One of the fears associated with pregnancy is the stretch marks. Stretch marks are most of the time associated with pregnancy though pregnancy is not the only time when you may develop some stretch marks on the skin. Frankly speaking, nobody likes stretch marks. It shakes your confidence, and you say goodbye to shorts or bikini as showing flesh is not an option anymore. This article is designed to inform you all about stretch marks and how to prevent them.
What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are the long narrow strips on the belly that you might notice after pregnancy. Hormones can soften your skin during pregnancy make it tear while stretching. Our skin has three layers, and stretch marks are formed in dermis, the middle layer when the skin is stretched beyond its limits of elasticity. This causes dermis to tear and allow deeper layers to show through. Though Pregnancy is not the only cause of stretch marks about 50-90% of women experience stretch marks in pregnancy.
You can get stretch marks not only belly, but you can develop them on thighs, breasts, and hips as well.
Can I prevent stretch marks?
Not all pregnant women develop stretch marks, and not everyone can prevent stretch marks. Some skin types are more prone to stretch marks, and genetic factor also plays their role. You are more likely to develop stretch marks if your mother or grandmother had them. Preventing stretch marks is a lot easier than trying to fade them later. Once stretch marks are formed, they would be difficult to disappear after delivery. The best way to treat stretch marks is either to prevent them or to treat them as early as possible. They turn into silvery white scars, they would be-be difficult to go.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks?
Here are a few ways to prevent Stretch marks in pregnancy.
Eating healthy is the first step towards preventing stretch marks. We understand that controlling weight in pregnancy is not in our hand most of the time but still by following a healthy and balanced diet plan you can control the excessive weight gain that is the main cause of developing stretch marks. Healthy and supple skin is less likely to develop stretch marks.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is important for collagen production. So add plenty of citrus fruits in your diet.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for healthy skin. You can get vitamin D from taking a sunbath or getting vitamin D fortified cereals or milk.
Zinc is another mineral that makes your skin healthy. Zinc-rich food also helps you to get supple skin, and it also reduces skin inflammation.
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated keeps your skin soft and supple. Soft skin is less likely to develop stretch marks. So include lots of fluids and water in your diet for healthy and stretch-mark-free skin.
Treat them as early as you see them
Stretch marks have two different types. These are actually not types but two stages of stretch marks.
- Purple or red Stretch marks
- White or silvery stretch marks
They start appearing on the skin as purple or red stretch marks. These marks are itchy too. And they are easier to treat as they still have blood vessels under the skin and blood circulation can help them heal.
Once stretch marks get old, it becomes white or silver. Which are the most difficult to treat and may need extensive treatments to fade or disappear.
Treating stretch marks is easy as soon as they appear or even before. There are several creams and lotions available for preventing stretch marks in pregnancy.
Moisturize your skin
A great way to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy is to keep your skin well moisturized. Choose a good cream or lotion and apply it twice to the areas that are more likely to develop stretch marks like belly, thighs, hips or breasts. You can choose an anti-stretch mark cream or lotion for this purpose too. Massage the cream well on your skin for deep penetration in skin, and it will also enhance the collagen production of your skin.
Exfoliate your skin
Exfoliation is important to remove any dead cell that may prevent the moisture from seeping into the skin. Exfoliation also promotes the growth of healthy skin cells, which can help keep your stomach, hips, thighs, and belly stretch marks free.
Some Home Remedies for Preventing and Treating Stretch Marks.
If you don’t want to spend much on expensive creams, then some simple home remedies can help you prevent stretch marks though these are not scientifically proven treatments but are extensively used for treating and preventing stretch marks.
Egg whites contain the protein and amino acids that provide nourishment to the skin and repair the damaged skin immediately. Simply whisk egg whites and apply them to the body parts you want to heal.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera gel is known for its healing and therapeutic properties. Remove the outer layer of Aloe Vera leaf and rub the gel gently on your belly or other parts.
Raw potato contains many vitamin and minerals. Applying potato juice or rubbing a piece of raw potato can heal the damaged skin and prevent stretch marks.
Lemon juice is excellent for removing blemishes or scars from the skin. Add a few drops of vitamin E into it and use it as a cleansing agent to prevent or heal any stretch marks.
Olive oil is a great moisturizer and prevents any stretch marks from forming in the first place. Olive oil massage improves the blood circulation in the skin and keeps it healthy and supple.
Cocoa butter is well-known for its healing and moisturizing abilities. Keep your skin well hydrated by massaging it with cocoa butter two times daily.
Stretch Marks Preventing Creams and Lotions
Stretch marks creams and lotions are an easy and convenient way to keep your skin moist, supple, and scar-free. Unlike home remedies, you don’t have to go through the trouble of collecting all ingredients which can be messy and time-taking. These creams are formulated with all the ingredients that might help you get rid of existing stretch marks or prevent them
When Can I Start Using Stretch Marks Creams or Lotions?
