5 Skincare Products That Changed My Skin For the Better

Let me tell you one thing, Mamas: my skin has come a long way. Although I never suffered from hormonal acne growing up, I struggled on and off with hormonal acne after giving birth to Liam and throughout my pregnancy with Noah. I think that once my hormones got all out of wack because of pregnancy, they never fully stabilized. Around the time of my period, I would get these horrible back to back breakouts that had me super self-conscious and down about myself.

After going vegan (about a year ago), the breakouts became noticeably milder and my skin much less inflamed, but I would still, nonetheless, get a couple imperfections during that time of the month. For almost four years, I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding exclusively, so treatment wasn’t an option. I felt desperate.

I’m sure you can imagine how long this post has been brewing for. I’ve been on a witch hunt (seriously) for the best skincare products and I am very excited with this current lineup. It’s truly changed my skin.

Note: All of the products below are pregnancy/breastfeeding safe, cruelty free, and paraben-free, which, as you know, are all very important criteria to me.

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After giving birth to Noah and making it through a long, grueling winter, I started realizing my skin looked dull and unhealthy.  I knew I had to adopt a skincare regimen that would regenerate my skin and make it glow again. Meet Serumtologie: I use both the Vitamin C Serum 22 and Pure Whipped Chiffon Anti-Aging Moisturizer in the morning and at night and saw a visible difference in my skin within just three weeks.

Unlike similar serums, this one contains 22% vitamin C which provides many benefits to the skin including hydration, skin softening and brightening, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and protection from damaging effects of the sun. Basically everything I was looking for! The chiffon moisturizer is rich and hydrating without clogging my pores or making me feel clammy all day. It truly is a miracle in a jar! With ingredients like green tea, aloe, shea butter, olive fruit oil, and vitamins, it delivers deep moisture, visibly nourishes the skin, and restores skin elasticity. I cannot say enough good things about this combination! It truly changed my skin!

Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 9.00.24 PMScreen Shot 2018-07-13 at 9.24.32 PMI discovered Supergoop! during my pregnancy with Liam and it has become my 2-in-1 sunscreen and foundation during the warmer months. Its all-in-one sun defense formula protects from UV induced photo aging while providing lightweight color coverage and correcting skin tone. Its 100% Natural Active Ingredients and Antioxidants provide triple protection from UVA, UVB and IRA (infrared rays), which is perfect for the summer months.

Right after applying my Serumtologie serum and moisturizer, I immediately lather my face with this CC Cream to make sure I am protected from the sun for the day. It also doubles as an amazing foundation, covering up imperfections and signs of exhaustion (hello, motherhood) quite beautifully.

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After my freshman year of college, I never set foot in a tanning salon again. That tanning bed phase will forever be one of my biggest regrets. Ugh, skin damage! Luckily, there are tons of self tanners out there that work wonders. But, of course, they aren’t all created equal… especially in terms of ingredients. I was horrified to read the ingredient lists of some popular products and just couldn’t justify using them.

Beauty by Earth created a self tanner formulated with the best organic and natural ingredients–Aloe Vera, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Argan Oil, Green Tea and Witch Hazel–that work to moisturize the skin while DHA works its tanning magic. This is the perfect, natural alternative to popular brands such as Fake Bake, St. Tropez and St. Moriz. The tan I get from this self tanner lasts a long time, fades evenly, and a little goes a long way. My go-to for special occasions when I want to act like I’ve been lying out in the sun all summer. I wish. I chase a toddler and breastfeed an infant all day.

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Over the years, I have tried more cleansers and face scrubs than I can count. Although I did love some of them at some points in time, there were always one or two ingredients that bugged me deep down. Christina Moss Naturals products have no harmful chemicals of any kind (no chemical preservatives, no SLS, SLES, Propylene Glycol, PG derivatives, parabens, sulfates, dyes or synthetic fragrance), and due to its concentrated formula, a 4 ounce tube of their facial wash is equivalent to 8 ounces of other products. A dime size drop will cleanse your whole face!

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Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 8.47.24 PM.png Last but certainly not least, I’ve fallen in love with the brand TreeActiv. Over the course of my pregnancy, and still to date, I have used their Acne Eliminating Face Cream, Acne Eliminating Face Cleanser, and Balancing Herbal Toner. When my skin has the occasional break out, this is how I avoid a flare up. I cannot recommend this brand enough and am so happy that they set such a great example for other skincare brands out there: cruelty free, palm oil free, GMO free, and paraben free. Clean, safe, and effective.


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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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