Smiling mother holding her baby outdoors.

Breastfeeding is as hard as it is rewarding. Amidst all the crying spells and diaper changes, lactating women still have to deal with skin woes like cracked nipples and . Lack of sleep and the hormonal rollercoaster ride don’t help, either. But just like how you were advised to steer clear of various foods during pregnancy, some steps in your skin and body care routine may need some tweaking.

FYI, certain ingredients in cosmetics are generally considered too aggressive for breastfeeding moms due to several reasons. And if you’re asking, “Is retinol safe for breastfeeding?” the answer is a resounding no (more on this later). To help sort out any confusion about what you should and should not do, read this step-by-step guide and when in doubt, consult your doctor.

DO Practice Gentle Cleansing

Your go-to shower essentials may seem more irritating than they usually are. This is because your body is going through significant changes, which can leave your skin more sensitive. Instead of adding more products in a bid to calm your skin down, opting for a is the best way to go.

Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash removes dirt and impurities without altering your skin’s barrier function. The hypoallergenic formula is enriched with Moisture Renew Blend that goes deep into the epidermis, helping the skin to renew its moisture level. What’s more, it’s sulfate- and fragrance-free, so you can use it all over your body – including your face!

DON’T Over-Exfoliate Your Skin

Many lactating women experience (also known as the “mask of pregnancy”), a skin condition characterized by dark patches on the skin. Your first instinct might be to slough off as many dead skin cells as possible with or scrubs. However, sticking to your weekly exfoliation ritual can actually worsen your pigmentation issues. So, hold off on both , as well as other physical exfoliants for the time being. As an alternative, use a face and body mask with deep pore cleansing power.

DO Double Up on Hydration

There are two main reasons why your skin is super dry during the nursing period. For one, your body demands more H2O in order to make breast milk for your newborn. Additionally, hormonal fluctuations can reshape the structure of your skin, which causes a dip in oil production.

Patting on moisturizer won’t be enough to counteract these factors. Make sure all your skin and body care products are hydrating, starting with your soap. Use Dove Deeply Nourishing Body Wash with NutriumMoisture™ technology to revitalize your skin in the shower. It delivers nourishment deep into the surface layers of the skin, replenishing lost moisture as you cleanse.

DON’T Use Highly Active Ingredients

It’s important to know which skincare ingredients to avoid while breastfeeding. High doses of topicals like , , benzoyl peroxide, and hydroquinone can enter the bloodstream and be excreted into breast milk. Although the data is limited, these chemicals can also transfer to your little bub’s skin, raising potential safety issues.

Always check with your dermatologist and obstetrician before incorporating new skin products or treatments. Now is not the time to experiment. After all, the last thing lactating women need is a complicated A-to-Z routine. when it comes to postpartum skincare.

DO Self-Massage Techniques

It can be hard to find spare time for a spa trip when you’re juggling mom duties, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pamper yourself. A gentle massage can reset your body and mind. The best part? It will only take less than five minutes. Focus on areas where you feel tension, such as your breasts if you’re experiencing tenderness, or your shoulders and neck from holding your baby. This can also help alleviate conditions like clogged milk ducts and swelling.

DON’T Skip Sunscreen

Hormonal shifts that lactating women experience can also make the skin more sensitive to . Make it a habit to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on any exposed areas of your body every morning and reapply throughout the day. And, yes, you should use sun protection even if you’re staying indoors.

As for sunscreen selection, the general consensus is to reach for mineral formulas. A study published in the reveals that active ingredients found in chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin, which can be potentially dangerous for lactating women and babies.

The beginning of your motherhood journey may not always be smooth sailing. But hopefully, these skin and body care tips for lactating women can help you navigate the waves with confidence. Remember to show yourself a little extra love – you deserve it. And most importantly, communicate your questions and needs with your doctor who can best guide you through this special time.