How Pregnancy (and Parenthood) Ruined My Skin

pigtails pregnancy ruined my skin summer day indigo+canary

Hi guys. Remember me? The girl who used to have a little natural beauty blog? We had a pretty good thing going for a while, right? Well … surprise! I’m wading back into the water, and it’s feeling pretty great.

I have missed you all desperately, but it turns out that parenting a tiny human + working a pretty demanding full-time job + busting a move with a freelance side hustle + serving as a board member on a (fantastic) nonprofit organization called Circle de Luz has pushed Indigo + Canary down a few notches on the priority list. (PS: You must, must, must watch the video on the Circle de Luz site. I’m serious. In addition to featuring the story of one of Circle’s adorable participants, it also won an Emmy Award!)

However, a few of those things have changed: My tiny human is a little less tiny (although still pretty darn cute, I must say), I’m rotating off the nonprofit board now that my three-year term is complete (although I am still a volunteer and contributor — they can’t get rid of me!), and so I’ve got a little bit of hustle left. And Indigo + Canary is where I want to put it! Because, as it turns out, becoming a parent didn’t change a thing about my raging addiction to clean/natural/organic beauty products.

Just how did parenthood and pregnancy ruin my skin, exactly?

Sigh. Here’s my sad-but-true tale of skin woes, in chronological order:

  • Before pregnancy: A condition I have — polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) — made my skin pretty awful sometimes. People with PCOS often have out-of-control hormones, and I was no exception. It took a pretty regimented system to keep my skin from being a mess, but a combination of medications + thoughtful skincare products helped a lot. Unfortunately, I still had to deal with regular cystic acne, usually during my period. (Cystic acne is no joke.)
  • During pregnancy: My skin was perfect. My skin was flawless. My skin was freaking amazing. Pregnancy sort of “cures” PCOS, temporarily, and that was my experience. Some women experience terrible breakouts, discoloration, and other terrible things during pregnancy, but not me! (I did have other pregnancy complications, however, so I would not say I enjoyed being pregnant.)
  • After pregnancy: All was fine for a few months, but as more time went by, I started to notice my breakouts were getting more severe and more frequent.
  • Post-breastfeeding: By this point, forget about it. My skin was a mess. It was inflamed. I woke up to new blemishes every single day, and almost always had at least one or two cystic acne blemishes to deal with. It got so bad I would re-apply makeup several times throughout the day, and by the end of a workday, I would want to sob when I looked at my face in the mirror.
  • Now: Fast-forward to this morning, and I can see that I’ve made progress, but I’m still completely frustrated by what’s happening with my skin. I frequently have breakouts across my cheeks, which was never a problem area pre-pregnancy. Plus, I have the normal hormonal breakouts near my mouth and chin — with awful flare-ups right around my period.

What am I doing about my awful post-pregnancy/parenthood complexion?

Well: Trial and error. I can tell that I’ve made some improvement. I’m taking baby steps to get back to my original pre-pregnancy regimen of medication + topical treatments (because my old frenemy PCOS is back with a vengeance), but I’m still not comfortable with my skin, and it’s a daily frustration. Lately, however, I’ve tried a few products that seem to be helping a lot.

So if you’re in the same boat, first off: I feel you, girl! It super duper sucks. But maybe these products will help give you some relief too.

Fig + Yarrow Foaming Cleanser, $19.99: I love that this foaming cleanser is at Target, because I already make a weekly pilgrimage to the big red bullseye for pull-ups, wipes, and toddler snacks. It has activated charcoal, which has antibacterial and detoxification properties, making it a pretty powerful acne-fighter.

Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliationg Mask, $50: My Osmia fandom knows no bounds. This exfoliating facial mask has activated bamboo charcoal and manuka honey for a great balance of detox/cleansing/moisturizing properties. If you like facial masks, this is a must-try. I use this or the Acure Organics scrub about once a week.

Shea Moisture Natural African Black Soap, $3.59: Another Target find, this one is supremely affordable and leaves my skin feeling clean but not overly dry. It has oats to help soothe and calm my skin, but it’s also moisturizing in all the right ways. I use this one in the shower and the Fig + Yarrow at the sink.

Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub, $9.99: I love this scrub (and Acure products in general), but a word of caution: when you have regular breakouts, you have to be careful about scrubs, which can further irritate already angry skin. If you use a scrub mid-breakout, it can very well make your breakout worse. I use this scrub very sparingly, and only when my skin is in not-great-but-not-horrific shape. I love how smooth my skin feels (and how my makeup just glides right on my skin) afterwards. Hint: I also make sure to give some attention to my neck and decollete, because those are two spots that often show early signs of aging.

Did your skin freak out after (or during) pregnancy? What are your go-to products? Please share! I’d love to know your secrets.

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2 Comments on How Pregnancy (and Parenthood) Ruined My Skin

  1. BB said on

    Hi Aleigh,

    I feel you too, although I do not have PCOS. My skin flares up regularly post-little human and, although the cause is different, the frustration is the same.

    I’ve read that the ketogenic diet gave some pretty solid positive results for PCOS, maybe look into it. As always, under medical surveillance. 🙂

    All the best and thanks for the goodness you pout out here.

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      Thank you! Adult acne is the worst.

      >> Reply

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