Pregnancy can be tough on your skin. In fact, most women experience some degree of loose skin after childbirth and are often left feeling self-conscious or isolated in their new bodies. You’re probably wondering,
“If loose skin is so normal, why does it feel so abnormal?”
The truth is that popular culture leads us to believe we should all just snap-back after childbirth and puts emphasis on the wrong type of bounce back. Everyone’s postpartum journey is unique, and at Every Mother, we are a firm believer in slow, safe, strength building that restores core strength and function – we don’t cut corners. So when it comes to loose skin, we take a similar approach! How quickly and completely overstretched skin regains tone and elasticity is largely up to genetics and age, but here are 5 tips to tighten your loose skin after pregnancy and support skin health from the inside out without surgery.
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! Follow the coaching we provide in our foundational videos to coordinate your breath and pelvic floor for optimal effectiveness.
Beyond the circulation benefits of moderate cardio (a benefit you receive from our EMbody 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.
To learn more, check out the 13 Superfoods I suggest my clients include in their diet.
Hydration is essential to tighten loose skin after pregnancy. Doctors recommend that women drink between 2-3 liters daily to maintain optimal body function – so 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 of 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 tips above for 12 weeks and make a note of your skin’s appearance weekly. Perhaps 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 speed up the healing process.