Your body goes through a lot when you’re pregnant, and your skin is no exception. It can take time for your skin to rebound after you give birth, and that goes for everything from your stretched-out belly to breakouts. Postpartum acne is common and often unavoidable. It happens primarily due to your rapidly changing hormones that lead to a surge in your body’s production of sebum. Fortunately, postpartum acne is temporary and your skin will return to normal when your hormones balance out. Until then, we’ve rounded up 7 natural postpartum acne remedies to help clear up your skin.
4 Causes of Postpartum Acne
When you become pregnant, your body releases a surge of progesterone, a hormone which builds up the lining of your uterus during menstruation. The surge of progesterone causes your body to increase the production of sebum, an oil that clogs pores. It also increases the chances that your pores and hair follicles will get clogged with oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells, which lead to pimples. Progesterone hits its peak in the third trimester and although your progesterone levels return to normal after you give birth, it takes longer for some people’s hormone levels to normalize, so they continue to have acne.
Adapting to life with a new baby and routine can be stressful, and although stress itself doesn’t lead to acne, chronic stress causes your body to release large amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol. Extra cortisol causes your sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, which can clog your pores and cause breakouts.
3. If You Had Acne Before
If you had acne as a teen or experienced it before you were pregnant, you may be someone who naturally produces more sebum. This makes it likely you’ll deal with acne during and after pregnancy as well.
Breastfeeding and weaning may cause new acne due to hormone fluctuations. It can cause acne to stick around for longer as your hormone levels don’t return to normal until after you finish breastfeeding.
7 Natural Postpartum Acne Remedies
1. Oatmeal + Cucumber Mask
Oatmeal and cucumber are both smoothing and cooling for the skin, which is a great combination to combat acne. Cucumber contains a high amount of silica, a mineral that keeps our connective tissue together and keeps it strong. Oatmeal helps repair skin damage, and heals wounds and skin conditions like acne and rosacea. Use a food processor to mix ½ cup chopped cucumber, 2 tablespoons of ground or whole oats and 1 teaspoon raw honey. Spread it over your face and neck and let it sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and follow with your daily moisturizer.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It’s super soothing and hydrating for the skin, absorbs easily and is gentle. Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which has antibacterial properties and helps kill the bacteria that causes acne. Coconut oil isn’t for every skin type – if you have very dry or very oily skin, you’ll benefit from coconut oil the most. If you have oily skin, the coconut oil will bind with all the excess sebum, drawing out impurities from your pores and nourishing your skin with vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and lauric acid.
3. Drink Water
We can’t stress this enough – drink lots and lots of water. Drinking water hydrates your skin and keeps your overall body hydrated as well. It helps remove toxins and bacteria on the skin, reducing the potential for pore-clogging. Dry skin can trigger excess oil production, which contributes to acne, so upping your intake of water can help keep your skin soft and smooth.
4. Raw Honey
Raw honey has antimicrobial and soothing effects that can curb irritation and redness caused by skin blemishes. It has an osmotic effect on the skin that draws out excess fluid and helps reduce inflammation. Make sure to use an all-natural, raw, unprocessed honey as anything processed won’t have an antibacterial effect. To apply, rinse your face with warm water, then apply honey directly to the affected area. Leave it on your skin for 20 to 30 minutes then rinse with warm water.
5. Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay is detoxifying and absorbent, which is helpful in treating breakouts and oily skin. The clay can help remove sebum from the skin’s surface and it also has a calming effect on inflamed breakouts. Mix bentonite clay with water to form a thick paste and place it on your face. Keep it on for 20 minutes and rinse with warm water.
6. Take an Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplement
Omega-3 fatty acids are great for acne because they’re anti-inflammatory and fish oil supplements are high in omega-3s. Acne is an inflammatory condition. The buildup of bacteria and excess oil clogs pores and hair follicles in your skin and causes swollen, tender pimples as part of your body’s inflammatory response. Fish oil is also safe and natural for pregnancy and nursing.
7. Cinnamon + Honey Mask
Cinnamon has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and also increases blood circulation, bringing oxygen and blood back to the surface of the skin. It decreases inflammation, and mixed with the anti-microbial properties of honey, makes for an effective acne treatment. Mix one tablespoon of cinnamon powder with 2-3 teaspoons of raw honey to form a paste. Apply it on the affected area and rinse off after about 20 minutes.
If you’re experiencing postpartum acne, try these natural remedies to get your skin back on track!