Congratulations on the birth of your little angel!
After you’ve successfully handled the pressures and difficulties of a nine-month pregnancy, now you can see that you have surely changed in many ways.
On the downside, your skin has perhaps suffered the most. You may have stretch marks and loose skin, which can be quite frustrating to deal with.
Bringing a new life into the world is as herculean a task as it sounds. It calls for a complete physical metamorphosis on the part of the mother, which has its fair share of perks and drawbacks.
While most women derive a great deal of pleasure in sporting their ever-expanding baby bump during the gestational phase, they are not as pleased by the mess it leaves behind once the baby arrives.
The joy of becoming a new mother is somewhat tainted by the fairly cosmetic yet justified concerns about unsightly stretch marks and the sagging of skin post-delivery.
A lot of people think that the hardest part of pregnancy is delivering the child, not realizing that the ride only gets trickier once the baby is born.
As soon as you cross over the threshold of motherhood, everything becomes secondary to your baby’s health and well-being.
At a time when you are at your vulnerable, due to your crazy post-pregnancy hormones and the mountain of stress that comes with caring for a child, something as harmless as loose and saggy skin can take the wind out of your sails.
Why Does Your Skin Loosen After Childbirth?
Made of collagen and elastin, the skin is the body’s largest organ and goes through a lot during pregnancy. Collagen provides firmness and strength to the skin, whereas elastin provides elasticity and helps your skin stay taut.
Due to the growing baby inside your womb, the skin around your abdomen stretches a lot. As the expectant mother gains weight, the skin around her belly expands to make room for the fetus growing inside her abdomen.
On top of that, the weight gain during pregnancy also contributes to the sagging of the skin around your belly, waist, and upper arms.
It takes time and patience to get rid of sagging or loose skin. Factors such as your genes, bone structure, and how much weight you gained will determine how fast you can get back to your pre-pregnancy body.
Does the Loose Skin Tighten?
It’s natural to pine for your pre-pregnancy body, but you will have to manage your expectations in view of all other relevant factors that might influence your efforts to get back in shape.
You cannot lose sight of the fact that the loosening of your skin is gradual and spans over a long period and, thus, will take its own sweet time to become taut again. This natural stretching of the abdominal skin is further compounded by the extra pounds that you put on by eating for two.
While there is no way to circumvent your tummy from expanding during pregnancy, there are things you can do to help the stretched-out skin retract post-delivery.
Considering the extent and duration of skin expansion, you cannot expect to undo the damage in a jiffy. It can take anywhere between a few weeks to several months of concerted effort on your part to regain your pre-pregnancy shape.
You will have to channel the same patience that helped you get through the childbearing months, but a resilient and committed approach will definitely get you there.
Every mother has her own journey, whether it be before or after giving birth. It is imperative that you chart your own course instead of competing or taking a cue from others.
Every woman who signs up for motherhood must realize that their health will have a bearing on their child’s well-being as well and must act accordingly.
You cannot be reckless in the way you choose to shed the extra pounds, which means getting lean by compromising on your nutrition and overall well-being is completely unacceptable.
The drastic body transformation that occurs over the course of 9 months as your abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate a full-term baby cannot be undone in a matter of days.
Although consistent perseverance will help you inch closer to your skin and weight goals, you must be prepared for the possibility that your body might not return to its exact pre-pregnancy weight and shape.
How quickly and how successfully you manage to tighten your skin will depend upon the following factors:
- Your weight, shape, and size before you conceived your baby
- The extent of weight gained during the pregnancy period
- Your level of regular physical activity
- Your genetic makeup
There are many simple and effective ways to restore and rejuvenate loose skin after pregnancy. With some lifestyle changes and tips to improve your skin’s condition, you can get back your pre-pregnancy body and skin.
The Natural Way of Dealing with Loose Skin After Pregnancy
Here are the home remedies to get rid of loose skin after pregnancy.
1. Stick to a Healthy Diet
Eating healthy is important for firming up your post-pregnancy belly and tightening the loose skin around it.
Depriving your body of a steady supply of nutrients by mindlessly cutting down on your diet is a deal breaker. Every decision regarding your health, dietary or otherwise, should be properly calibrated.
A weight loss diet that exacts huge concessions from your daily dose of nourishment will rarely produce sustainable results. You might appear slimmer, but you may feel more fatigue.
Moreover, restoring your skin’s elasticity relies heavily on adequate supplementation of certain nutrients that are known to trigger collagen synthesis and combat oxidative stress.
Thus, the first line of defense against loosened skin is to consume a well-balanced and nutritionally sound diet. Do your skin a favor by eating foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins E and A, and omega-3 fatty acids, which will not only help your skin heal quickly but will also build its elasticity.
Furthermore, supercharge your diet with skin-friendly herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, oregano, ginger, garlic, and cloves. Certain fruits and vegetables are also bestowed with naturally occurring substances such as lipoic acid, which could help refresh and tighten your lackluster skin.
When speaking of skin-enhancing nutrients, one cannot look past the role of protein in facilitating the production of collagen and other components that lead to healthy-looking skin. To be more specific, it is the amino acids lysine and proline that are majorly attributed with stimulating collagen synthesis inside the body.
Lean protein also helps build lean muscle, which helps your body burn more calories.
Your protein requirement depends on your weight and how much physical activity and strength training you do. As a general rule of thumb, most women need about 50 grams of protein a day. If you are more active, you may need more.
Some good sources of protein are milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, beans, soy, and legumes.
