How can I prevent stretch marks during pregnancy?
Whilst we can develop stretch marks at any stage during our life and on many different areas of our bodies, they are most commonly associated with pregnancy for good reason – around 8 out of 10 women will experience a sudden surge in the appearance of stretch marks on their stomachs, thighs and hips during pregnancy, and they aren’t always too easy to get rid of.
Pregnancy is a time that already comes with stresses to do with our appearance, with women having already given up quite a lot of control over their bodies in order to carry their babies, so if there’s anything that can be done to reduce the appearance of stretchmarks, it’s understandable that many will try anything.
How can I naturally prevent pregnancy stretch marks?
Of course, there are creams and oils on the market designed for this purpose, but many are incredibly expensive – and don’t always give results to match. Furthermore, due to their high chemical content, they aren’t exactly suitable for use during pregnancy. With that in mind, more and more women are looking for a natural solution to this very natural problem.
Here are just a few of the natural methods you may have heard for preventing or getting rid of stretch marks, and how well you can expect them to work in practice.
Can I use coconut oil to prevent stretch marks?
It’s common knowledge that coconut oil has a wide array of different uses, including – but not limited to – cooking, ‘oil pulling’, relieving eczema, moisturizing, strengthening and conditioning hair, stain removal and acting as a natural deodorant! However, one up and coming use for this must-have product is the use of coconut oil on stretch marks.
The reason for this is that coconut oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties, which reduces the healing time of stretch marks and can make them appear far less visible as a result. Coconut oil is also effective in reducing the itching that many women may experience with stretch marks.
The frequent application of coconut oil on areas where stretch marks typically form, such as the stomach, things and hips, has been previously found to prevent stretch marks forming, or appearing quite as boldly if they do. Of course, every body is different, but if you are pregnant and would like to prevent the formation of stretch marks on these problem areas, there is no harm in using coconut oil and seeing what it could do for you.
Coconut oil was also found to reduce the appearance of stretch marks which have already formed, so it’s worth seeing how coconut oil affects any that you may already have noticed on your body.
Can I use almond oil to prevent stretch marks?
Almond oil is thought to be one of the most effective methods of naturally improving the appearance stretch marks during pregnancy. It has been found that many pregnant women who used almond oil during their pregnancies and after giving birth were able to prevent stretch marks in typical problem areas and drastically reduce the appearance of stretch marks that did occur.
The reason that almond oil is so effective in this way is that almond oil is rich in vitamin E, fatty acids, proteins, zinc and potassium, giving it the capacity to heal and smooth damaged skin. Almond oil has a number of other benefits to the skin in these areas – it improves skin tone, giving the appearance that stretch marks have faded, and increases the supply of nutrients in these areas of the skin.
Almond oil is also effective in improving
collagen and elasticity to skin, which is something that many mothers may find useful on their stomach as a whole post-pregnancy, as loose skin can be a huge problem for many.
All in all, if you are looking for a way of preventing and fading stretch marks – as well as helping to tone the loose skin left after giving birth – that is natural, safe and easily accessible, then almond oil may just be the answer to your wishes.
Can I use toothpaste to prevent stretch marks?
Surprisingly, one of the methods many women now use for improving the appearance of stretch marks post-pregnancy is something you most likely already have in your bathroom: toothpaste!
The secret here is that many far more expensive methods of removing or improving stretch marks all use microdermabrasion, a way of exfoliating the first layer of the skin, which is the layer where stretch marks are naturally at their most visible. If you can gently remove this top layer of the skin, then in theory the skin should naturally regenerate without these blemishes present.
While exfoliation treatments in spas and salons use high-end products, this is due to the fact that these other products have added benefits – the actual act of exfoliating just means to use a product that is rough enough against the skin to remove dead skin cells. Surprisingly, some toothpastes could be just as effective in this area.
The reason for this is that toothpaste contains abrasive ingredients such as baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, designed primarily to strip away plaque and whiten the teeth. Many cosmetic exfoliants contain these same ingredients, which are used to scrub away dead cells and polish the surface of the skin. So, used frequently enough, toothpaste should have the same effect on stretch marks.
You can do this by rubbing toothpaste straight onto your skin out of the tube, and it will still be effective to an extent. However, you may notice that using toothpaste in this way could dry out your skin in the process, which of course you would more than likely rather avoid.
One method that many adopt in order to get the benefits of toothpaste on stretch marks without the negative side effect of drying out the skin is to use a mixture of toothpaste with a moisturizer, such as vaseline.
Perhaps an even more effective method of using toothpaste for removing stretch marks could be to blend toothpaste with a tomato. Of course, this won’t feel very nice on the surface of your skin, but it should actually be incredibly effective – this is due to the acid in a tomato having properties which can even out the tone of your skin, further reducing the appearance of stretch marks.
It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But it might just work!
Can I use aloe vera to prevent stretch marks?
Aloe Vera has long been known for its benefits on the skin, but is becoming increasingly popular as a method of reducing the appearance of stretch marks.
The reason behind this is that aloe vera has a number of excellent natural healing properties, so if applied frequently enough, could reduce the appearance of stretchmarks on the skin.
You can do this by applying aloe vera directly from a plant, though this isn’t a particularly accessible thing for most women. However, there are a number of aloe vera gels on the market that could work well in reducing the appearance of stretch marks in problem areas.
The best time to apply aloe vera is straight after a shower – apply a generous amount to the areas where your stretch marks are prominent and visible, and massage the gel into that area for around two to three minutes. There’s no need to wash it off afterwards!
