Skin Care While Breastfeeding: Tips for New Moms

All Posts, For Babies September 26, 2018
skin care while breastfeeding

When you’re a new mom, everything changes. The exhaustion is real (hello, crying baby at 3:00 in the morning), and your self-care routine tends to fall by the wayside. Moms who choose to breastfeed are especially aware of this. It’s kind of hard to apply your favorite moisturizer while feeding your child, isn’t it? Maybe you find yourself starting to cut corners a little bit. But, bear in mind that when you’re breastfeeding, anything that you put in or on your body ends up affecting your baby. So, sometimes the quickest option isn’t the best. Here are our favorite tips for skin care while breastfeeding in a way that keeps both your skin and your baby healthy and safe!

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Clean Your Skin!

When you feed your child, you want to make sure that all residue from your skin care products has been removed. Read: it’s important to carefully clean your nipple area before breastfeeding your child. No matter how safe a skin care product is, it shouldn’t be ingested, especially by a young baby.

Vitamin C = Your New BFF

During pregnancy, many women experience something called melasma. Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation that results from hormonal changes in the body. For most, melasma clears up on its own, but there are some cases where it lasts longer than pregnancy. Topical home treatments, including Vitamin C creams, are the best bet for breastfeeding moms. Vitamin C is naturally-occurring, brightens the skin, and evens out your skin tone with continued use. You’ll keep your pregnancy glow long after full term!

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

As a new mom, you’ll be washing your hands way more than usual.

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Between all the diaper changes, feedings, and cleaning, all that washing is going to strip your skin of its natural oils, especially if you’re using harsh soaps. This dries your skin out fast. Depending on the severity of the dryness, you might be at risk for infection. Combat the dryness by using a heavy moisturizer at night! We also suggest avoiding alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Though they are convenient, your skin will not respond well to the heavy concentration of alcohol.

Use Your Breast Milk in Unique Ways

This one’s for all the moms who love a little DIY! Breast milk is packed with essential nutrients that your skin will love. Think about it. Breast milk has to nourish a baby, so it has to contain vitamins and minerals that your body craves. Many new moms enjoy using it as a face wash or a gentle makeup remover that won’t clog pores. And, with a little craftiness and a couple other ingredients, it can be turned into a lip balm, lotion, or remedy for eye puffiness. Read more about breast milk beauty secrets here.

Eagle Eye: Look at Ingredients Lists

Can you use your favorite skin care products even while breastfeeding? We really want to give this question a definitive “yes” answer, but we can’t. At least not right away. As we mentioned before, everything you put in your body affects your baby during the breastfeeding process. This includes your skin care while breastfeeding. Now’s the time to look carefully at the ingredients in your skin care products. Let’s discuss a few ingredients that are okay to embrace during breastfeeding, and a few that you should definitely be on the look-out for.

The Good

Benzoyl Peroxide

Pregnancy and breastfeeding both come along with swirling hormones and many changes in the body, including acne. Benzoyl peroxide is one of the safer acne-fighting ingredients you can be using at this point in your life. Many of the body’s tissues contain enzymes that break down peroxide substances. This means that if any medication was absorbed, it would quickly be destroyed by the body. So, if you have acne and you’re a breastfeeding mother, benzoyl peroxide is your new go-to.

Lactic Acid

Here’s another ingredient to embrace if you’re a breastfeeding mother with acne. Lactic acid is added to many acne treatments in an effort to help peel away skin and lessen the appearance of scarring. However, lactic acid occurs naturally in babies, so doctors have deemed lactic acid safe to use during this stage of your child’s life.

Zinc Oxide

Sunscreen is always a good idea, whether you’re breastfeeding or not. Zinc oxide is a physical sunscreen that is safe to use during both pregnancy and lactation. When it’s used on unbroken skin, its absorption is minimal. As long as you use it as directed, both you and your baby should be a-okay!

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The Bad

When choosing your skin care while breastfeeding, you have to keep in mind that baby’s skin is sensitive. In fact, baby skin is much more sensitive than adult skin.

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Babies don’t come out of the womb with a skin barrier. Their acid mantle develops over time. During the first few weeks of life, they are extremely vulnerable to skin irritation. When their skin touches yours, they might react to whatever you’re putting on your skin. Let’s help you minimize those chances! Here are five ingredients you should never use while breastfeeding. If your skin care favorites have any of those not-so-good ingredients, don’t fret! It doesn’t mean that you can’t ever use them again. You may have to shelve these products for a bit, but you can always return to them after you’re finished breastfeeding.

