How to prevent stretch marks naturally during pregnancy

how to prevent stretch marks

Pregnancy is considered as one of the most wonderful times of a woman’s life. However, with the joy of having a new addition to your own family, there are some additional problems of pregnancy. One of these problems is stretch marks. This article from VKool site will show you basic information about stretch marks, including causes, types, and ways on how to prevent stretch marks naturally during pregnancy effectively.

I. How To Prevent Stretch Marks – The Structure Of The Skin 

how to prevent stretch marks

Stretch marks are narrow, streak-like lines that could develop on the surface of human skin. Sometimes, they are known as stria or striae. They are often purple or red at the beginning, before steadily fading to a silvery-white color.

In fact, the human skin is naturally made up of 3 major layers, describing below:

  • The epidermis: this is the outer layer of your skin which forms a natural protective barrier for your body.
  • The dermis: this is a supportive and strong middle layer of the human skin which can give the skin its flexibility and firmness.
  • The subcutis: this is known as the hypodermis – an inner layer of skin, containing connective and fat tissue.

Normally, stretch marks happen in the dermis, when the human skin is considerably stretched over just a short span of time. This quick stretching leads to the dermis layer to break in places and help the deeper layers of the human skin to show through, creating stretch marks.

II. How To Prevent Stretch Marks – Who Might Suffer From Stretch Marks? 

how to prevent stretch marks

If you have them, you are in good company. It is estimated that about 90% of women will suffer from this condition sometime after their 6th or 7th month of pregnancy. The stomach (abdomen), the thighs, and the buttocks are common areas affected by stretch marks.

If you have a lighter complexion, you might tend to develop pinkish stretch marks. Those women with darker skin might get stretch marks that are lighter than the tone of their skin.

III. How To Prevent Stretch Marks – Causes Of Stretch Marks

1. Rapid Growth 

how to prevent stretch marks

In reality, the dermis is naturally made up of strong fibers which connect to each other. It allows the human skin to stretch when it grows. Nevertheless, if one part of the human body develops too quickly over a short span of time, the fibers could become over-stretched and thin and some might break.

Once the fibres within the dermis break, those tiny tears will grow and also blood vessels lying under the skin will show through. It explains why the stretch marks often look reddish in color at the beginning. Finally, blood vessels will contract to leave just the fat under the human skin visible, and the stretch marks then will fade to a silvery grey or white color.

The truth is, not everyone suffers from stretch marks; it might be that some individuals will be more likely to grow stretch marks than other people as their own bodies produce a much larger amount of cortisol – a hormone which can reduce the amount of collagen within your skin, a protein in the skin fibres helping to keep it stretchy.

Some other factors that might contribute to stretch marks or worsen them are listed below.

2. Pregnancy 

how to prevent stretch marks

If you get pregnant, then you will be likely to suffer from stretch marks, especially after the 6th month of pregnancy.

During pregnancy, hormones produced will soften the ligaments – the strong bands of tissue connecting joins – within your own pelvis. Nevertheless, those hormones might also soften your skin’s fibres, thereby making you develop stretch marks.

When the baby grows, you might also grow stretch marks on the stomach (abdomen) because the skin is steadily stretched much more. Stretch marks might also present on the breasts and thighs when they become heavier and bigger.

How much and how rapidly a pregnant woman gains weight, for example, impacts her chances of growing stretch marks and, if they show up, how severe they are. In fact, a 50-pound (about 22-kilogram) gains will cause the skin to stretch more than a 25-pound (about 11 kilogram) gain, and just a gain of 25-pound over three trimesters will give the human skin more time to modify than the same gain in the final month.

3. Gain Weight Too Fast 

how to prevent stretch marks

You might find that you grow stretch marks if you gain weight too much within a short span of time. Oftentimes, the stretch marks might remain even when you lose the excess weight that you have gained.

If you diet regularly, then stretch marks might form because your excess weight goes up and down fast. Thus, when you are dieting, it is crucial for you to shed excess weight steadily and slowly so that the skin will not be put under strain. Athletes and bodybuilders might also suffer from stretch marks when the muscles enhance in size.

