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Postpartum Skincare (while Breastfeeding): My Top 3 Recommendations

After making countless changes to my skincare, lifestyle and nutritional choices during pregnancy, there were a few things I was looking forward to. After careful monitoring of everything I put into my body, it was time for wine, hollandaise and custard squares (mmmmmmmm….), and getting back into F45 postpartum, to make up for the aforementioned!

Postpartum Skincare

Unfortunately, when it came to my postpartum skincare, it wasn’t as simple as returning to my pre-pregnancy indulgences. After having to quit some of my favourite skincare products cold-turkey during pregnancy (not to mention anti-wrinkle injections), it actually came as quite a surprise to realise that breastfeeding demands just as much consideration for choosing products.

Having set aside my overnight retinol repair for almost a year, I couldn’t wait to get back into it (accelerating skin renewal and reducing the appearance of skin ageing – yes please). However, no sooner had I picked it back up and mentioned it to my dermalogica guru Luci, did she remind me that actually retinol is a nursing no-go. I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. Having experienced some pregnancy pigmentation, as well as generally looking like I’d aged nine years in as many months, the least I could do with was some really good skincare. After a good chat to Luci, we settled on a postpartum skincare program that was friendly to both me and baby.

I’m not going to lie, I still miss retinol. Also known as Vitamin A, it’s the most sought after ingredient in the treatment of aging skin, it’s the holy grail of anti-ageing without injectables. However, Vitamin C comes close, and is one of the three key staples of my skincare regime:

Vitamin C & Biolumin C Serum

For treating dark spots and general skin-tone issues while pregnant or breastfeeding Vitamin C is an effective ingredient that can also take the place of retinoids, with properties that boost collagen production, also working as an antioxidant to help fight sun damage. Dermalogica’s answer to this skin saviour, and one of my fav Vit C products is biolumin C serum which exfoliates and reduces unbalanced pigmentation and can reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

 

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Sunscreen

It almost goes without saying, but there’s no skincare regime which is complete without sunscreen – every. single. day. It is especially important to use Vitamin C in conjunction with sunscreen, and applying topical vitamin C as well may help protect the skin from harmful rays too. Keeping out of direct sunlight as much as possible will help keep skin issues at bay while pregnant or breastfeeding, but there’s no substitute for good sunscreen to prevent hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and discolouration.

I use the trx ‘pure light’ broad spectrum spf 50 every morning with pure bright serum, and if I’m spending more than a couple of hours out and about, I like to top up with spf 50 solar defence booster. The trx range is one I’ve been using daily for a number of years, and is a particular favourite as I have been able to continue it throughout both pregnancy and breastfeeding. When there’s so much you have to change, having some continuity is great.

Phyto

Keeping my list of postpartum skincare favourites to a top 3 is hard, so this may be considered cheating, but the range of phyto products by dermalogica just keeps getting better. In October 2016 phyto replenish oil was launched and became a firm favourite, even more-so now, as it’s another product I’ve been able to continue using. In my first phyto replenish oil review of I wrote:

A millennial’s dream, taking a three-phase approach to heal, nourish and protect the skin, and being the easiest skincare oil to incorporate in your skincare regime, its blend of Camellia, Tamanu, Orchid Flower and Chia Seed oil work together to diminish the look of lines, hydrate, moisturise and protect against pollution (did you know skin is susceptible to pollution)?

The phyto range is now three products strong, and while the original oil is still my favourite, the newcoming phyto-nature firming serum is a brilliant arrival for those of us who are serious about anti-ageing skincare but want or need to avoid retinols – with the help of Hyaluronic Acid it is clinically proven to minimise fine lines and wrinkles.

 

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Beyond Products…

While I’m a total product-junkie, I also take care of my skin the old-fashioned ways too.

Hydration is key. Dehydrated skin causes premature ageing, as well as uneven, textured and acne prone skin. Of course, as well as this, your baby receives everything you put both into (and on to) your body, so staying hydrated is good for your baby and your milk supply too. Especially in the early days when I was feeding every three hours, I tried to drink a whole pump bottle with each feed.

Proper cleansing. It doesn’t matter how good your skincare if you don’t cleanse properly. Even if you’re using a good cleanser, if you’re only taking a few seconds to wash your face, you’re not giving your cleanser a chance to work properly, and your other skincare products won’t be able to penetrate your skin effectively. In the evenings, I always double-cleanse, and I use Skin Sonic at least once a day, which also helps to boost collagen production.

Rest! Tired mama = tired skin! Broken overnight sleep and exhausting days wreak havoc on all areas of your body.  Red eyes, dark circles under the eyes, and pale skin, are indicative of both sleep deprivation and looking fatigued.

Overnight, your body builds the collagen that’s so essential for anti-ageing.  Lack of sleep also prevents your skin’s ability to repair, such as from sun damage and pollution. If you’re break-out prone, sleep deprivation can also lead to outbreaks of acne and eczema, as sleep deprivation increases general inflammation of the body. It’s easier said than done, but taking as much time as possible to rest if not sleep, is your best defence against just about literally everything, including your skin.

It won’t matter how well you’re taking care of your skin if you’re not taking care of yourself. If you’ve taken the time to read this article, chances are you’re already prioritising a little rest time, so keep it up and your skin will thank you too.