Being pregnant can bring the discomfort of unsightly stretch marks caused by the sudden stretching of the dermal layer of the skin.
The areas most affected are usually the thighs, stomach, buttocks and breasts.
Why do stretch marks appear during pregnancy?
This can be because too much weight is gained and too quickly. It can be a fine line between "eating for two" and dieting too much - leading to nutritional deficiencies that can endanger both the mother and her unborn child.
It can also be because of hormonal changes during pregnancy, altering the production of elastin and collagen and causing skin to lose elasticity and tear more easily.
Different types of stretch marks
There are two types:
Red stretch marks known as striae rubra which is when the blood vessels become visible because of the stretching of the dermal layer of the skin.
White stretch marks known as striae alba which appear where those blood vessels recede and leave the fat beneath the dermal layer to show through with its silvery white appearance.
Natural ways firstly to prevent & secondly to fade stretch marks
While stretch marks will sometimes fade away with time, natural ways can help to speed up the process.
- A healthy diet with whole foods rich in vitamins and minerals to both prevent stretch marks with good skin health and to maintain even weight increase in pregnancy. Vitamin E helps maintain good skin health including preserving the collagen and maintaining the skin's elasticity. Vitamin D has an endless list of health benefits including many for the skin.
Avoid alcohol because it leads to drier skin which can increase the risk of stretch marks.
Regular exercise helps avoid too much weight gain while helping to keep the skin in good condition.
Natural Essential Oils including our own H-Stretch Marks Formula which is a safe and effective natural stretch marks alternative helping to reduce the appearance of stretch marks on the arms, breasts, stomach, hips, buttocks and thighs.
Rub Aloe Vera twice a day on "likely to be affected" areas of the skin with its moisturizing, cooling and healing qualities.
Fresh lemon juice can boost the amount of collagen the skin produces with its high levels of vitamin C. Apply to the skin by using the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes before washing off with cold water.
Egg whites containing protein and some amino acids can help the healing process while lightening their appearance. Method is to whip 2 egg whites into a paste, apply to stretch marks and allow to dry before washing off with lukewarm water - once a week.
Drink plenty of filtered water to stay hydrated and help prevent stretch marks in the first place by providing the skin with sufficient moisture so that any marks will not appear in the first place. We share earlier posts on drinking water to help you know how much to drink and how to enjoy it when you do.
Coconut oil with its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties can be used in so many ways for health improvements including applying to areas prone to stretch marks, moisturizing, exfoliating the outer layer and improving elasticity.
You may find that some or all of these suggestions help to prevent or treat stretch marks but be aware that there is nothing about having stretch marks to make you feel uneasy - they are the body's way to adapt to physical changes.
And remember that some mothers carry their stretch marks as a badge of honor.