Along with the myriad wonders and joys of impending motherhood - the miracle of giving life, the feeling of your baby's tiny foot kicking your belly for the first time and other such milestone memories, you may be faced with the less-than-silver lining of such common concerns as how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy . To many mothers-to-be, stretch marks are not a welcome part of the fabled pregnancy glow.
Stretch marks during pregnancy are a normal part of the process for most women, which some experts estimate to be as high as 90% of all expectant mothers. Still, that doesn't mean you may not want to mobilize the best tools in your arsenal to try to prevent them if at all possible. Luckily, there are a number of all-natural products and remedies at your disposal within easy reach. You can find some of them in your local drugstore, and you may even already have some of them at home in your cupboards. Best of all, there are a range of options available to suit varying needs and preferences.
Read on for some top tips to help prevent stretch marks. Even better is the fact that you can use these same products to treat any remaining baby stripes after your little one is born! Although nothing compares to the importance of bringing a healthy little bundle of joy into the world, with a few simple and all-natural products, you may just be able to begin your motherhood journey with a smoother ,stripe-free belly. Nothing wrong with that!
How to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy
Here's the thing: There is no absolute guarantee that any treatment or product will completely prevent stretch marks nor erase them should they pop up. Every women's body is different; products that may work for one woman may have no effect on another, while one woman may swear she's found the answer to stretch mark eradication, and another may claim there is no cure! Ultimately, perhaps the only conclusive answer to the age-old question of whether stretch marks can indeed be prevented is this: You don't know until you try. Not only that, a little extra pampering never did any mother-to-be wrong.
In the case of pregnancy, stretch marks are caused when the middle layer of the skin expands to accommodate a swelling belly. Medically speaking, stretch marks associated specifically with pregnancy are called striae gravidarum. During pregnancy, these bothersome scars most often pop up during the third trimester - and quickly. Stretch marks occur when skin fibers (technically, the middle later of the skin, or the dermis), are stretched beyond their natural elasticity.
A stress hormone called cortisol has also been implicated as a factor in the development of stretch marks as well as in a person's susceptibility to develop them. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands and weakens skin fibers. The more stressed you are, research suggests, the greater your body's susceptibility to this common skin trauma - so, in addition to stretch mark prevention methods, don't forget to relax and treat yourself as often as possible to lower your stress levels (and hopefully also your stretch mark susceptibility!) Relaxing baths, massages, movies and any of your favorite relaxation methods are great go-to's to help reduce your stress load, which benefits your health and your baby's health both.
Other common causes of stretch marks are rapid weight gain and growth spurts (especially common during the teenage years). The most common areas on which stretch marks tend to pop up are the breasts, abdomen, buttocks, thighs and arms. They come in a variety of colors and are also influenced by many factors, including family history and genetics, some medications, some medical conditions and the simple fact of being female (not fair, but true!)
While stretch marks do fade over time - sometimes to the point of being barely noticeable - they do not completely disappear without some form of treatment. Since susceptibility to stretch marks as well as responsiveness to treatment varies according to genetics, age, weight and other factors, some cases of stretch marks may not ever fully disappear. However, prevention methods during pregnancy in addition to post-baby treatment can significantly lighten stretch marks and sometimes even help them disappear.
The following are some potentially effective natural remedies to help you combat your case of mommy stripes. There are a variety of topical ointments, treatments and procedures available on the cosmetics market today to address the age-old question of how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy as well as how to remove them after your bundle of joy arrives.
Pregnancy stretch mark cream
Perhaps the most common pregnancy stretch mark prevention treatment is stretch mark cream and, among these, perhaps the most common and time-tested anti-stretch mark cream is cocoa butter. Cocoa butter comes in a variety of brands ranging from generic store brands to industry favorite Palmer's Cocoa Butter, which is touted as the #1 brand to combat stretch marks. This sweet-smelling cream offers a safe, all-natural formula to slather away stretch marks and leave your belly baby-soft to boot. To use, simply slather a generous amount all over your stomach and massage in gentle circles, finishing off by patting the remaining cocoa butter cream dry.
Although there is no research backing up cocoa butter's efficacy as a proven pregnancy stretch mark cream, thousands of women swear it has helped to keep their baby stripes at bay. What it aims to do is to be absorbed into the skin in order to hydrate and nourish the epidermis to help skin fibers become as healthy and elastic as possible to better accommodate a swelling belly. Cocoa butter formulas often include such skin-healthy ingredients as shea butter, pure cocoa butter, vitamin E, sweet almond oil and Argan oil.