4. Puberty 

how to prevent stretch marks

Youth tends to grow so rapidly during puberty. During puberty, the human body develops in growth spurts, bit by bit.

Men usually get stretch marks on their back and shoulders, while females might get them on their thighs, hips, and breasts.

5. Family History 

how to prevent stretch marks

This is one of the common causes of stretch marks reported by a lot of people. If your family has a history of stretch marks, you might be more likely to suffer from them yourself. This condition might impact both female and male members in your family, though they might be more likely to appear in women.

6. Some Types Of Medications 

how to prevent stretch marks

If you use corticosteroid medicines, like lotions, creams or tablets for eczema, then you might find that you suffer from stretch marks. In reality, corticosteroids will work in the similar way to cortisol – a hormone naturally produced in the human body. Those medicines that include corticosteroids might ease the inflammation caused by skin conditions, yet they might also reduce the amount of produced collagen.

Collagen is necessary for the human body as it can keep the skin stretchy, so the less collagen your skin produces, the more likely stretch marks develop.

Certain Health Conditions

When it comes to causes of stretch marks, sometimes, it is resulted by certain health problems, like Cushing’s syndrome or Marfan syndrome.

Cushing's Syndrome

This condition happens when the body produces such an excess amount of cortisol, thereby promoting the risk of developing stretch marks.

In this condition, the human body might produce so much cortisol that could lead to various symptoms containing:

  • Weight gain
  • Excess facial and body hair
  • Back pain

If you suffer from Cushing’s syndrome, then your stretch marks might be noticeable and dark in color.

Marfan Syndrome

This condition is caused by the faulty gene impact the connective tissues of the human body, containing the skin. It also weakens the tissues of the human body and impacts the ability to stretch – elasticity – so that the skin will be not as resistant to stretch marks as it should be.

Once you are suffering from Marfan syndrome, then you will have a higher risk of stretch marks on the shoulders, lower back, or hips, though the problem also leads to some other symptoms, like curvature of spine and issues with vision.

Recommend reading: exercises for stretching

IV. How To Prevent Stretch Marks – Top 16 Tips 

1. Gelatin 

how to prevent stretch marks

Gelatin, in fact, is a good solution to know how to prevent stretch marks. Collagen formation is necessary in enhancing the elasticity of your skin. To increase the collagen formation of your skin, you should consume gelatin to get more collagen via your diet. And, gelatin is another name for collagen. Today, our diets are extremely lacking in gelatin. Hence, how would a person go about getting more gelatins in his or her diet.

The answer is simple. You can make bone broth. Drink it plain each morning. Use it to make soups, gravies, casseroles and sauces. Or, you can use broth to both the rice in as it gives rice great flavor.

2. Vitamin C

how to prevent stretch marks

The human body uses vitamin C to form cartilage and collagen. This vitamin is highly effective in decreasing free radical damage. Free radicals will consume elastin and collagen. In order to take advantage of vitamin C properly, you should get it from natural sources like foods instead of supplements. Foods that are high in vitamin C contain green and red bell peppers, kale, guava, turnips, parsley greens, and broccoli.

3. Use Olive Oil 

how to prevent stretch marks

There are many beneficial oils you can make use of, such as vitamin E oil, olive oil, castor oil, essential oils. Vitamin C oil could help people improve their skin elasticity as well and thus prevent stretch marks. These oils work successfully due to their antioxidant properties that decrease free radical damage.

4. Zinc 

how to prevent stretch marks

Lack of zinc is a fundamental reason why people are more likely to get stretch marks. Zinc is one of the most abundant and a natural trace mineral within the body. Zinc has antioxidant properties and also used in the manufacture of collagen.

This vitamin could be found in abundance in lamb, chicken, eggs, beef, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.

5. Exfoliate Regularly 

how to prevent stretch marks

Exfoliation is a good way to eliminate dead skin cells from the top layers of the human skin. Thus, you need to make exfoliation a practice to allow new cells to surface and to enhance circulation within the area, preventing the formation of stretch marks. It is said that exfoliation is as crucial as moisturizing the skin to avoid stretch marks.

