A Mom's Guide to Skincare and Treatments During and After Pregnancy
An aesthetician and mom shares her personal tips for new and soon-to-be moms
When I found out I was pregnant, I was in the middle of the Caribbean sipping on tropical drinks, with my only schedule being the SPF reapplication timer beeping every two hours. But, when my test came back positive, I was a mix of excitement, fear, and uncertainty. Not only did I have to stop my beachside drinks, I had to stop my favorite skincare products! My staple retinol and eye lifter had to be put on pause. The aesthetician in me flashed back to all my pregnant and nursing patients -- what skincare should you use during pregnancy? And, what about postpartum?
Below is a guide I’ve put together after working with countless pregnant/nursing moms and some that just wanted to feel like they did before pregnancy. These were my personal essentials and most frequent treatments, and what I would recommend to any new or soon to be mommas.
During pregnancy: My go-to skincare and treatments at home and in-office [And what to avoid!]*
- Cleanse your skin right after work: You don’t need to wait for bed time to cleanse your face. After dinner, tell your S.O. to go tidy up or tend to the kids while you take 5 for some self care. Tip for single mommas-- wear a Baby Bjorn and use a microfiber cloth to cleanse your skin. Below is how I cleanse with my baby Henry:
- Invest in medical grade skincare productsAs a new mom, I’m aware that budgeting is a big concern, and skincare may be part of your expense cuts. But, there are some essentials you shouldn’t skip that you can use during and postpartum. Applying a Vitamin C serum in the AM and PM, for example, is a great way to boost skin renewal. Try to avoid impulse purchasing of poor quality, non-medical grade products on Amazon while you’re browsing for your baby registry.
The Aforé C-Serum ($125) is ideal for everyday use, and won't oxidize after opening.
- Exfoliate - Exfoliating is a great way to remove dull, dead skin from the body and face. Plus, exfoliating can also help relieve dryness and itchy skin during pregnancy. I recommend exfoliating your face once per week, and your body 2-3x per week.
- Apply Vitamin E oil:This specific oil is packed with antioxidants that can help soothe and moisturize itchy, dry, and stretching skin. To relieve some of that itchy feeling, I recommend reapplying throughout the day.
- Dermaplaning for exfoliation:This is one of my favorite treatments to do on expectant mothers. It leaves the skin exfoliated and refreshed, and lets products penetrate deeper into the skin.
Dermaplaning uses a surgical scalpel to gently remove dead skin and peach
fuzz to leave your skin feeling baby soft without the use of chemical exfoliators
- Avoid certain ingredients: Salicylic acid, retinols, and glycolic acids area a no go during pregnancy. Hydrating, Collagen, and lactic acid ingredients are in the clear to assist with rejuvenating the skin.
Treatments for the face postpartum: What I did, and what I recommend to all new moms
- BOTOX™ to my crow's feet and eleven**: You’d be surprised how many times you furrow your eyebrows as a new mom. The diaper blowouts (eww) and my personally painfully awful experience with nursing had me furrowing quite a lot. Thankfully, BOTOX™ helped diminish my wrinkles within just a couple days of treatment. This treatment is quick, painless, and FDA-approved for the reduction of wrinkles.
- Chemical Peels:I needed a good, medium-depth exfoliation to take care of some stubborn milia and some dead skin that I'd accumulated while I was pregnant. The difference from just one chemical peel is truly incredible. In the office, we apply ingredients that exfoliate down to the second layer of skin. Below, you can see the difference in before and after photos of a patient I treated with a chemical peel.
This patient was using only all natural/organic skincare products including facial oils. You can see in the before photo that her skin looks like it has excess oil buildup, white heads, and a relatively dull complexion. After treating her with a chemical peel high in Vitamins A & C, Kojic acid, and other ingredients, you can see the bumps are gone! This medium-depth chemical peel exfoliates down to the second layer of skin outwards, which is why skin peels for roughly 7 days after the treatment.
Body treatments postpartum: Ways to tighten up, reduce stubborn fat, and get back your pre-pregnancy body***
The first thing you notice when you become pregnant is the pounds start packing on. You’re nurturing a human being, and we all know the best way to do that is Portillo’s cheeseburgers and fries. Maybe some chocolate cake for extra nutrition, too. But, once your bundle of joy enters the world, that chocolate cake holds on like a clingy ex. Stubborn fat pockets just happen. Even my most fit, marathon-running, cross-fitting new momma patients get pockets they can’t get rid of. Sometimes, even green juice and strict diets aren’t enough to combat love handles, inner thigh, and arm fat. But all isn’t lost. Below are some treatments we offer to our postpartum patients through the Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
- CoolSculpting™ for fat reduction: CoolSculpting™ is a non-surgical fat freezing treatment that offers safe, effective, and permanent results. Using controlled cooling, this treatment freezes and kills fat cells permanently. This treatment can be used on the abdomen, flanks, and inner and outer thighs.
These are my before and afters from my CoolSculpting™ treatments doneat the Few Institute.
- CoolTone™ for muscle stimulation: If you’re like me, you probably skipped a few workouts while you were pregnant. If you’re missing your pre-pregnancy abs, and just don’t have the time for one million crunches in the gym, then CoolTone™ is a good solution. CoolTone™ is an FDA-cleared device for the improvement of abdominal tone, strengthening of the abdominal muscles, and development of a firmer abdomen. And, CoolTone™ can also be used applied to the buttocks and thighs.
- Micro-needling for stretch mark texture: Micro-needling is a procedure that breaks up tough scar tissue fibers, and makes the body initiate a healing response. Over time, your body replaces scar tissue with healthy, strong tissue.
- Venus radio frequency treatments to target cellulite and skin elasticity:Venus is a type radio frequency treatment that literally feels like a hot stone massage, but with way more aesthetic benefits. This treatment can treat cellulite and improve skin elasticity in as few as 6 treatments.
- Laser treatments: Laser treatments are last on this list, but certainly not least in terms of their effectiveness. Lasers can be used to treat a variety of skin concerns. From skin discoloration to texture issues, there are specific lasers for many different conditions.
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*Always consult with your OB/GYN or dermatologist before starting any new skincare products while pregnant or nursing**Lactation Risk Summary: There are no data on the presence of BOTOX™ in human or animal milk, the effects on the breastfed infant, or the effects on milk production. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need or BOTOX™ and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from BOTOX™ or from the underlying maternal conditions. For more information on the risks, reactions, indications and more for BOTOX, see this link from the manufacturer at this link: LINK
***All of these treatments are subject to a consultation with one of our licensed, highly-experienced clinicians at the Few Institute. This article does not constitute medical advice, and readers should consult with a licensed clinician prior to considering any treatment.