The birth of Kourtney Kardashian's fourth child, first with her Blink-182 drummer husband Travis Barker, Rocky Thirteen, has taken the world by storm. With a pregnancy that was documented so intricately on Hulu's The Kardashians and on social media, fans will no doubt wonder how Kourtney nails her post-baby glow.
We have experts on hand who are here to tell you what skincare issues to be aware of if you are entering into this exciting phase of life like Kourtney, what skincare practices will save your post-baby skin, and which ingredients are changing the game.
Changes in the skin are normal
Firstly, it is important to highlight that you should expect changes in your skin during and after pregnancy and that you shouldn't be hard on yourself if skin issues you have had in the past rear their head. Sara Waterman, Senior Aesthetician at Young LDN tells us: "During various stages of pregnancy it is normal to experience certain physiological changes in the skin due to the marked changes in sex hormones, the immune system and the cardiovascular system. These changes are classified as pregnancy-specific dermatoses. It is also common to experience changes in nails and hair during pregnancy."
The skin expert goes into detail about the skin issues that can flare up during and after pregnancy. These can include hyperpigmentation on the face and body and melasma, also referred to as the 'mask of pregnancy' can appear typically during the second half of pregnancy in up to 70% of women, Sara says, which is "characterised by irregular patches of darker pigment in a symmetrical structure on both sides of the face, with the forehead, temples, lips, and central face most commonly affected."
Sara also tells us that during and after pregnancy women can experience melanocytic naevi where existing moles can grow or darken. Other issues can include stretch marks and acne. "Acne in pregnancy is the same as normal acne, the increase in pregnancy hormones and excess sebum is the main culprit," Sara says. "Sebaceous gland activity tends to increase during pregnancy due to the increase of maternal progesterone and androgens in the third trimester." Many women are left with acne even after they have given birth as stress, sleep deprivation, and dehydration can cause acne.
Noticing dryness in your skin post-partum is also common, Sara says. "It’s important to continue to take your prenatal or postnatal vitamins along with consuming a balanced diet and moisture daily," she tells us. "Your body’s hormone levels can take as long as six to nine months to return to pre-pregnancy levels." But be assured, the experts say Kourt's post-baby glow is achievable.
Ingredients to introduce into your post-baby skincare routine
Achieving a post-baby glow like Kourt is significantly aided by introducing Vitamin C into your skincare routine, via a serum or cream. It's "a top antioxidant and a wonderful skin protector and brightener. It fights free radial damage to aid skin repair as well as stimulating new collagen and elastin," Sara tells us.
Skin expert Rebecca Elsdon from Re/Skin Clinic concurs. She tells us that "recommended ingredients to include in skincare regimes during the post-partum period are Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant to help brighten the skin and address pigmentation. Natural oils such as jojoba oil can help protect and lock in hydration. Ceramides can help maintain a good barrier function."
Dr Ross Perry, Medical Director of Cosmedics skin clinics says: "I advise all my pregnant ladies to wear an SPF of 30 plus even in winter as the fluctuating hormones can make your skin far more sensitive to UV light and cause the hyperpigmentation. It’s equally just as important to be protecting yourself from skin cancer."
London-based celebrity facialist Donna Ryan also informs us that hyaluronic acid "is excellent for hydration as it helps the skin retain moisture", and niacinamides "can help improve skin texture, brighten the complexion, and reduce the appearance of post-pregnancy pigmentation or acne scars". Meanwhile peptides, small proteins that can help stimulate collagen production, "can be beneficial for reducing the appearance of fine lines and promoting skin firmness postpartum."
Ingredients to avoid
Introducing new skincare products after you have a baby can also mean having to ditch some products from your routine until your skin is out of the post-partum period. Rebecca Elsdon says new moms should avoid "retinoids, high concentrations of salicylic acid, and hydroquinone." Dr Ross Perry tells us that this is because "it’s a good idea to use a gentle cleanser twice a day (fragrance-free) as harsher versions are more likely to irritate the skin which can be more sensitive following pregnancy and you can be more prone to acne flare-ups and dryness, again this is due to fluctuating hormones."
"It’s important to ditch products containing benzoyl peroxide and retinol and opt for more natural products as skin is more sensitive especially if you’re breastfeeding," he adds.
Skincare practices that can soothe post-baby skin
There are also practices that you can introduce into your skincare routine after having your baby which will help you to achieve Kourt's fresh look. Donna Ryan tells us that "lack of sleep is common during pregnancy and after having a baby, leading to tired-looking eyes and dark circles. Use a hydrating eye cream or apply cold used tea bags to soothe and refresh the under-eye area."
She adds: "Consider going to a gua sha facialist who uses gentle techniques to alleviate muscle tension and improve circulation. Safe, hydrating skin treatments can address any dryness or sensitivity. Additionally, antioxidant-rich facials may provide a soothing and rejuvenating experience, helping combat the effects of hormonal changes on the skin."
Remember to also not neglect your body in your skincare routine. Apply lashings of body lotion with ingredients like shea and cocoa butter to really nourish the skin. If you can, also use this time as a tiny opportunity for some me-time. Elizabeth King, Weleda UK Skin Care Expert reveals her key to nourished skin and a relaxed mother.
"When you find yourself weepy and in need of a gentle hug, reach for rose oil," she says. "Following a warm bath (remember not too hot), apply your body oil with long sweeping strokes to your upper arms and chest. Next, using both hands on either side of the spine, and starting as high up the back as you can reach, continue with a full, purposeful stroke down."