woman in towel inspecting her skin in the mirror

By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Michelle LIM Associate Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

It can be difficult for you to find time for proper skin care while caring for your newborn around the clock. You'll most likely notice that hormonal changes from pregnancy have taken a toll on your skin. Rest assured though that there are simple things you can do to make all the difference to your skin after pregnancy. Here are some tips to get your skin glowing again.

Stretch Marks

The expansion of your tummy to make way for your baby's growth may cause stretch lines called striae gravidarum (or stretch marks). These are normally purplish or reddish wavy lines that may appear on your tummy, breasts, thighs and groin. After delivering your baby, these stretch marks may become paler but remain as permanent scars. In addition, elevated oestrogen and progesterone levels may result in more defined stretch marks and a rough texture to your skin. Exercise and applying some emollients (non-cosmetic moisturisers) may help improve these marks, especially those on your tummy.

Related: 4 Skincare Tips to Keep Your Pregnancy Glow

Pigmentation/Melasma

During pregnancy, some women develop dark blemishes called melasma on their cheeks, forehead, nose and/or chin. It occurs due to increased melanin deposits in areas of skin but rest assured, it is not permanent. Liberal use of sunblock may help clear it sooner.

Related: Skin Care Tips During Pregnancy and After Birth

Oily Skin and Acne

Some women experience oily skin and acne due to the increased activity of their oil and sweat glands. Don't skimp on your daily cleansing skincare regime. Severe acne can be treated with topical antibiotics and creams through the recommendation of a dermatologist.

Related: Acne

Caesarean Section Wound


Some women are more prone towards keloid formation (overgrowth of fibrous tissue on the wound) during healing, and you may consider using a silicone-based cream on your wound to help with those scars.

Related: First Week After Delivery: Coping with Your Cesarean Section Wound

Sore Nipples


Your nipples may get sore from breastfeeding. Make sure that your baby is latching on properly. Take care to clean your breasts/nipples after every feeding. You may apply lanolin cream to help moisturise them as well.

Related: Breastfeeding

Dark Rings


Frequent, late-night feedings and lack of sleep may impact your skin's condition, especially the skin around your eyes, resulting in dark under-eye circles. Do try to get enough sleep and allow others to help look after the baby too so that you get sufficient rest, and let your skin recover from the rigours of pregnancy and delivery.


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Sources:

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore