After pregnancy, many women experience overstretched skin on the abdomen. Here are some healthy steps to support the health and resilience of your skin.
Compared to recovering core strength and function, overstretched skin can take the longest to recover postnatally. How quickly and completely overstretched skin regains tone and elasticity is largely up to genetics and age, but there are a few things you can do to boost skin recovery post-pregnancy. We all know that sleep is important for skin health… but take heart knowing you can take these practical steps to support skin health from the inside out when getting adequate sleep isn’t a realistic goal.
First of all, anything you can do to improve and strengthen the integrity of the connective tissue will help the skin recover tone and elasticity. Keep doing your daily Core Compressions™ ! Combine each squeeze with a Kegel for optimal effectiveness.
Beyond the circulation benefits of moderate cardio (a benefit you receive from our Reclaim workouts), cardiovascular exercise will not do much to improve the stretched out skin. In fact, overtraining for endurance activities can actually deplete your skin and further compromise recovery.
On a nutrition level, cod liver oil is an exceptionally bio-available food source of vitamins A & D plus omega-3’s, all of which are excellent for skin health. Carlson is a superior brand that tests for mercury, and their lemon flavor is fresh and delicious – not at all fishy. But you can also choose gel caps if that’s more appealing. Salmon and chicken (both with the skin!), berries, plain whole milk yogurt, grass-fed butter, liver & traditional soup broths are all terrific choices to nourish the skin and connective tissue. Broths have the added benefit of promoting mineral balance and hydration, and they provide an easily digestible form of collagen.
Avoid sugars and refined carbohydrates. They sabotage skin health.
Hydration is essential. Keep yourself well hydrated, both inside and out. Drink plenty of water, and salt food to taste (do not restrict salt as this can disrupt mineral balance and hydration). Several times a week, gently massage your choice of natural oils (coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil) into the skin after a shower or bath, when the skin is moist and warm. These conditions maximize absorption. Castor oil has the added benefit of uniquely deep penetration to soften and release scar adhesions, so choose castor oil if you’ve had a C-section or other abdominal surgeries – even in the distant past. It’s never too late to release the scars and nourish your skin.
A couple times each week, soak for 10-15 minutes in a warm mineral salt bath sprinkled with Epsom salts & essential oils. This combination can help restore mineral balance & deeply nourish the skin. (Plus the salt prevents the essential oils from clogging your tub!)
And finally, a supplement to consider is collagen. I haven’t seen convincing published research that it will make a noticeable difference, but anecdotally speaking I know women who swear by it. If you are interested in exploring a collagen supplement, ask your doctor before taking this or any supplement to ensure it’s appropriate for you.
Implement the above tips for 12 weeks and make note of your skin’s appearance on a weekly basis. Perhaps even take a photo every few weeks under similar conditions. It takes time for the skin to recover, but these self-care strategies support your body’s natural resilience and can quicken the healing process.