4 skin problems that new mums may experience

Between sleep deprivation, hormones and general life upheaval, early motherhood can play havoc with women’s bodies – and it’s no different for their skin.

Take a look at some of the common skin issues many new mothers face – particularly if they are breastfeeding – and how to tackle them:

Dry skin

Breastfeeding changes the skin as oestrogen levels fluctuate, says dermal therapist Giulia D’Anna.

“Oestrogen is responsible for collagen formation and can have a big impact on hydration too. Most breastfeeding women will notice how dry their skin becomes,” says Dr D’Anna.

Breastfeeding mothers should drink at least two litres of water a day to help rehydrate dry skin, she says.

Cracked nipples

The benefits of breastfeeding are well known, but it can be tricky for mums and babies to master at first.

If the baby isn’t attaching correctly, it can cause sore, cracked nipples for mum.

Perth Children’s Hospital dermatologist Dr Anne Halbert says bland, greasy emollients can help prevent nipples cracking and becoming infected.

Hand dermatitis

With caring for infants comes the need for frequent handwashing, which often leads to hand dermatitis, says Dr Halbert.

“Soap substitutes should be used or alcohol rubs if the hands are not soiled, and a barrier cream frequently applied and hand cream,” she says.

Dermal therapist Dr D’Anna says soaps remove the naturally occurring oil on the skin that usually keeps the moisture locked in.

“To combat this, moisturise, moisturise and then add some more moisturiser,” she says.


Dr D’Anna says oestrogen produced during breastfeeding can also induce elevated pigmentation levels in the skin, called melasma.

“This is hormone driven, and needs special care,” she says.

“Using a vitamin C serum can help protect the skin with its potent antioxidant properties.

“I recommend using this every morning after cleansing.

“Vitamin C is naturally-occurring, brightens the skin and evens out skin tone.”

Written by Sally Heppleston.