2. Exercise Regularly
Your body may be weak after delivery, but you must start exercising as soon as your body is ready. There is no need to exert yourself, though.
Once your doctor gives the green light regarding your health, you should focus on strength training. Opt for exercises that work the tummy directly, such as sit-ups, planks, bicycle crunches, and side bridges.
Along with strength training, cardio exercises will help get rid of the fat under your skin, leaving it tighter and firmer.
If going to the gym is not possible with a newborn baby to take care of, try to make time to run, bike, swim, or dance to lose fat and make your skin tighter and more beautiful.
3. Drink More Water
Staying well-hydrated will improve your skin’s appearance and help get rid of the loose skin.
Without water, your skin will certainly not look its best. In fact, lack of hydration can make your skin dry, tight, and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling, which in turn can make your post-delivery loose skin even worse.
Drink an ample amount of water throughout the day to improve your skin’s texture and make it more elastic. Water intake can also help your body burn fat more easily and reduce water retention in your belly.
Along with drinking water, apply a moisturizing lotion on your skin on a regular basis.
4. Apply Aloe Vera to Your Skin
Aloe vera has natural skin-tightening properties that can help get rid of loose skin post-delivery. The malic acid in aloe vera helps improve skin elasticity. Plus, it is a gentle moisturizer for your skin without making it greasy.
- Extract the gel from an aloe vera leaf.
- Smear the gel on the affected skin.
- Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Wash it off with lukewarm water.
- Do this once daily.
6. Exfoliate Once a Week
When it comes to skincare, aside from applying moisturizer regularly, exfoliating the skin at least once a week is important.
To keep it simple, you can exfoliate your skin when you bathe by just using a loofah.
7. Massage the Problem Area with Plant Oils
Being a good source of antioxidants and fatty acids, coconut or olive oil can reverse skin damage caused by hormonal changes and increasing weight during pregnancy. Plus, it will help improve skin tone and texture.
- Put some lukewarm olive or coconut oil onto your palms.
- Rub your palms over your abdomen in an upward motion.
- Massage gently for about 15 minutes to increase blood flow and stimulate cell repair.
- Do this two or three times a day.
8. Choose to Breastfeed Your Baby
Breastfeeding is a good source of nutrition for your baby, and health experts recommend breastfeeding over bottle-feeding to help your baby grow healthy both physically and mentally.
While breastfeeding is good for your baby’s health, it also helps you reduce loose skin by burning calories.
Breastfeeding your baby and milk production let you spend calories, which in turn helps you lose the extra pregnancy pounds gradually.
Losing weight slowly will help tighten your skin and restore its elasticity, so your skin looks beautiful again.
9. Lose Weight Slowly
Losing weight is one of the best things you can do for your skin. However, you need to focus on losing weight slowly to give your skin more time to recover and regain its elasticity.
When you lose your pregnancy weight too fast, it does not give your skin time to recover. Moreover, losing weight too fast means you will start losing both fat and muscle. Losing muscle will make the problem of loose skin even worse. Muscle is needed to maintain a tight, toned body.
Also, losing muscle quickly will lower your metabolism, which undermines your weight loss efforts.
When it comes to weight loss, your goal should be to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.
10. Increase Your Vitamin C Intake
Eating more foods rich in vitamin C can help get rid of post-delivery loose skin and maintain your skin’s health.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that boosts production of collagen fibers, which help keep your skin smooth and firm. It also improves elasticity and promotes the growth of new skin cells.
In order to get vitamin C, include bell peppers, guava, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, strawberries, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, and papaya in your diet.
11. Use a Fuller’s Earth Body Pack
Fuller’s earth stimulates blood circulation and improves skin elasticity.
- Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of Fuller’s earth powder in a bowl.
- Add enough water (or rose water) to make a smooth paste.
- Optionally, you can add a little honey to the paste.
- Apply this paste on the abdomen and allow it to dry.
- Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Use this pack once or two times a week.
Pro Tips for Reducing Post-Pregnancy Belly Skin
The following tips will help your skin-tightening efforts yield better and faster results:
- Instead of starving yourself, you may fare better results if you follow a composite diet and exercise regime that allows you to lose the flab gradually. Crash dieting in the hopes of speedy results can actually be counterintuitive. You may lose weight sooner, but crash dieting comes with a catch. People who lose weight this way have a tendency to regain the pounds as soon as they go off the diet. Besides, depriving yourself of adequate nutrition will also reflect poorly on your skin. Thus, it’s better to aspire for a more measured and progressive weight loss that will help enhance the elasticity of your skin.
- If you are prone to stress and anxiety, make concerted efforts to avoid situations that can get you worked up. A mind that is at peace will have a positive bearing on the condition and appearance of your body.
- Try not to use harsh soaps that have sulfates in them, as they can rid the skin of its inherent moisture and leave it increasingly irritated.
- You can opt for certain over-the-counter lotions and creams to enhance collagen synthesis in your slackened skin, thereby improving its elasticity and making it taut.
- Protect your skin from the UV rays of the sun by wearing premium-quality sunscreen when going out and covering up as much exposed skin as you can.
- Tanning beds are a complete no-no, as they can dry out your skin and severely harm its integrity.
- When going for a swim in the pool, be sure to cleanse your skin off the chlorine by taking a shower afterward.
- You can also get a spa treatment from time to time. Getting your skin massaged by a professional masseuse will stimulate blood flow and promote skin elasticity.
- While continuing with your weight management efforts, you can also consider interim measures such as using shaping and support undergarments to hold your abdomen and loose skin in place.
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