Pregnancy stretch mark oil
Oils are another safe, natural way to hydrate away stretch marks and to pamper your burgeoning baby belly. There are a variety of oils available in various formulations, which feature natural and sweet-smelling active ingredients.
Vitamin E Oil: This light, vibrant green oil has been used by many women for a wide range of health and beauty purposes, including acne scars, anti-aging and daily moisturizing. Many beauty professionals claim Vitamin E oil helps to prevent scars from forming due to its rich concentration of nutrients and essential fatty acids that can not only help to prevent stretch marks but also help to reverse post-pregnancy scarring. It is a great way to topically treat stretch marks during pregnancy to rev up skin cell regeneration as well as to reduce the crazy itchiness you've likely gotten to know well as your belly blooms to accommodate your growing baby.
Grapeseed Oil: One popular scar-fighting oil, Grapeseed Oil,is actually a composite of various healthy oils including Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Beta-Carotine and Omega 6 and 9. It contains antioxidants and astringents which also help to tighten and tone the skin. It also helps to limit skin damage by promoting skin-healthy cells such as epithelium cells and nerve cells, thereby supporting skin healing from the inside out. Grapeseed Oil is known for being a potent wrinkle-reducer, sun spot-fighter and all around skin savior. Not only is this skin-friendly oil known for fading and preventing stretch marks, it also has a reputation for revitalizing skin texture and plumpness, helping your skin look its most beautiful.
Helychrysum Oil: This is an essential oil derived from the flowers of the helichrysum plant and is often used to promote skin healing and skin cell regeneration. Its other uses include treatment for acne scarring. It may also help to support improved circulation, which is in itself an important scar-fighting skin factor. It can be used as a toner to tighten and smoothe by simply adding a few drops into a DIY skin astringent. Helychrysum oil helps to promote skin cell turnover due to the large quantities of Vitamin A present in its formulation. It penetrates the skin on a cellular level for optimal scar-fading and texture-smoothing.
Sage Oil: Sage oil is extracted from the annual evergreen plant and can be directly massaged into skin or mixed into a soothing skin spray. Otherwise, you can splash a few drops in a warm bath to reap its skin-smoothing benefits. It has been used by women for many years for its anti-inflammatory and astringent properties.
Rosehip Oil: It has a scent similar to black tea and is considered a 'dry oil,' since it absorbs easily into the skin and doesn't feel greasy. Rosehip oil can be a great way to prevent and fade stretch marks, to plump and moisturize skin and to improve overall skin health. It is a rich source of essential fatty acids including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Omega 3 and Omega 6, Vitamin E and other skin-friendly antioxidants.
Here is a list of other popular, potent and intensely moisturizing oils to fade and ward away stretch marks:
Bitter almond oil
Best stretch mark cream for pregnancy
Our pick for the best stretch mark cream for pregnancy is Dermology stretch mark cream, which is available on Amazon and promises to stop stretch marks from forming and to fade already-present marks. It features an all-natural ingredient formulation designed to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, to promote skin elasticity and to condition the epidermis. Its active ingredients include Vitamin E, Vitamin D3, Squalene Oil, Aloe Vera, Grapeseed Extract and Vitamin A. It also aims to improve the quality of your skin along with its bounce and elasticity.
Our top pick in our stretch-mark fighting arsenal, Dermology stretch mark cream, aims to promote skin cell growth and cellular regeneration as its primary means to fade and heal stretch marks. It promises to improve the texture and smoothness of your skin for a silkier, scar-free baby belly. Its formula blend is designed to ramp up the production of both collagen and elastin to help your skin stretch out and bounce back with as minimal scar damage as possible.
Pregnancy stretch marks removal
Lastly, keep in mind that all of the above-mentioned creams, oils and formulations can be used after your baby bundle is born to further continue the process of scar damage treatment and post-baby skin healing. Your plan for pregnancy stretch marks removal should include a soothing, epidermis-healing regimen including your choice of key vitamins and hydrating properties to boost elasticity, dermal plumpness and overall skin health.
As you can see, you have a number of time-tested organic options in your arsenal as you embark on your personal mission to prevent stretch marks during your pregnancy . Whether you opt for a cream, an oil or the industry favorite Dermology stretch mark removal cream, all are gentle and also great a way to pamper your skin both while you are growing your baby and after your bundle is born. Happy pampering!