postpartum skin stretch marks
profile picture of Dori Price
Dori Price

5 Ways to Baby Your Postpartum Skin

Tips and tricks to give yourself some (much-needed!) TLC.

When it comes to baby’s delicate skin, no scratch is too minor, no rash goes untreated, and no slight imperfection gets overlooked. But unfortunately your own skin doesn’t always get the same love, even though it deserves it—especially with all the body changes you experience after pregnancy. If you’re struggling with some common postpartum skin issues, read on for easy and quick solutions (we know, time is of the essence as a new mom!) to help you baby every part of your body.

Baby Your Eyes

What’s going on: Puffiness and dark under-eye circles

Along with the incredible joy of having a new baby comes an inevitable downside: sleep deprivation. Not getting enough shut-eye can quickly lead to puffiness and dark circles under the eyes.

Give them some love: For quick relief, place cold compresses, gel patches or cucumber slices under the eyes; the cool temperature will bring down puffiness and help reduce dark circles by constricting blood vessels. You can also look for eye creams with ingredients that are proven problem solvers, like vitamin C to brighten and hyaluronic acid to moisturize and plump the delicate skin around the eyes, says Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine.

Baby Your Belly

What’s going on: Stretch marks

Your skin expands rapidly during pregnancy, which can cause those telltale lines on your belly and sides. (Chalk it up to genetics: Some people are more prone to stretch marks than others.) And if you do get them, you’ll probably notice that the lines don’t go away after delivery as easily as they appeared.

Give it some love: While there’s no miracle cure that will make the marks on your belly completely disappear, you can help fade their appearance over time. Apply a stretch mark cream like Strivectin SD Advanced™ PLUS Intensive Moisturizing Concentrate in the morning and evening—it targets multiple types of skin collagen, improves elasticity, and simultaneously hydrates skin. Bonus: It can pull double duty to reduce fine lines and wrinkles!

Baby Your Face

What’s going on: Acne and melasma

After giving birth, your hormones tend to go haywire. Unfortunately, this fluctuation can lead to two less-than-pleasant consequences for your face: hormonal acne, which mainly shows up on your chin and outer cheeks, and melasma, discoloration that can appear as dark patches on the cheeks, nose, forehead and upper lip area.

Give it some love: How you beat breakouts depends on whether or not you’re breastfeeding. If you’re nursing, Gohara suggests using products with sulfur or glycolic acid to reduce blemishes. If you’re not breastfeeding, you can also use products with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or retinol. When it comes to melasma, look for skin-brightening products with powerful antioxidants like vitamin C, licorice root extract or kojic acid, Gohara says. But protecting your skin from the sun is key to preventing melasma from getting worse, so be sure to use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and iron oxides, and wear a hat for added protection.

Baby Your Breasts

What’s going on: Sore nipples

No one says breastfeeding a newborn is easy. You might experience some discomfort and even pain for many reasons, including clogged ducts, trouble latching or chafing, all of which can result in sore or even cracked nipples.

Give them some love: Alleviate soreness and help your nipples start to heal by applying a breastfeeding-safe cream like APNO (all-purpose nipple ointment) or lanolin after each feed. You could also try soothing with cool compresses or even rubbing some breast milk on them. (If the pain persists or gets worse, check in with a lactation consultant for nursing advice or your doctor to make sure you don’t have an infection.)

Baby Your Hands

What’s going on: Dry skin

If you weren’t a germaphobe before baby, you may become one now. Frequent handwashing and sanitizing (thanks to all those diaper changes) may cause your hands to get very dehydrated. Plus, those aforementioned postpartum hormonal changes can also lead to dry skin all over your body.

Give them some love: Take care of your hands by washing with a gentle, fragrance-free non-soap cleanser, followed by a hand cream with shea butter to seal in moisture. When it comes to the rest of your body, try taking shorter showers with warm (not hot) water, use a nourishing body wash and apply a rich moisturizing cream on your damp skin immediately after showering, Gohara says.

This article is sponsored by StriVectin. Looking to treat postpartum stretch marks? Check out the new and improved StriVectin SD Advanced™ Plus Intensive Moisturizing Concentrate.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Photo: iStock