A new mother may be confronted with skin and hair problems, usually due to hormonal imbalances, caused by a fall in estrogen levels after pregnancy. If there are nutritional deficiencies, this also reflects on the skin, in terms of a pale and sallow complexion. A nutritious diet, adequate sleep and relaxation are essential for both beauty and health, especially for new lactating moms. Herbal and home remedies are useful for new mothers so that what you apply on skin or scalp does not have a detrimental effect on the baby.

“Chloasma or “Pregnancy Mask” may occur after pregnancy, in which the skin develops dark patches on forehead, nose and cheeks. As a home remedy, add a pinch of turmeric to yoghurt (curd) and apply daily on the dark patches. Leave it on for 20 minutes and wash off with water. For stretch marks, mix gram flour with yoghurt and turmeric into a paste. Apply on the area thrice a week and wash off after 30 minutes.

You may also face a problem of stretch marks on the abdomen. Massaging the abdomen with olive oil or “til” oil helps to lighten stretch marks over a period of time. Use wide circular strokes to keep the skin toned and restore elasticity,” explains beauty expert Shahnaz Husain. Here are some other home remedies she suggests:

A sunscreen protects the skin from UV rays. Select a sunscreen with SPF of 20 or 25. Apply it 20 minutes before sun exposure.

Mix ground almonds or rice powder with curd, add a pinch of turmeric and apply on the face. After 15 minutes, rub gently on the skin with small circular strokes, especially on the dark patches or stretch marks. Wash off with water.

Haircare
Post-pregnancy hair loss is common. Once the hormones settle, the condition may be controlled, but take good care of the hair. Nutrition is very important as a nutritional deficiency can lead to hair loss. Select a mild shampoo to wash the hair, using less shampoo and rinsing well with water. Choose herbal shampoo and hair tonics. Or make herbal hair-washing preparation at home. Take a handful each of dried shikakai, reetha and amla. Add them to one litre of water and soak overnight. The next day, simmer the herbs with the water on a low fire, till the water reduces to half the quantity. Allow the mixture to cool and then strain it with a clean cloth. Use the liquid to wash your hair. This quantity should be enough for four to five washes and save time. Keep your home-made hair cleanser in the refrigerator for further use. Always make small quantities of home formulations at a time.

For hair loss, we recommend the application of herbal hair tonic on the scalp daily and leaving it on. Apply oil once a week the night before shampoo. Avoid head massage. If there is hair loss, the roots are already weak and massage may aggravate the problem. If the scalp is oily, or if there is dandruff, add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a mug of water and use it as a last rinse after shampoo.

Drink plenty of water. A nutritious diet helps healthy hair growth since the hair is actually fed by the nutrients in the bloodstream. Include fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouts, leafy green vegetables, whole grains and curd in the daily diet. Sprouts contain amino acids, which are very beneficial to the hair. However, ask your doctor before making changes in your diet if you are a lactating mother. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of water and have it first thing in the morning. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements.