So you’ve spent your last nine months waddling around like a penguin and eating like a whale with reckless abandon, just to make it for the grand finale – the birth of your bundle of joy.
When all of the joy of the birth of a healthy, chubby baby has settled, reality will start to kick in – will you ever regain the svelte glory of your pre-pregnant days?
Weight gain is inevitable during pregnancy, but it’s a host of other problems that might plague you for a long time, post-pregnancy that you really need to be aware of and educated about.
The Torment of Pigments
Pregnancy causes increased blood volume and the skin swells causing the famous ‘pregnancy glow’ — some notice a little healthy ‘flush’ as well. Enjoy the look while it lasts. In the second and third trimester, pigmentation may start to surface.
About 70 percent of women experience melasma, a patchy darkening of the face that happens during pregnancy. Oestrogen stimulates an increase in pigment production leading to darker freckles, worsening brown patches on the face, and even darker moles. This is also why you might notice darkening around your nipples or a dark stripe on your abdomen called linea nigra.
For starters, protect your skin with a good SPF that is at least 30 and broad-spectrum. Topical vitamin C might also subtly brighten you up. If you are no longer breastfeeding, look for stronger topicals containing mequinol and retinoids which can help to lighten pigmentation. Laser treatments like the Pico Pigment laser can also help break up excess pigmentation and restore your complexion.
Read more: 10 cardinal rules of layering your skincare
Stretch Marks (Of Course)
Stretch marks are really, really common — about 75 percent of pregnant women experience them.
There’s clearly a genetic component, and younger women are more vulnerable, with the occurrence enhanced with rapid weight loss or gain. Since stretch marks have to do with stretching skin, they’re more common on the stomach. They usually start red and inflamed and progress to white, thin line marks that look and behave like a stretched scar.
Topical vitamin E may help fade them a little but usually the improvement is very insignificant according to new mothers; glycolic acid is slightly better though don’t expect mind-blowing improvements.
Topicals can only do so much as stretch marks are due to tears in the dermis, allowing deeper layers of skin to show through. explain. A more targeted solution according to doctors is the use of lasers to repair the damage.
When your stretch marks are still red, a pulsed dye laser by Vbeam may help. This is also the time when you can still expect good improvements and recovery of your skin.
After some time, stretch marks look like silvery white streaks. At this stage, it is more difficult to treat, though not impossible. A Fraxel Dual laser may help to renew and resurface the damaged skin. While you cannot completely erase these marks, you can certainly improve their appearance.
Skin Tags Galore
Notice little projections of skin start to crop up under your breasts, on your neck, under your arms, or in your groin area?
You’ve likely found a skin tag. They form when you have areas of skin rubbing up against each other (something that’s naturally going to happen more when you gain weight).
Hormones likely play a role in their growth, too, seeing as how sometimes they pop up in areas that don’t rub. Some ladies are just genetically inclined toward the pesky tags. While they are usually harmless, they can be quite an eyesore and make you feel like a freak of nature.
A crop of skin tags aren’t going to add to your overall allure. Creams aren’t going to help as well. Tempting as it may be to snip those off y yourself, doctors warn against self-manipulation of skin tags.
Electrocautery is a safe and effective procedure that uses a current to remove excess skin tags. It’s quick and fairly comfortable, and a batch of skin tags can be treated in one session fairly easily.