Our tips on how to manage your skin problems after delivery.
WORDS CHRISTEL GERALYN GOMES
Postpartum acne as well as the “mask of pregnancy” – also known as Melasma or Chloasma – is commonly encountered postpartum, says Dr Vanessa Phua, physician at Aesthetic Medicine & Beauty, Asia HealthPartners Pte Ltd.
The “mask of pregnancy” is seen especially in individuals with darker skin, and occurs
around the forehead, cheeks, jawline, and very rarely, neck.
Both conditions are caused by high or fluctuating levels of pregnancy hormones and persist after delivery for a few months.
What you can do
Where acne is concerned, diet and lifestyle modifications can help. “Cut down on sugary foods, and increase intake of fibre, vegetables and low Glycaemic Index carbohydrates, such as brown rice,” says Dr Phua.
You can also use an oil mattifying serum with a Salicylic Acid and Ethyl Linoleate base, which reduces oil production, she adds. “Non-comedogenic makeup such as Akincare cream or lotion can help as both products have an additional antibacterial component (Triethylcitrate) which kills bacteria. Customised chemical peels at the doctors can also reduce acne, inflammation and reduce pore congestion, clarifying the skin.”
The “mask of pregnancy” on the other hand can be stubborn and last a few months. It is associated with UV exposure as well as genetics and will require a visit to the doctor for treatment as it is quite resistant to home remedies or over the counter treatments, explains Dr Phua.
However, a few things you can do may help. “A good sunblock with a high SPF of about 50 should suffice, with physical blockers in it, such as Zinc or Titanium oxide. Re-application every three hours is important, as is sun avoidance between 10am and 4pm. De-pigmenting creams can be obtained from your aesthetic physician or dermatologist with ingredients such as Hydroquinone (not to be used for more than six months), Vitamin A derivatives (Retinol) or Azelaic or Kojic acid, all of which can cause skin lightening. A medium depth chemical peel treatment programme will help to reduce pigmentation by reducing the activity of the pigment cells as well as exfoliating the top layers of the skin. Laser treatment is also an option for patients with melasma, and this will require several sessions to reduce the severity of the pigmentation,” says Dr Phua.