The Face Of A Tired Mom
Adriana Lima, a Victoria’s Secret model who gave birth to her first child last year, was mocked for her postpartum appearance.
The supermodel took to her Instagram Stories on Wednesday 15 November to post a selfie with her hair in a ponytail and seemingly no makeup with text across the screen that read: “The face of a tired mom of one teenage girl, two pre-teens, one active boy, a one-year-old learning to walk, and three dogs…thanks for your concern.”
The post on Instagram Stories comes only one week after she shared a post about a photoshoot with Bulgari on 8 November. In response to the post, many commented on Lima’s appearance, while others questioned whether she’d undergone cosmetic procedures.
“She did something to her face,” one comment began. “Botox, fillers, she’s not the same.”
Lima, who is known for being a strong advocate for body positivity, utilised this incident to bring attention to the greater issue of bodily alterations that women typically endure after childbirth.
Melasma (dark skin patches), hair loss, postpartum blues, stretch marks, and changes in skin. Fluid retention caused by postpartum body changes can also result in a puffy appearance and swollen extremities.
“Changes of pregnancy on physical, mental and emotional health of new mothers can be challenging and can give rise to long term effects,” says Dr Vaishali Joshi, senior Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Kokilabein Ambani Hospital.
Since each woman’s experience with postpartum skincare is different, no two regimens are alike. Stretch marks may be visible to some women, while pigmentation, dark circles, acne, and changes in skin texture may be noticeable to others.
Mask of pregnancy
Melasma, commonly known as the “mask of pregnancy,” refers to dark patches of skin that can appear on the face during pregnancy. Moles and freckles may also become deeper.
“A darker skin type puts you at a higher risk of developing melasma because, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, darker skin types naturally have more active pigment-producing cells,” explains Dr. Stuti Khare Shukla, M.D., Dermatologist, founder, Elements of Aesthetics, Hair Growth Queen of India, and Founder of FDA-Approved Hair Growth Booster.
“Dark, pigmented patches that appear on the face, especially on the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip, are the hallmarks of melasma. Although melasma can affect anyone, women are more likely to get it, particularly when they are childbearing,” says Dr Madhu Chopra MBBS, DORL, Cosmetologist. managing director of Studio Aesthetique.
During pregnancy, some women may also have darkening of the neck skin, more freckles, and ‘Linea Nigra’ (a dark line reaching from the bellybutton to the top of the pelvic bone).
“This is due to pregnancy’s high levels of oestrogen and progesterone hormones, as well as Melanocyte (pigment cells in the skin) stimulating hormones action on the skin, which causes excess skin pigmentation,” says Dr. Vaishali Joshi adding, “Exposure to UV light or sunlight increases its spread and darkness.”
“This pigmentation is not harmful or precancerous, and it usually resolves over time after delivery, rarely leaving permanent marks on the body,” explains Dr. Vaishali Joshi, adding, “This can affect women’s self-confidence and body image. It may have an impact on their professional career, especially if they work in the entertainment business.”
Treatment for melasma requires a multifaceted strategy that includes lifestyle changes, customised skincare, and professional treatments. “The first step is understanding the unique characteristics of the individual’s skin through a detailed consultation,” Dr. Madhu explains adding, “Following this, a customised regime is developed, taking into account the specific skin type and melasma severity. Moisturisation, an essential component for maintaining skin health, is incorporated into the day and nocturnal routines. An essential component of this regimen is the diligent use of sun protection, which includes combining sunblock and a high-SPF sunscreen with frequent reapplication every four hours.”
“In addition, newer agents, such as tranexamic acids, have emerged with excellent results. Chemical peels including lactic acid or glycolic acid are routinely used and can be extremely effective. A trichloroacetic (TCA) peel may be required in more severe situations. While lasers are sometimes necessary, the majority of people see considerable changes with constant use of topicals and chemical peels,” says Dr. Stuti Khare Shukla.
Water is vital for keeping skin hydrated. This regimen emphasises drinking plenty of water to promote overall skin health. “This holistic and personalised approach aims to address melasma from multiple perspectives, ensuring a more effective and long-term treatment outcome,” sums up Dr Madhu.
Treatment for melasma requires a multifaceted strategy that includes customised skincare, and treatments. Newer agents, such as tranexamic acids, have emerged with excellent results. Chemical peels including lactic acid or glycolic acid are routinely used and can be extremely effective. — Dr. Stuti Khare Shukla, Dermatologist, founder, Elements of Aesthetics
Although the exact cause of melasma is unknown, hormone fluctuations are thought to play a significant role. During pregnancy, hormones such as progesterone and oestrogen are elevated, which can lead to an excess of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour.” — Dr Madhu Chopra, Cosmetologist. managing director of Studio Aesthetique.
This pigmentation is not harmful or precancerous, and it usually resolves over time after delivery, rarely leaving permanent marks on the body. This can affect women’s self-confidence and body image.” — Dr Vaishali Joshi, senior Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Kokilabein Ambani Hospital