Mother’s Day is right around the corner (but you already knew that!) so in honor of this very special day, we connected (virtually) with our very first Global Dermatology Ambassador — and new mom — Dr. Joyce Park.
Dr. Park is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and practices medical and cosmetic dermatology in Northern California. A proponent of healthy living and clean beauty, she created her lifestyle blog, Tea with MD, in 2011, focusing on medicine, science-based skincare, and beauty from a dermatologist’s vantage point. Here, Dr. Park shares her pregnancy skincare journey, what life is like as a new working mom and the lessons (and beauty tips!) she’s learned from her own mother.
First off, congratulations on the birth of your son last November! Do you have any advice for new moms?
The number one advice I have for new moms is to be kind to yourself and to give yourself grace. I could write volumes on this, as I learned this the hard way! The postpartum period is filled with so many challenges, both physical and emotional, as you heal from childbirth and adjust to life with a newborn. Plus, the hormonal roller coaster is no joke. Do not place undue pressure on yourself to be, look, or feel a certain way. Everyone’s journey with motherhood is unique, and you are the best mom for your baby, just the way you are.
What are the most common skin changes you see with clients who are expecting?
Our skin goes through so many changes when we are pregnant. One common change is the development of stretch marks, which happens as our skin gets physically stretched to accommodate the baby, and also weight gain. I also commonly see darkened pigment in many skin areas due to hormonal changes, including the face in the form of melasma, a vertical line down the stomach called the linea nigra, the armpits, nipples and groin.
Did you personally experience any changes in your skin when you were pregnant? What adjustments did you have to make to your daily routine?
I experienced many stretch marks on my abdomen, which are often genetically determined in nature. I became a religious body oil and body ointment user multiple times a day, which was a change for me because I used to like lotions, which were easier to rub in.
Because pregnant women are at increased risk of developing melasma, a tan brown discoloration on the face, I recommend incorporating products with antioxidants such as niacinamide to help combat this. I also became even more fanatical about using hats to cover up from the sun; I even wore hats during my walk from the parking lot to my clinic.
How has your approach to beauty evolved since giving birth to your son? Any time-saving, go-to products?
I’ve always been a big fan of simple and fast beauty routines, and I’m an even bigger fan of that now that I have limited time for myself! I’m loving products that can serve multiple purposes, such as the bareMinerals COMPLEXION RESCUE Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30. This hydrates my skin and protects against the sun, all while delivering a tinted glow!
I also pick out a couple key steps in my beauty routine that consistently help elevate my look when I’m short on time. For me, eyeliner and blush are my go-tos for a fresh natural look that takes me less than two minutes to apply.
As a new mom, what does your daily skincare regimen look like?
With limited time for myself, I stick to the basics when it comes to skincare. My daily regimen includes cleanser, serum with antioxidant, moisturizer, sunscreen during the day, and eye cream at night. I’ve been using the PURENESS Skincare Collection; I tend to have red, sensitive skin that flares with stress and lack of sleep, and I like how the Gel Cleanser and the Soothing Light Moisturizer are gentle enough for everyday use.
I also like the SKINLONGEVITY Vital Power Infusion Serum, as the first step after cleansing, to help hydrate and also strengthen my skin morning and night. This contains the antioxidant niacinamide to help protect against environmental stresses. Niacinamide works to protect the top layer of the skin while also working within the skin to help with the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration.
In the morning I use the COMPLEXION RESCUE Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30 if I want tinted coverage or the COMPLEXION RESCUE Defense Radiant Protective Veil with SPF 30 for a glowy, UV-protected look.
At night, I include eye cream to combat those sleepless nights! I like the SKINLONGEVITY Vital Power Eye Gel Cream to hydrate the skin around my eyes.
What kind of skincare wisdom did your mom impart onto you when you were growing up, that still resonates now?
My mom is my role model when it comes to beauty! She has imparted so many pearls to me, many of which I didn’t listen to when I was growing up, but I wish I did. The biggest one is to always wear sunscreen to protect my skin from UVA and UVB rays. I cringe thinking back to the times in college when I would lay out on the lawn and try to tan. Exposure to UV radiation from the sun does not only increase your risk for developing skin cancer, but it also causes skin aging in the form of dark spots, wrinkles, and sagging and leathery texture of the skin.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your mom? What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your son?
My entire life my mom has repeatedly told me what her three priorities for me are: health, happiness, and everything else, including success. I think about that mantra on a daily basis, and it helps me refocus my time and energy. She is a wise woman and I am lucky to have her as my role model.
My son has taught me to give up control and go with the flow, which was a difficult lesson to learn for a Type A individual like myself. Having a newborn teaches you that putting in more effort does not directly mean success; you cannot MAKE a newborn sleep or breastfeed a certain way no matter how hard you try! Luckily my husband is easygoing, and he helps calm me down when I feel uncomfortable with new situations that I can’t control.
What’s the best gift someone could give you this Mother’s Day? What do you plan to gift your mom?
Is it crazy for me to ask for a full night’s sleep? That’s all I can think about after six sleep deprived months — one glorious night of uninterrupted sleep in a comfortable bed sounds like heaven!
For my mom, I plan on gifting a framed picture of her, her grandson — taken during his newborn photoshoot when he was one week old — and me. It is such a special memory!