Petroleum

Because babies are more sensitive to irritation, products that may not irritate your skin can irritate their skin. Us adults may not be sensitive to skin care that contains petroleum-based ingredients, such as mineral oil, paraffin oil, or isopropyl alcohol. But, these compounds spell trouble for baby’s delicate skin. We recommend avoiding petroleum just to be safe!

Parabens

We’ve discussed parabens before, but we’ll give you a quick refresher. Parabens are highly effective preservatives that are used to prevent germs from contaminating cosmetic products, including skin care and makeup. Sometimes, parabens are hard to get away from, since they’re so prevalent. Many skin care products contain very, very small amounts that have little impact on women who aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding, though, it’s a different story.

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Parabens build up in the body over time. The more often you use products containing parabens, the faster they build up. This causes an abnormal amount of chemical buildup that can affect baby’s endocrine system. They can also irritate sensitive skin for people of all ages, so we think it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Formaldehyde

While we’re on the topic of preservatives, let’s talk about formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is another compound that’s commonly used as a preservative in beauty products, but it’s a little more sneaky than parabens. In a product’s ingredients list, you would be able to see the word “paraben” as a suffix in each ingredient name, such as isopropylparaben. But, formaldehyde is known by a wealth of other names. These include methenesmine and hydroxymethylglycinate. Renaming these ingredients prevents people from being scared away from using the products they’re in. However, it’s worth it to keep an eye out for them, since they can cause serious allergic reactions in breastfeeding babies.

Retinoids

Next on our list of ingredients to avoid in skin care while breastfeeding: retinoids. Most skin care junkies know that retinoids have been put on a pedestal in the skin care world.

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And, for good reason! Retinoids are some of the most effective ingredients in anti-aging products. By speeding up the body’s production of Vitamin A, they thus aid in preventing collagen breakdown and speeding up the processes of cell division. However, baby’s skin isn’t going to love them the same way yours does. In fact, oral retinoids have been linked to birth defects and topical retinoids should not be used by breastfeeding moms. If something goes onto your skin, chances are that it will find its way onto baby’s skin as well.

Salicylic Acid

If you have acne, you know that salicylic acid is a highly effective ingredient in the fight against breakouts. It bores deep into the skin’s pores, purging them of impurities. It’s also commonly known as BHA, or beta hydroxy acid. If you get an occasional breakout, light, topical use should be okay; it shouldn’t affect baby in any way, shape, or form. However, if facial masks and peels are your thing, it’s time to check out the ingredients.

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Face masks are a great form of self-care, but they are more likely to leave reside on the skin. Because they’re left on the skin for longer and can be highly concentrated, we suggest avoiding salicylic acid for the duration of breastfeeding.

Our Favorites for Breastfeeding Moms

Ready for some good news? Sebamed products are totally okay to be used by those who are breastfeeding. We take pride in the fact that our products don’t contain the ingredients that can harm women or young children, as long as the products are used as recommended.

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Here are a couple of our products that breastfeeding moms can’t get enough of.

Liquid Face and Body Wash

At any stage of life, sensitive skin can sneak up on you. For some us, that’s breastfeeding. Liquid Face and Body Wash is a gentle cleanser that hydrates the skin as it cleans you. It’s completely free of soap, alkali, and parabens, and it’s pH-balanced to stabilize and strengthen the skin barrier. This helps you protect both yourself and your child against irritation. It also makes a highly effective hand wash, since it won’t strip your skin of vital oils.

Sebamed Liquid Face and Body wash

Anti-Stretch Mark Cream

This is our personal favorite skin care staple for new moms. Not only does it help to both reduce the appearance of and prevent stretch marks. Anti-Stretch Mark Cream also is deeply moisturizing to help you protect and care for your skin as your body changes. It allows your skin’s connective tissue to adapt while your body changes. Plus, it won’t stain clothing. It’s a must have for skin care while breastfeeding!

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No matter what stage of your life you’re in, Sebamed products have you covered. Our wide range of cleansers, moisturizers, and hair care products are suitable for all skin types, and can all be used while breastfeeding. Sebamed’s mild formulas soothe irritation and protect the skin against skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. Plus, with our carefully curated collections, you’re sure to find products your skin will love. Check out our complete product lineup here.

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