Last night I was a serious pain in the arse. I attributed this to a hypoglycaemia induced rage (didn't get my spag bol until 9pm) but I have now come to realise that I was going through post breastfeeding withdrawal (PBW).
I have been incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to breastfeed. I am a big supporter of women doing what is right for them; be that breast or bottle. I am also aware of how many of my friends have struggled to breastfeed, so recognise that this isn't something to be taken for granted.
That said, since my daughter started munching on humous and I returned to work I'd been feeling ready to tap out of further breastfeeding duties. In recent weeks my daughter had mostly just used me as a giant pillow when supposedly feeding and we were both ready to call time on the boob bar.
I hadn't really expected it to have much of an impact on me (I was too busy imagining what combinations of alcohol I could drink) however, I was wrong. After picking several fights with my husband, claiming that my daughter no longer cared about me & feeling like I couldn't cope with her whining for one second longer, I eventually realised that I was experiencing a PBW.
Understanding this and being made aware of my crazy hormones (yet again) has actually made this a more bearable experience (power is knowledge). And sorry as I am that my breastfeeding days are over, I am also feeling quietly liberated and ready to embrace all of those previously non breastfeeding friendly activities.
No. 1 on this list as a skincare obsessive was to crack out the retinol! Now, I was very cautious about using any topical acids during pregancy & to be honest my skin was the best it had ever been. I did reintroduce them during breastfeeding (glycolic, lactic & a bit of salicylic) but I refrained from cracking open the retinol powerball.
The risk of topical use appears to be pretty much zero but I wasn't going to take any chances and decided that to be 100% safe I would only use a retinol based product when this current period of reproductive activity was over. The use of oral retinol products (Vitamin A) for acne is MASSIVELY CONTRAINDICATED in pregnancy as it can lead to birth defects. So, understandably I wasn't going to be messing with that shit.
But now I am free to indulge in the hardest core but most well evidenced skincare ingredient around. I'd watched with envy as people slapped on their Sunday Riley Luna Treatment Oil and blogged about the amazing results. As an acne, hyperpigmented and wrinkle prone lady I knew that a retinol based product was my best chance at improving my skin.
And so by happy coincidence I attended a Zelens blogger evening hosted by the man himself, Dr Marko Lens. Dr Lens knows pretty much everything there is to know regarding skin improvement coming from a background in plastic surgery and dermatology. His brand of high end 'cosmeceuticals' are a combination of cutting edge science and plant extracts and are much championed by skin care bloggers. They are also on the pricey side so I was very fortunate to get several complementary (colour co-ordinated) macarons and the chance to hear about and test their new Treatment Drops range.
They have Vitamin A, C & D drops which were all equally inviting, but I headed straight for the Vitamin A Retinol sample to get my testing mitts on.
This product aims to 'promote skin renewal, improve skin tone & texture..........reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots.......& helps to clear blemishes....' Check, check, check. Most importantly for me it aims to do this with 'minimal or no irritation' as I am hypersensitive to pretty much everything.
I very briefly tried a prescription retinol cream a few years ago and my skin got very angry after a few uses and so I discontinued it. To be fair I think you do have to go through some skin side effects if you are using this stuff at prescription level, but according to the hype these lower level brands are supposed to be free from irritation.
I certainly hope so and am slightly apprehensive about possible side effects. So far I have only done one application & my skin was pretty red and itchy for the rest of the evening. Thankfully I woke up with no effects and am praying that I won't have too much Freddy Kruger fallout. The other point to mention is that you need to slap on the SPF with this stuff as it makes you much more sensitive to the sun. I hug the shadows any way, but applied a heafty dose of SPF 50 to be sure.
So there you have it. I shall report back on my foray into the world of retinol treatment drops. Everything is crossed that these will be my skin saviour as I move into a post breastfeeding world. X
Disclaimer: This blog is no substitute for any medical advice regarding the use of retinol based products in pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding. Always consult your GP or dermatologist.