Step #1…be 23. Just kidding, kind of. Having youth on your side as a new mom will definitely benefit how your skin responds to all of the hormonal changes and sleepless nights but it doesn’t mean that the over 30 moms can’t regain their pregnancy glow as well. I was 36, almost 37, when I had Harvey and using the steps below I have been able to keep my skin looking and feeling much like it did before I was pregnant, even with his dislike for sleeping. More effort is likely going to be required to have the same skin as before. Skin naturally loses some of that “glow” with age and stress. Depletion of collagen starts at around the age of 25, though for most people fine lines and wrinkles don’t start to appear until they are in their 30’s. Dryness is another common problem postpartum, although some moms find that all of the hormonal changes leave them with more oily skin than before. Cell turnover, the making of new skin cells, also decreases over time. I am going to cover the 10 ways to overcome these obstacles and get that glow back.
- Hydration- This one is probably not earth shattering and you have heard hundreds of times that you need to drink more water, especially if you are breastfeeding. Aiming to drink between 2-3L of water (herbal teas count towards this count) per day will help skin to be more hydrated, plump and glowing. Many women don’t drink as much water as they should because they find it makes them have to pee non-stop. One of my favorite tricks for this is to add a pinch of salt to your water. This helps the water to be better absorbed by the body, and you do not just pee it all out.
- Moisturize- A lot of what I am going to cover are things that you can do internally to help with skin health, but what you put on your skin also matters. It is very important for overall health, especially if breastfeeding, to use non-toxic skincare products. Parabens and Phthalates can make their way to the breastmilk, and act as hormone disruptors in your body. Eco Chic Movement’s Dry Skin Moisturizer contains rosehip and avocado oil which help to stimulate collagen and promote skin elasticity. Our Oily Skin Moisturizer is hydrating without feeling heavy or leaving your skin with an oily feel. It is made with macadamia and grapeseed oil which contain powerful antioxidants for the skin
- Sun Protection- While some sun exposure is beneficial for vitamin D levels, I suggest always wearing sunscreen on your face. UV rays cause DNA damage in the skin which leads to the breakdown on collagen and premature aging of the skin as well as increases the risk for skin cancer. I recommend wearing a mineral based sunscreen on the face. My favorite sunscreens are reviewed here.
- Sugar- Reducing sugar intake is a key component of healthy skin. Sugar cross links collagen fibers and makes them incapable of easy repair. Glucose and fructose link the amino acids in collagen and elastin that are in the skin resulting in advanced glycation end products, which is essentially the breakdown of collagen. This process is accelerated by UV rays.
- Omega 3’s- From eating fish or taking fish oil supplements, help to protect against sun damage, strengthen cell membranes and preserve the skin’s barrier. Omega 3’s are strong anti-inflammatories and can also help to reduce postpartum acne. Here is a link to my favorite Omega 3 supplement.
- Healthy Fats- Omega 3’s fall into this category, but other healthy fats have different benefits as well. Avocados have been shown to help increase collagen production and are a good source of Vitamins A, C, E and K. Nuts, particularly walnuts, contain high amounts of Vitamin E which is helpful for skin elasticity. Healthy fats also help with the skin’s barrier and hydration levels
- Protein- Eating adequate amounts of protein helps in a few different ways. Protein is broken down in the body into amino acids. These amino acids are what is used as the building blocks for the skin to be able to synthesize collagen. Protein also helps to reduce the blood sugar spike that occurs when we eat too much sugar, helping to protect the skin from sugar’s effects.
- Vitamin C- Is needed, along with amino acids, for the synthesis of collagen. Foods that are a good source of vitamin C include: papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, kiwi, cantaloupe, and cauliflower.
- Antioxidants- Are helpful in many different ways. They can reduce the signs of aging, reduce the risk of sunburn, help the skin repair itself, and help even and brighten skin tone. Anthocyanin, found in blueberries, red grapes, pomegranate, raspberries and blackberries, helps to repair sun damage and increase circulation to the skin. Beta carotene, found in sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, dark leafy greens, red peppers, and squash, is converted to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is helps to increase the skin’s elasticity.
- Switch 1 Coffee/day for a Green Tea- Unless you are currently pregnant that is. Check out what teas are safe in pregnancy here. Green tea contains the strong antioxidant EGCG which helps to promote DNA repair from sun damage. Green tea acts as a strong anti-inflammatory, contains Vitamin B2 which is helpful for collagen production, and Vitamin E for skin hydration and new cell growth.
So there you have it! Has your skin changed since having your babies? Post in the comments below.
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