Some women get through pregnancy and childbirth without any lasting physical effects, but for those mommies who are not genetically gifted or otherwise preternaturally touched, babies often arrive bearing other, less desirable special deliveries. Melasma, postpartum hair loss, stretch marks and skin laxity are just a few of the not-so-joyful byproducts that can come along with a bundle of joy. Here at Beauty In the Bag we like to keep up with the latest beauty solutions for moms (for our readers and for our own selfish reasons), and now we are passing those findings on to you.
ABOVE THE NECK
The Mask Of Pregnancy – not to be mistaken with the much ballyhooed “glow” of pregnancy, there is nothing particularly beautiful about melasma, a.k.a. chloasma faciei. It doesn’t give you a special aura, it just alters the color of your cheeks, nose, forehead and upper lip. Melasma happens when estrogen and progesterone send pigment-producing cells into wonky overdrive. This is the same process that causes the linea negra, which is all well and good, but it’s way easier to cover up your postpartum belly than your face. The good news is that it’s just cosmetic and will eventually fade. Better news still is that there are very effective products and treatments out there to rush that hyperpigmentation out of town. Hydroquinone is an old standby but it is often too harsh for sensitive skin. That’s why we love Lumixyl Brightening Peptide ($120) best for eliminating discoloration. A dermatologist or aesthetician may recommend laser treatment. Fraxel is particularly effective for melasma. To state the obvious, effective sun protection is a must always, but that is especially true when battling hyperpigmentation.
Hair Loss – It’s uncanny. For nine months we are blessed with the best hair of our lives, shiny and full, barely shedding a strand for the duration of pregnancy. Then poof, it falls out in staggering quantities, gathering in corners like tumbleweed. The regrowth is almost as bad as the hair loss itself, causing endless wisps and wings in the most unfortunate and visible spots, typically right at the hairline. Temporary hair loss differs from hereditary hair loss and the ultimate solution is time. In the interim, good and frequent haircuts can help to cover any thinning and blend regrowth. Many women find that continued use of prenatal vitamins can help to maintain hair health. Little wispies and flyaways are best wrangled with a bit of hairspray worked through trouble spots with a fine comb. The Samy Fat Hair line ($7-15) is a great, budget-friendly option that effectively amps up flat, thin hair.
ABOVE THE WAIST
Breasts – Nothing can prepare a first time mom for the enormity of her breasts when her milk first comes in. Those fabled “porn star boobs” generally subside, either if a woman opts to formula feed and her milk dries up, or if she nurses and her supply regulates. The only thing more shocking than that postpartum breast boom is what they might look like a few months later. Oy. There are a few products out there that can help (just be sure to check if they are safe for use if you are breastfeeding). Clarins Bust Beauty Extra-Lift Gel ($58) can help to minimize laxity and restore skin tone. Many mothers opt for breast lifts or small implants to restore their pre-pregnancy appearance. We recommend that these measures only be pursued once you are absolutely certain that you are done having children.
Mommy Midsection – The first few days and weeks after childbirth are nothing short of incredible, and the body generally does a great job of bouncing back. Big factors in postpartum recovery include pre-pregnancy health and genetics, so while some women are back in their bikinis in record time, others are left to contend with loose skin and stretch marks. Laser treatments and surgical procedures are extremely effective when necessary, but for less severe cases or when a mother hopes to have more children, topicals are usually the way to go. InviCible Scars ($82) delivers a cocktail of Dual Vitamin C Complex, Silicone Gel and ProBiosyn-4 to promote collagen formation and minimize the appearance of scars. Mederma For Stretch Marks ($39.99) contains Cepalin, Hyaluronic Acid and Centella Asiatica and promises visible results in about a month. Lierac Paris Morpho-Slim Stomach & Waist ($52) combines caffeine and plant extracts for an instant “cosmetic girdle” effect.
BELOW THE BELT
C-Section Scarring – Pregnancy’s most dubious “souvenirs” often appear below the belt. We were over the moon to discover C-Panty ($47.40), underwear designed to reduce swelling and scarring following a c-section. An interior medical-grade silicone panel covers the incision site to maintain the moisture required for optimal healing in concert with gentle compression to prevent the dreaded c-bulge and provide overall smoothing and support.
Pelvic Floor Weakness – The pressures of pregnancy and vaginal delivery can result in a weakening of the pelvic floor, causing postpartum incontinence, decreased sexual pleasure and susceptibility to prolapse. Kegel exercises are an absolute must for all moms, who should do the exercises throughout pregnancy and resume them three days after delivery. For women who aren’t sure that they are doing their Kegels correctly or feel that they need some extra help, the Myself Trainer ($99.97) is a guided muscle strengthener that helps the user to isolate the muscles in five minute guided workouts with real-time feedback.
ONE MORE THING LADIES….
It’s easy to get hung up on these beauty and body bummers. While looking for solutions to improve these conditions don’t forget to celebrate your body and the amazing thing that it has done. Growing and nurturing a human life, then bringing it into the world is nothing short of miraculous, so we want to extend a big congratulations and urge all mamas to be kind to themselves.