Why is my skin darker after childbirth?
As if pregnancy and childbirth wasn’t already a life changing experience, there are those changes that happen that we least expect, like changes in your skin, moods, ability to sleep well, and dietary cravings.
Melasma is a skin condition that occurs when the high levels of hormones in your body create brown patches on the skin. Stress can also be a significant factor.
More than 50% of pregnant women experience the effects of melasma.
Those dark patches and spots on your face and body that darken will gradually fade after pregnancy, but that can take many months and as long as a year. In some situations, those brown patches may never disappear on their own, and might need appropriate treatment.
Even some birth control pills can cause dark skin patches, as they are sometimes a source of hormones that can create this condition. If this is a concern, please consult your doctor to see if there are other birth control alternative options for you.
As you guessed it, I would highly recommend natural ingredients and treatments before jumping to a prescription or chemical related product. Below we can learn more about the right kind of natural ingredients, as well as try a recipe for a skin lightening mask and scrub to help you along the way.
It’s quite possible, that if you are Hispanic or Asian, developing pigmentation issues might run in your family. Even so, there’s a natural solution for you too.
Do your best before, during, and after pregnancy to use a sunscreen on a daily basis. I now keep my sunscreen inside of my makeup box so I never forget to apply before going out for the day. I could tell you a horror story about my recent trip to Miami and how I forgot to apply sunscreen, but I’ll spare you the gory details. In addition, covering up with a hat and long sleeves, etc. is one of the very best ways to avoid too much sun exposure. Per medical advice, try sunscreens with zinc or titanium, which are not absorbed into the skin, but instead stay on the surface to protect from UV exposure.
Another way to help combat melasma during or after pregnancy, is to shoot for a real food diet, which should include omegas and zinc. Shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, eggs, fish, chia seeds, spinach – just to name a few.
If you’re doing some research for topical remedies, here is your one stop go to list to help you combat your current condition. It’s worth noting that all of these ingredients are safe during and after pregnancy:
Lemon and/or lime juice. It’s been clinically and medically proven that lemon and/or lime will lighten skin pigmentation issues.
Apple cider vinegar. ACV seems to be the do all ingredient for so many things, but rest assured we do know that this vinegar is a great way to exfoliate the skin and encourage a lightening result with continued use.
Tumeric. An ingredient you’re bound to have in your spice cabinet, turmeric is an excellent ingredient to solve a number of issues. It is clinically proven to reduce hyperpigmentation and dark spots on skin (see the link below for medical study stats and results).
Arbutin. One of those ingredients people may not see in their day to day life, but definitely worth looking into. You can purchase arbutin as a supplement in powder form online. This is going to be your best bet when looking to add it to your homemade mask or scrub. As with all of these ingredients, arbutin is medically proven to lighten skin, spots, and brown darker patches.
Licorice root. Not only is licorice root great for your skin, it’s great for your body function as well. It’s very good for heartburn, upset stomach, and has immune boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. It is proven to reduce sun spots and discoloration in medical studies. If you’re having a hard time finding licorice root, look for it in a tea form in your local health food store or Whole Foods. You can tear open the tea bag and grind the contents in your coffee grinder and add to your mask or scrub.
Kojic acid. Another ingredient you may not be familiar with but very good for lightening skin. It’s done very well in clinical tests. Kojic doesn’t behave like an acid, not like you would expect, and is naturally derived from plant sources, like rice or soy or mushrooms. You can also find this one in small quantities at an online shop that sells supplements in powder form.
Glycolic acid. Is a great all around choice for exfoliating away the old layers of the skin, taking with it spots, discoloration, brown patches, scarring, and wrinkles. Everyone over the age of 25 should consider having at least one product with glycolic acid in it.
Vitamin A. You can readily find vitamin a in your vitamin section of any local grocer. Sometimes they come in a liquid gel cap or they may be sold in a tablet form, in which case you’ll need to grind up and add to your concoction.
Ascorbic acid. An excellent additive for lightening skin and relieving brown spots, ascorbic acid is also found in your local grocer vitamin isle. As with our other natural ingredient recommendations, you can find proof of effectiveness in the link below for medical study results.
Niacinamide. Lastly, niacinamide is an excellent ingredient for skin discoloration and lightening. We make several products with niacinamide for this same reason. It’s a great way to brighten the skin and create that healthy glow.
Pregnancy Melasma Treatment Recipe
(This can be used as a mask or scrub):
2 t. apple cider vinegar
1 t. lemon or lime juice
¼ t. turmeric
¼ t. ground licorice root
¼ t. ground vitamin c
¼ t. ground niacinamide
¼ t. vitamin a (liquid cap or ground tablet)
Mix altogether to form a paste and apply to clean dry skin immediately. Leave on for 10-30 minutes if you’re using as a mask. Rinse thoroughly.
If using as a scrub, apply to clean dry skin and work around for several minutes, giving ingredients sufficient time to penetrate and work.
Do not premix and store, and these ingredients will start to oxidize. Make fresh each time, or at least, do not mix the dry ingredients with the wet until you’re ready to apply.
Jeanette / Herbal Chemist & Formulator