We firmly believe that nothing makes you feel more like a woman than being pregnant. You’re growing a new life inside you. Your body is changing to make that possible. You’re preparing yourself mentally and physically to love and nurture your new little one into a happy and healthy baby... What could be better?
Some of the changes that come with pregnancy can be less than appealing. Stretch marks are one such change that we’re sure you could do without. But what exactly are stretch marks? How do they form? And is there any way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy? We’ll answer all those questions in this article.
What Are Stretch Marks And How Do They Form?
Stretch marks are basically small scars located in the middle layer of your skin (dermis) that are visible in the top layer of skin (epidermis). They form when rapid weight gain or hormonal changes stretch the skin beyond its ability to repair itself. That’s why they’re called stretch marks.
Your skin has an amazing ability to stretch and adapt thanks to its collagen and elastin fibers. But when your skin stretches too fast or too far, it can tear slightly. When this happens, your body will immediately start working to heal the new scars. Despite our body’s natural defense mechanisms, small scars can still show up once everything is healed.
Stretch marks are most often associated with pregnancy because pregnancy hormones, like cortisol and estrogen, reduce the activity and effectiveness of the fibroblasts in your skin. This, in turn, reduces the collagen and elastin that give your skin its stretchiness. Couple that with your growing belly, thighs, and chest, and conditions are just right for stretch marks to form.
But enough of the technical stuff! Let’s get to the best ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
How To Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And while Ben probably didn’t have stretch marks in mind when he said it, we couldn’t agree more. The most powerful way to prevent stretch marks is to treat them early, before they even appear, and often.
This is important because once stretch marks have formed, they are more difficult to get rid of. It’s better to prevent them from forming than to deal with them after your baby is born. So, as soon as you know you are pregnant, start putting the tips we’ve provided below into practice.
1. Eat A Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is a great first step towards preventing stretch marks during pregnancy. Remember, stretch marks form because of rapid weight gain. That weight gain can’t be prevented—you are carrying a baby after all—but you can work to keep it within healthy limits.
We recommend a balanced diet that includes:
- Plenty of fruits and vegetables (at least 4 servings a day)
- Whole grains like oatmeal and wheat bread (6-11 ounces a day)
- Lean protein like chicken, fish, and beans (3 servings a day)
- Dairy products for calcium (1000 mg a day)
- A prenatal vitamin to fill nutritional gaps
Try to keep sweets and sugars to a minimum to minimize nausea. And because every woman—and every pregnancy—is different, be sure to talk to your doctor about a diet that’s right for you and your baby.
2. Hydrate Your Skin Twice Daily
A great way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy is to keep your skin hydrated. You’re likely used to doing that with your face and neck, but you may have to start hydrating other parts of your body as well.
We find that the best solution is to apply an all-natural Soothing Moisturizing Balm to your stomach, hips, thighs, and chest at least twice a day. Hydrating balms and creams work by increasing your skin’s elasticity. This allows your skin to expand and grow without tearing and forming stretch marks.
Make sure you choose a balm that is safe for pregnant women and has been proven safe for both mom and baby. For the best results, apply the moisturizing balm after your shower to maximize your skin’s ability to defend against stretch marks.
3. Apply A Stretch Mark Prevention Cream Or Oil
The best way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy is to use a specially-formulated Stretch Marks Prevention Cream or Stretch Marks Prevention Oil. These products feel great when applied and they go a long way toward keeping your skin soft, supple, and stretch mark-free during pregnancy.
We suggest a product with natural ingredients like avocado peptides, beeswax, shea butter, pomegranate, and baobab. Bao-what? Yes, some of these ingredients sound sort of strange. But though you may have never heard of them before, they are outstanding at helping your skin withstand stretching, improving its elasticity, and keeping it feeling soft, smooth, and silky.
4. Exfoliate Stretch Mark-Prone Areas Once A Week
To get the most from your moisturizer and your stretch mark prevention cream or oil, be sure to exfoliate your stomach, hips, thighs, and chest once per week. Exfoliating removes the dry and dead skin cells that may prevent your moisturizers and creams from penetrating to the lower layers of skin. Exfoliation also promotes the growth of new skin cells which can help keep your stomach, hips, thighs, and chest soft, supple, and stretch mark-free.
There are a number of natural herbs and ingredients that can be used as exfoliants. Our favorite natural exfoliants are baking soda and witch hazel. These ingredients can be applied directly to your skin and are gentle enough that they won’t damage sensitive skin. For an added exfoliating boost, rub stretch mark-prone areas with baking soda during your shower or apply witch hazel immediately after.
5. Massage Your Skin To Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
Moisturizers and stretch mark prevention creams only take a few minutes to apply. But if you take just 10 more minutes to massage these products into your skin, you can supercharge your body’s stretch mark prevention potential.
Gently massaging stretch mark-prone areas offers four benefits:
- It keeps skin supple and elastic
- It pushes the cream deep into your skin where it can do the most good
- It breaks up any stretch marks that may have started to form
- It directs blood to the skin to keep everything healthy
To get the most from your stretch mark massage, we recommend first applying a healthy dollop of cream to your fingertips. Then, massage this cream into your skin using gentle pressure and small circular movements. Do this everyday for amazing results.
How To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks After Pregnancy
If you’re already suffering from stretch marks, don’t worry. Getting rid of stretch marks after pregnancy is not impossible. Here are our two favorite treatment options.
1. Apply An Ultra-Targeted Treatment
An ultra-targeted treatment is your best option for healing stretch marks after pregnancy. It is cost-effective, easy to apply, and doesn’t require time consuming doctor visits. And trust us, you’re going to be busy enough once your baby arrives.
We recommend an all-natural, specially-designed Stretch Marks Recovery Serum. This unique serum includes Elastoregulator® that helps to revive the skin’s elasticity that was damaged during pregnancy. A good stretch mark recovery serum also contains micronutrients that will help your body break up scar tissue.
2. Use Invasive Treatments Only As A Last Resort
For stubborn stretch marks, you might want to consider invasive treatments like microdermabrasion and laser therapy. But try everything else first and use these treatments only as a last resort.
Microdermabrasion is essentially a super powerful exfoliant. It uses a spray of microcrystals to remove the outermost layer of dry, dead skin cells. Laser treatments also use small bursts of light directed into the middle layers of skin. Both treatments, while uncomfortable, will reduce the appearance of stretch marks by revealing younger, healthier skin.