If you do this twice daily, you may begin to see some good results, so if you can get your hands on some aloe vera gel, it’s certainly worth giving it a try.
Can I use sugar to prevent stretch marks?
Similar to the secret behind the effectiveness of toothpaste and tomato on stretch marks, sugar and lemon is thought to have the same properties as being a natural exfoliant and a natural skin-toning agent respectively.
Many women swear by the combination and speak of how well this mixture seems to fade their stretch marks, so it could be well worth giving it a go and seeing if it could work for you too!
Try it by mixing a few teaspoons of sugar with a teaspoon of a softener, such as vaseline, almond oil or coconut oil and mix this together, until it’s a similar consistency to wet sand. Afterwards, add lemon juice and mix again.
When your mixture is ready, scrub the mixture on the part of your body where your stretch marks have appeared or are beginning to appear. Do this for a few minutes, and repeat a few times each week, and over time you should start to see the stretch marks fading.
Pregnancy is a magical experience to go through. Bringing a new life into the world is like a little miracle, but there is no sugar coating the fact that pregnancy can be extremely difficult. As well as all the fluctuation in hormones you will experience, your body goes through so many different physical changes.
One of these changes is that, as your bump grows, you will get stretch marks that can stay with you even after you have given birth. Stretch marks are nothing to be ashamed of, and they are something that you should embrace. They are a reminder of the little gem you made and held for 9 months.
However, if you are wanting to try and prevent yourself from getting stretch marks during pregnancy, then there are multiple natural ways that you can do this. This article will explain the best ways to prevent or reduce stretch during pregnancy.
#1 Drink Lots of Water
One of the easiest ways to prevent getting stretch marks during pregnancy is to make sure you are staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water.
This works because it keeps your skin supple and soft, and it is a lot harder for soft skin to develop stretch marks than it is for dry skin to. Try to drink at least 8 large glasses of water a day to really make sure you are keeping your skin and body hydrated.
Yes, you might find yourself needing the toilet a lot, but it will definitely be worth it, and it can bring so many benefits to the health of yourself and your growing baby too.
It is best to avoid drinks that are high in caffeine, such as coffee, as this can actually increase your chances of getting stretch marks.
#2 Get Plenty of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that brings so many benefits to our body. Not only does it help us to fight off illnesses and infections, but it can also help to prevent you from getting stretch marks.
In order to keep our skin strong, supple and to maintain good elasticity, skin contains a lot of collagen. Collagen is a type of connective tissue, and a lack of it is part of what causes stretch marks. Vitamin C can help to aid and promote the development of collagen and can therefore prevent stretch marks from forming.
Unfortunately, our body doesn’t produce vitamin C naturally, and so we need to get it from other sources. Certain fruits and vegetables are the easiest way to get it, with red peppers and oranges being two of the best foods you can eat for vitamin C. Alternatively, you can take vitamin C supplements which are easy to find, and it means you can take one a day and feel rest assured that you have had the full amount you need. Although we prefer you to eat fruits full of vitamin C instead of the supplements.
#3 Treat Them with Retinoid Cream
Whilst there are loads of ways you can try to prevent stretch marks, sometimes there’ll always be those pesky few that manage to peek through. The best thing to do to try and get rid of stretch marks that have already appeared is to treat them as soon as possible with some retinoid cream. Retinoid cream contains vitamin A, which helps to rebuild the collagen in the skin on the area applied, and therefore reduces the appearance of stretch marks.
Try and ask a pharmacist about which one to get and make sure that it is definitely suitable for when you are pregnant. A good alternative if you can’t find a retinoid cream, is to find another cream that is high in vitamin A or to increase your vitamin A intake through foods. Carrots and broccoli are a great source of vitamin A that are easy to incorporate into your meals and are very healthy.
#4 Have Plenty of Zinc
Zinc is a mineral which helps keep your skin healthy, including by helping to prevent and reduce any inflammation. Therefore, making sure you are getting a good amount of zinc is a great way to help keep your skin strong and healthy, and therefore prevent you from getting stretch marks.
Beans and nuts are the best and easiest source of zinc, as you can just snack on them throughout the day!
#5 Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a natural ingredient that you can apply directly to your skin to help prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy. It works because it moisturises and hydrates the skin which, as mentioned previously, makes it harder for stretch marks to occur.
If you already have some stretch marks, then keep applying coconut oil on a daily basis and it should help to reduce their overall appearance, although it won’t get rid of them completely.
Exercise is another way you can help to prevent stretch marks. Stretch marks occur due to rapid expansion in your skin, and whilst your bump will cause your skin to expand quickly, exercise can help to ensure you keep off any excess fat to help maintain and limit how much, and how quickly, the skin grows to keep those stretch marks at bay.
Exercise also helps to keep all your muscles toned and can actually strengthen your skin to make it more supple and able to deal with the quick changes it will go through during pregnancy.
#7 Reduce Stress
Being under a lot of stress can actually promote stretch marks and make them more likely to show through. Whilst pregnancy can be a very stressful experience, it is so important to make sure you are getting plenty of rest and taking time to yourself to do something that relaxes and calms you. If work is getting too much then it is vital you take a step back and try to remove any unneeded factors of stress in your life, even if it is only temporary for whilst you are pregnant.
Reducing your stress levels gives your skin more time to heal and repair itself, and therefore means you are less likely to develop stretch marks.
So, there you have 7 natural ways you can prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Make sure you are keeping on top of these tips every single day and you should come out the other side of pregnancy not only with a beautiful little baby, but with soft, smooth and stretch-mark-free skin too!