There has very recently been a high profile campaign #loveyourlines
carried out among women to see if their attitudes to stretch marks have changed.
The campaign gave women the opportunity to embrace their stretch marks by sharing images of themselves and their "lines" on social media but it found that, for most ordinary women, “stretch marks” are really not something they want to post on facebook and elsewhere. Their response was a definite “No”.
Nevertheless, there will always be those who are less publicity shy and happy to pose and to post.
It really does not matter either way
Stretch marks get pigeon-holed along with all the other drawbacks of pregnancy such as weight gain, back pain, sagging breasts and sleep deprivation. They are not always considered “a badge of honor” or the “battle scars” of motherhood. In fact in one survey, the thought of stretch marks in pregnancy was the highest fear put forward by those in the 18 to 24 age group and, across all age groups, some 70% of women said they were unlikely to show their pregnancy stretch marks in a bikini selfie.
What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are narrow streaks or lines that occur on the surface of the skin. Doctors often refer to stretch marks as stria, striae or – during pregnancy – striae gravidarum.
The areas most often affected by stretch marks include the abdomen, buttocks, breasts and thighs.
Initially, they are often red or purple before gradually fading to a silvery-white colour. Stretch marks are usually long and thin.
They appear because the skin suddenly stretches while the middle layer of skin (dermis) breaks in places, allowing the deeper layers to show through.
The skin can be stretched:
- during pregnancy
- as a result of weight gain
- due to growth spurts during puberty
Our top 10 tips to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy
1. Start moisturising your skin on a daily basis as soon as you discover you’re pregnant. Your skin will need as much elasticity as it can get so commence a program of taking care of your skin as early as possible. And don’t stop – keep moisturizing your skin right from the first trimester until well after you have given birth and returned to your pre-pregnancy weight.
2. We always recommend the natural route and preventing and treating stretch marks is no exception. Oils that are specially formulated for stretch mark prevention and stretch mark removal
will help enhance collagen production and support the dermis, keeping the skin intact, despite all that stretching, while guaranteeing a greater chance of preventing and/or eliminating those stretch marks – gently and naturally.
3. Drink lots of water as staying hydrated is not only good for you and your baby, it’s also good news for your skin which will be in better shape to stretch gently.
4. Limit your weight gain to no more than the recommended amount of 25 to 35 pounds and this should be as gradual as possible to let your skin stretch at a steady rate.
5. Good nutrition is vital for your developing baby but also contributes to the strength and health of your skin. Just the regular intake of plenty of fresh fruit, herbs and of course vegetables can improve the skin dramatically by increasing the objective markers of skin health.
6. Your diet should include foods rich in zinc such as nuts and fish as well as those high in vitamins A, C and D - carrots, citrus fruits and milk and those foods rich in protein such as eggs. Don’t forget to eat avocados whenever you can.
7. Use a brush or wash cloth to massage the areas where you have noticed stretch marks or want to prevent them occurring. This will increase circulation to the area.
8. Keep on taking your extra vitamins. For example, vitamins E, A and D3 are particularly helpful to encourage good skin health. The effect of Vitamin E both internally and externally is thanks to its regenerative effect on skin, penetrating deep into the skin to stimulate the growth of new cells while replacing the scar tissue found under stretch marks. Its application will make the skin less likely to tear, significantly decreasing the chance of stretch marks.
9. Although vitamin A is best known for its positive effects on vision, it is just as important to the skin with its stimulating effect on cell regeneration, improving the appearance of striae (stretch marks) and regulating epidermal (skin) cell growth.
10. Vitamin D
is necessary for new skin cell production and complements the function of vitamins A and E in the regeneration process of the epidermis as well as being an important all round “feel good” hormone.
Can stretch marks be treated once they have appeared?
Yes they can…
While keeping on with many of the suggestions in our top 10 tips above, we suggest you apply our own H-Stretch Marks Formula.
Some commercial stretch marks removal creams may have additives such as dioxane as well as parabens that can be toxic and harmful. If you do use any commercial skin products, look for those with as few ingredients as possible and preferably those that are 100% natural.
The safest and most effective treatments for so many conditions, as always, are found in nature and when it comes to natural oils versus commercial creams, natural oils will win hands down every time. Natural oil products are more cost effective too. Less expensive to buy and more economical to use.
Stretch marks are caused by rapid skin stretches so any physical exercises that tone the underlying muscles (such as swimming, sit-ups and abdominal crunches) will help them fade too.