Stretch marks are red-purple streaks/lines that occur in overstretched skin. A lot of people first get these 'skin tears' during adolescence or puberty as their body grows and changes dramatically or in bursts. Statistics show that approximately 90% of women get noticeable stretch marks towards the end of their pregnancy due to the rapid growth of their belly, and the subsequent weight gain. (Study by the American Academy of Dermatology)
Unfortunately, genetics can play a huge role in who are more prone to these scars. If you're mother gained stretch marks during her pregnancy/ies, there's a good chance you're more susceptible to them too.
There are no promises or miracle treatments/cues for these pesky skin tears, yet there are several options in lowering the severity, darkness and quantity of Stretch Marks gained during pregnancy.
* Prevention & Consistency is Key to Results:
Personally, I became riddled with stretch marks on my hips and breasts as a teenager. I knew nothing about them at that age, and didn't apply any skin creams or lotions to my body during those years. For quite a while they were a dark, deep red and became more noticeable as I lost some weight around the age of 18. These zig-zagged lines down my sides and on my chest created many insecurities within me, and had massive affect on the types of clothing and swimwear I wore, compared to my friends. Now, in my mid 30's, those scars are very pale and faded (a silvery skin coloured shade), yet...they're still there.
When I fell pregnant with my first child I was convinced I was going to gain A LOT of stretch marks:
1. Due to my adolescence experience and
2. My Mother got some on her thighs during pregnancy
So I immediately began treating and conditioning my skin to increase it's elasticity in preparation for the changes coming. I was given some pregnancy-safe Cocoa Butter Lotion by a friend as a gift, but the scent (which I normally love) was not sitting well with me during that morning sickness period. After a lot of reading and a few Google searches, I decided to make my own oil (with very little scent) that I lathered & massaged into my tummy twice a day (usually after showers) for my whole pregnancy. And guess what? I gained 30kg during that pregnancy and delivered an almost 9 pound baby, and did not gain one single stretch mark. Maybe I was lucky....or maybe my consistent oil application helped significantly.
What Oil Did I Use?
I simply mixed together in a travel 'Shampoo' bottle (like these ones):
* Virgin Olive Oil
* Almond Oil
* Avocado Oil
All bought from my local grocery store.
Whatever oils/lotions/creams/moisturisers you use, just ensure they're pregnancy safe (most are if not ingested) and known for their ability to nourish the skin in prevention of stretch marks.
During my second pregnancy I alternated between my homemade oil mix and Bio Oil ( the Bio Oil was a good option when travelling). Again, I put on over 30kg and delivered a 10 pound baby - with only one small stomach stretch mark to show for it.
Consistency is the key. Simply make it part of your daily routine.
Ensuring your skin is moisturised will also assist in common dryness and itchiness that many women experience.
* Nourish From the Inside:
The food you eat during pregnancy plays a huge role in your skin's condition too. Your prenatal vitamins/supplements will be providing you with some of the skin-nourishing vitamins you need, but plenty of wholesome food is a must. That old saying "you are what you eat" has a lot of truth in it. Foods high in Vitamin C can have positive results on your skin tone and appearance. Vitamin A (carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy green vegetables) is known for it's ability to contribute to your skin's smoothness, and Vitamin E (some oils, seeds, nuts) provides your skin with sufficient moisture content.
Good hydration is super important for your inner-health, but also for your skin.
* Nothing Lasts Forever:
Both good and bad, nothing lasts forever. Your stretch marks will eventually fade, but never completely vanish. You can however speed up the time it takes for them to become less obvious. Massaging Coconut Oil into them daily is a natural way to help the tissue repair and reduce in colour. There are many commercial products in Chemists, grocery stores and beauty salons these days that claim to reduce the severity and appearance of stretch marks. Some are:
* Bio Oil $12.95
* Palmer's Stretch Mark Lotion $12.99
* Innoxa SOS Skin Tissue Oil $15.95
* Plunkett's Vita E Pure Oil $14.95
See your stretch marks as 'battle scars' - evidence that you grew, sustained and created life. That is pretty amazing ladies!!! However, if your stretch marks are really causing you major concern or insecurity, there are also laser and cosmetic options. Talk to a Skin Specialist, Dermatologist or Surgeon about these options.