To prevent any stretch marks from developing it is recommended to start using it in the second trimester. It is the time when your body starts stretching and keeping it well moist and supple will help it to stretch without tearing.
How to Choose your Stretch Marks Cream or Lotion?
Many creams and lotions are available that help you stay away of stretch marks in pregnancy or heal the existing one. Some of the ingredients that your stretch mark cream should have been
- Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid is a healing agent that helps healing existing marks from within,
- Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter: These are excellent moisturizers that naturally hydrate your skin and make it soft and elastic. Soft and elastic skin will be less likely to develop stretch marks.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E plays a role in repairing your skin. It repairs the skin and heals the existing marks.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is great for softening your skin. It blocks the pores.
- Oils: Essential oils like lavender, primrose, or coconut will add the healing properties of your cream. Not to mention, they will give a heavenly scent to your body.
- Collagen: Your stretch marks cream should not only moisturize the body but stimulate the collagen production of the skin. Collagen is essential for the elasticity and strength of skin, and its deficiency will leave your skin loose, wrinkly, and rough.
Elastin Enhancers: Elastin enhancer help to increase the elastin fibers in the skin that is important for rapid skin stretching.
Ingredients to Avoid During Pregnancy
Retinal or Retinoic Acid
Vitamin A is important for skin health, but retinal or retinoic acid is not considered safe to be used in pregnancy. Using pharmaceutical levels of vitamin A may interfere with the development of the fetus and cause deformities. So you better stay on the safe side and avoid creams or lotions that include retinoid.
Parabens are used as a preservative in some creams or lotions. They stop the mold or bacterial growth in cream, but their use is not considered to be safe during pregnancy. The long exposure to such creams may risk the chemicals to get under the skin and affect the unborn baby. So make sure the cream or lotion you are using is free of paraben.
Best Creams and Lotions for Stretch Marks
Here we have selected some of the best creams that would not only help your skin remain moist, soft, and clear but will remove any existing or developing stretch marks.
Body Merry’s cream is excellent for enhancing your skin’s elasticity and strength. It not only prevents the stretch marks but heal the existing ones if your skin has already developed some. With ingredients like Shea butter and Cocoa, it keeps your skin moist and soft. Other ingredients include vitamin E, C, B3, B5 to nourish your skin. The cream stimulates the collagen production of skin that improves its elasticity and helps it stretch without tearing.
Body Merry’s cream is free of any paraben or other harmful ingredients that you don’t like to use in pregnancy. So keep your body well moisturized with this cream and enjoy your growing belly as stretch marks are not a problem anymore.
This one is a clinically proven formula to remove stretch marks and prevent them in pregnancy. The ideal blend includes vitamins and essential oils for reducing and preventing stretch marks and at the same time, keep your skin healthy and soft. Other natural and organic ingredients include Shea, cocoa, mango Butter, jojoba, and vitamin E.
The blend sinks deep into the skin, leaving your skin smooth and supple from outside.
The cream is ideal to be used in pregnancy and even long after that. It removes the discoloration, freckles, and other aging signs from skin too and works to increase its firmness, elasticity, and tightness.
Mederma’s lotion locks the moisture in the skin and helps to prevent stretch marks. You can start using it in pregnancy, in the second trimester, and keep using it even when you are breastfeeding for flawless skin. The cream combines a unique blend of ingredients like Cepalin, Hyaluronic Acid, and Centella Asiatica plant extract to nourish your skin, heal it from within, and repair any damage that is being done.
It enhances the collagen production of skin and helps in stretching without leaving any marks or scars. Mederma’s stretch mark therapy is a complete solution for taking care of your skin and preventing or healing any scars or stretch marks.
As we said earlier, Scrubbing or exfoliation of the skin is important as it removes the dead cells to help the moisture to seep in the skin. This natural coffee scrub is anti-cellulite scrub removes dead cells leaving your skin fresh and young. The clear skin will respond to your moisturizer better by locking the moisture inside. Its all natural ingredients are perfectly safe to use and work to make your skin more shiny and supple.
You can use it anywhere on the body that you might fear having stretch marks and apply your regular moisturizer or stretch mark cream afterward to gain the maximum benefit. The scrub repairs the damaged skin and evens the skin tone. The blend includes coffee, salt, sugar, and oils for nourishing and moisturizing your skin beside scrubbing.
Stretch marks are difficult to avoid on some skin types, but they should not leave you ashamed or conscious about how you look. They are a part of your journey and indicate what you have achieved. Pregnancy is nothing less than a miracle, and if it leaves some signs behind, take pride in it. You are more than skin and flesh, and few stretch marks can’t define your beauty. Do all you can to protect your skin and keep it well nourished. Having stretch marks or not doesn’t matter as long as you know how to carry yourself.