During pregnancy, the body produces about 50% more blood, lending the skin a vibrant appearance. However, after childbirth, the abrupt drop in progesterone and oestrogen levels, no longer necessary for maintaining a healthy pregnancy, triggers various changes in the body, often visually evident in the skin, hair and nails.
After a vaginal delivery, women may experience vaginal soreness, particularly if there was tearing or incisions during the process. Gently cleanse the area using a mild, soothing cleanser such as Cicaplast Lavant B5. What is great about this cleanser is that it's rich in panthenol which is an extremely soothing ingredient, and also contains anti-bacterial metallic salts so as to prevent any infections.
After carefully drying the area, a healing balm such as Cicaplast Baume B5+ should be applied to speed up the healing process and prevent scar formations. These recommendations also apply following a C-section delivery. When the midwives advise that the area can be cleansed, Cicaplast Lavant B5 is the ideal soothing, antibacterial cleanser and Cicaplast Baume B5+ helps to speed up the healing process and drastically prevents scar formation.
Pigmentary disorders such as Melasma (known as 'pregnancy mask') are particularly prevalent in women with medium to darker skin tones. This is because of increased melanin production due to the combination of hormonal and genetic factors as well as sun exposure.
Pigmentation mainly occurs on the cheeks, chin, temple and nose and are characterised by patches and spots similar to freckles. Although melasma does not cause pain or itchiness and may go away on its own, it may cause cosmetic distress.
In order to avoid pigmentation issues as much as possible, it is important to apply broad spectrum sun protection on a daily basis. Appropriate amounts should be applied every time and it has to be reapplied every 2 hours if you are exposed to direct sunlight.To treat pigmentation, it is ideal to apply products rich in niaciniamide as this ingredient specifically acts on dark spots through brightening the skin complexion. The Pure Niacinamide 10 Serum from La Roche Posay is a serum which combines the power of niacinamide with hyaluronic acid, making it the perfect anti-dark spots concentrate and hydrating serum. It can be applied morning and evening on face, neck and if needed, hands. Sun protection is of utmost importance to prevent further darkening of the pigmented spots and prevent the occurrence of fresh pigmentation parks. Anthelios Pigment Correct SPF50+ is a daily sun protection cream which visibly helps to even out skin tone and prevent further hyper pigmentation.
Many women suffer from acne while they are pregnant and this disappears following childbirth. However, other women experience acne even after they give birth to their child.
Postpartum acne is very common and can appear in many forms, including whiteheads, blackheads, pustules and painful cysts. Since breastfeeding increases hormonal levels, those suffering from acne while breastfeeding may take more time for their acne to disappear.
When suffering from acne it's important to stick to a face cleansing routine twice a day using oil-free products specific for oily and acne-prone skin. The basic morning routine consists of cleansing, hydrating and protecting the skin from the sun, whereas in the evening it is ideal to double cleanse to remove any dirt particles or make up properly and this should be followed by a serum which targets specifically blemish-prone skin. Examples include Effaclar Micropeeling Gel Wash as a cleanser in the morning. This cleanser is rich in salicyclic acid that gently removes excess sebum but at the same time it doesn’t dry out the skin as it is rich in La Roche-Posay thermal spring water and glycerin. This should be followed by a moisturizer which acts on all the aspects of acne: reducing sebum production, reducing inflammation, reducing blackheads and whiteheads, healing of acne spots and reducing pigmented marks. Effaclar Duo+M Moisturizer is one such product which offers all these properties.
Every morning, finish off with sun protection which is specific for oily, acne-prone skin such as Anthelios UVMune 400 oil control gel-cream. In the evening, before cleansing the face with Effaclar Micropeeling Gel Wash, it is best to apply Effaclar Micellar Water on a cotton wool and remove any make-up, sebum and debris accumulated during the day. After double cleansing and gently drying the skin, you can finish off with the Effaclar Serum which is an ideal serum for adult acne, particularly targeting hormonal acne to reduces blemishes, marks and improve the skin condition.
Following childbirth, increased water demand and hormonal changes due to breastfeeding may change the skin texture and cause general dry skin. This affects the production of hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin in the body. This subsequently leads to dehydration making the skin appear flaky and dry.
The following simple steps can be followed to help keep the skin well moistened:
The Lipikar Range offers the best cleansers and moisturizers to protect the skin from drying out and even help in treating atopic skin conditions such as eczema. Lipikar Syndet AP+ is a fragrance-free, cleansing cream and Lipikar Cleansing Oil AP+ is a lathering cleanser with a hypo-allergenic fragrance which is ideal for dry, sensitive and atopic skin and the best part is that it is non-slippery. Both products help to keep the skin well hydrated while bathing. Lipikar Baume AP+M is the ideal moisturizer to use in all ages to deeply moisturizer the skin and reduce any itchiness, irritation and sensitivity. This product has been proven to be effective even if just applied once a day, which is ideal for the very busy lives we lead. Lipikar Baume Light AP+M offers a lotion-like texture for those who prefer a lighter texture which is very easily absorbed.
In women, hair loss commonly occurs after giving birth. The high levels of oestrogen usually prevent hair loss during pregnancy, but as soon as these levels fall after childbirth, the hair makes up for lost time by falling out in clumps. Specific hair products are available to help combat this condition such as the Vichy Dercos Energy + stimulating shampoo and fortifying conditioner. These help to reinforce the hair fibre after just 5 uses, helping the hair to restore its natural resistance.
Nails also grow thicker and stronger during pregnancy but may become brittle after giving birth. This may partly be due to hormonal changes and thyroid function, but also to lower levels of nutrients in the body which have been passed on to the baby for optimal development.
Strengthening and fortifying nail polish such as Toleriane Silicium can be used to repair and reinforce the nails.
The products mentioned in this article can be found on the Prohealth website HERE. Free same or next day delivery is offered when purchasing online. La Roche-Posay and Vichy products can also be found in pharmacies around Malta and Gozo.
This post was written by Karen Curmi, Pharmacist & La Roche-Posay Junior Brand Manager at Prohealth.