You might also be desperate to get breakouts under control and be noticing the effects of having to stop oral treatments or even just your topical retinoids during your pregnancy.
So here’s my step-by-step guide to managing this tiring time - and I promise I’ll keep it short!
1) Switch to a non-foaming cleanser
This is much kinder to skin which is undergoing the influences of major hormonal changes, reducing the negative impact of cleansing on barrier function. I like Flawless Cleanser and Cerave Hydrating Cleanser.
2) Add in an acid
Azelaic acid is safe to use whilst breast-feeding and gentler than physical exfoliants, which can cause redness and irritation in post-pregnancy skin in flux. It’s also great for melasma if you’re one of the 40% who suffer from this in pregnancy. Or try an alpha hydroxy acid for a bit of easy-going radiance, which is again safe in lactation.
3) Vitamin C is an easy (quick) brightener for the morning
This is one of the most glow-getting ingredients and works very well if you’re also tackling pigmentation. Try l-ascorbic acid at 10-20%; or if you’re skin is sensitive, consider a vitamin C ester like ascorbyl glucoside. As I *know* you’ll be short on time, consider Flawless Brightly Serum as it’s time-saving 4-actives-in-one formula make it hard-working and just one layer.
4) Hydrate to compensate.
Loss of sleep often leads to increased skin dryness and tightness so change up your moisturiser to compensate for this – exchange your lotion for a more nourishing cream and seek out products rich in ingredients like shea butter and squalane, which help reduce moisture loss from the surface of the skin.
5) Don’t skimp on sunscreen just because skin is misbehaving
As I’ve said, pregnancy can trigger melasma, so seek out a mineral filter-based sunscreen (look for zinc oxide at a minimum of 5%) to help reduce the provocation of pigment-inducing UVA rays which are present all year-round and can pass through glass. Continue right through the post-partum period and beyond.
6) It’s FINE to use a retinoid
This is the commonest question we get around Flawless Nightly Serum and indeed it’s a common worry with retinoids as a whole. Don’t fret, they’re fine. Just avoid breastfeeding immediately after application to avoid cream transferring onto your infant’s skin and irritating it.
7) Benzoyl Peroxide is fine for breakouts
It’s one of the most effective spot treatments around but it can be irritating. If your skin doesn’t like BPO, then try salicylic acid as an alternative. Both are great for inflamed spots.
Worth a mention: you’ll be washing your hands a lot.
Loads of women report dry hands in the post-partum period through excess washing. How can you troubleshoot this problem?
Try washing with a moisturising formulation that won’t dry hands, like Dermol 500. Remember water doesn’t need to be hot to clean skin and this dries skin out unnecessarily. Slather on a barrier-boosting hand cream with oomph after every wash – I love La Roche Posay Cicaplast Mains. Of course, wear protective gloves where at all possible to avoid the problem in the first instance.
So the take home message is there are lots of effective ingredients that are safe to use when you’re nursing. Optimise your time with multitasking products that give you maximum bang for your buck without the faff of lots of layering.