Here are the best solutions to handle everything from your c-section scar to hair loss. (Photo: Getty Images)
Nothing changes you more, both inside and out, than having a baby. In the months leading up to birth, there is so much information about what happens to your body during pregnancy. However, I found that there is a lot less about the dozens of changes that happen in the year after you give birth. With every milestone my son hit this past year, I, too, was keeping track of my own progress, celebrating the healing, or lamenting over yet another beauty/body challenge. I’m lucky enough to work in the beauty industry and had access to many incredible products, tools and professionals to help me tackle every issue that came up. However, despite me being a certified beauty junkie, I’ve never tried and tested so many cosmetics, creams, and gadgets than after I had my son. Head to toe, my body went through so many radical changes, so I took it upon myself to scour the market to find the best products that deliver quick and noticeable results. In the spirit of moms helping other moms, here are the best solutions to handle everything from your c-section scar to hair loss.
LOSING YOUR HAIR
Yes, it is true. Your hair falls out after you have a baby. From what I understand, it is the hair you were supposed to shed during pregnancy that you held onto because you were taking prenatal vitamins. So, now that your hair is falling out by the handful, what can you do? I went back on prenatals and starting using Aveda invati™, which left my hair thick and full. (They have a three-step trial pack that you can sample for only $8 before you splurge on the entire hair care system.) When hair starts to grow back in, note that you will have annoying baby hairs and fly-aways. Since they stick straight up, I tamed them by applying a heat protectant (Bumble & bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer) and then curling them down, followed by a pomade or styling crème. I learned not to flatiron them too much, as that will cause breakage and set you back in growing them out.
As if hair loss wasn’t enough, my scalp became very sensitive as a result of changing hormones, reacting to all shampoos with itching and flaking. I started washing my hair once a week with Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo, and turned to Aveda Scalp Benefits, which helped eliminate my dry, itchy flaky scalp after the first wash.
BREAKOUTS & SCARRING
Hormones flaring caused lots of breakouts, and the acne left scarring because my pigment had changed. My go-to was Clinique Even Better Spot Corrector to treat dark spots (spot treat only), MD Skincare Alpha Beta Peel twice a week to keep skin clear, and Bobbi Brown EXTRA Repair Serum for dry patches. I also swear by the Clarisonic Mia 2 because it erases all bumps and dry skin, clears my pores, and leaves my skin fresh and glowing.
Sleep deprivation can take a huge toll on a new mom – it made my already dark circles look like bruises. After long, sleepless nights, I would use Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye in the morning, and would layer Bobbi Brown corrector and concealer on top to lighten the under eye area and make it appear as though I got at least 5 hours of shut eye.
Post-baby, I developed a case of eczema on my hands and fingers. Turns out, my son suffered from it as well, so I had already tested almost 20 eczema creams for his benefit. I found one called Good On Ya’ on Amazon.com, which instantly cured his and my eczema. Our cracked, itchy, red skin disappeared in 3 days.
While we are on the subject of skin, those damn hormones cause yet another skin condition that covered my arms and upper thighs in little bumps called Keratosis Pilaris. I found relief using DERMAdoctor KP Duty Dermatologist Formulated Body Scrub every other day in the shower followed by KP Duty Dermatologist Moisturizing Therapy on the affected areas.
I spent my entire pregnancy trying to prevent stretch marks by slathering on lotions and potions by the gallon, but I lost that battle. So far, I have seen the best results after using a combination of coconut oil and Crème de La Mer, which I alternate each day/night. Laser therapy is really effective as well, but is pricey, so I will hold out until I know I am done growing my family.
The Linea Negra is a stubborn mark as well, which I thought would never go away. It ended up disappearing before the stretch marks after religiously applying Dr. Jaliman Triple Action Cream every night after my shower. It’s essentially a bleaching cream, so I just applied on the line itself and it’s vanished.
Talk about a battle wound, c-section scars can be itchy, numb, sensitive, and sometimes even painful long after you have a baby. A year later, mine doesn’t look much different than it did days after I gave birth. The red, raised smiley face reminds me daily that healing takes time and a lot of patience. It also takes work. Coconut oil and Scar Away for C-Section Silicone Scar Sheets can only do so much. To speed up healing, I have recently started scar therapy (think physical therapy focused on and around the scar) coupled with laser light therapy to break up the keloids (scar tissue), which is crucial. As the scar tissue can attach itself to organs and/or limit your movement, it is extremely important to make sure you nurture your scar and fully heal.
During pregnancy I had Diastasis Recti, more commonly referred to as “mummy tummy” or “baby pooch,” which is a separation of the abdominal muscles causing your belly to stick out. When the ab muscles move aside like this, the uterus, bowels, and other organs have only a thin band of connective tissue in front to hold them in place, which becomes dangerous because the tissue may tear, and organs may poke out of the opening, otherwise known as a hernia. Diastasis Recti can also cause lower back pain. It is important to address and takes serious commitment to fix. Regular PT can help at first so you know what exercises to do to protect and strengthen your core. Eventually, I ended up practicing the Tupler Technique and wore a brace daily, taking it off only to shower, in an effort to keep everything in place and protect my organs. I now practice the Dia Method for maintenance and have a few more months left before my abs completely come back together. Until that happens, Spanx are a wardrobe staple.
I realize in reading this, the thought of what having a baby does to your body might be a bit scary. Keep in mind, this is my story. Every woman has a different, personal experience. What we do share is the fact that, no matter what beauty challenges we face, we’d do it again and again (and most of us do) to be able to be mothers.