Hence, to exfoliate during pregnancy, you should choose to do anything of the below:

  • Dry brushing: a technique where you could use a soft bristled body brush and brush the whole body to remove dry and dread skin. It is recommended that people should brush their skin from their legs towards their heart focusing on the areas which are more prone to building stretch marks. Then, after dry brushing, you should instantly have a bath in warm water. Do not forget to moisturize your skin after brushing. Remember to use the brush with soft but tough bristles and also avoid brushing over the breast because the skin in these areas is so sensitive.
  • Loofah: with this method, you can scrub the whole body whilst having a bath. Just simply bath or soak in warm water before using a loofah or scrub made of the natural fibre for removing dry and dead skin. By soaking your body in warm water, you will help the pores open and loosen dead skin cells easily. After having a bath, you need to apply moisturizer over your whole body to allow your skin adapt to the strain of stretching.

You had better apply one of two methods introduced above twice to three times per week. Remember not to do this too much because this might cause irritation to your skin.

6. Shea Butter Or Cocoa Butter 

how to prevent stretch marks

Cocoa butter and shea butter are considered as two of the best emollients available. They are exceptional at keeping the human skin hydrated and moist. Cocoa butter is the natural fat which is extracted from the cocoa bean while shea butter is naturally made from the nut of the karate tree. Fatty acids extracted from nuts shell work by stimulating the skin renewal process. Moreover, it can help prevent and help in reducing stretch marks.

7. Healthy Diet For Skin Elasticity 

how to prevent stretch marks

We are what we eat. The way we eat overall is strongly crucial for the skin elasticity. Eating for skin elasticity should include eating such a collagen-rich diet, containing gelatin, bone broths, vitamin C, A, E and keeping a healthy balance of omega 3:6 ratio. You had better add things like grass-fed and free range meats and eggs to your diet plan. Also, you should take advantage of raw whole milk from cattle which were grass-fed. Besides, consuming locally grown, organic veggies is also a good way to improve your skin elasticity. Eating fermented cod liver oil is beneficial for not only your skin elasticity, but also for healthy babies and fertility.

8. Use Coconut Oil 

how to prevent stretch marks

In order to know how to prevent stretch marks beforehand, you should apply coconut oil regularly. Using this type of essential oils could be the best way for you to keep the skin moisturized.

First, you rub coconut oil generously on the skin. Then, massage the skin area prone to form stretch marks with this oil to aid absorption into the skin. You had better apply this daily, 2-3 times per day.

In case there is not coconut oil available, then you can substitute it with olive oil, shea butter, emu oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, and some baby oil.

9. Use Castor Oil Packs 

how to prevent stretch marks

Those pregnant women are often advised to use castor oil for preventing stretch marks. Also, people usually use castor oil to prevent as well as decrease fine lines, spots, winkles, blemishes, or any other skin issues due to aging. It can work as a humectant, thereby assisting the human skin in retaining moisture.

To make use of castor oil for preventing stretch marks, you apply a thick layer of this essential oil on the skin. After that, wrap the skin area with a plastic wrap or saran wrap. Then, apply heat with the heating pad (hot water bottle is okay) for no less than 20 minutes. You need to repeat this process every day or a few times each week.

Want to create a thin layer of that oil? Then, you could combine 1 tablespoon of castor oil with 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil before applying the mixture onto your skin.

10. Keep Yourself Hydrated 

how to prevent stretch marks

It is always beneficial for your whole body to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.  This will not only help you flush toxins out of the body, but also keep your skin supple and help in maintaining elasticity, making the skin layers less prone to tearing or forming stretch marks. To get the best result, you should get at least 2 liters of water per day.

If you find it is hard to ingest this much water, then carry a large water bottle that holds the equivalent of 2 glasses (about 16 ounces) of water. You need to refill it 4 times all day long, rather than having to refill just only a single glass up to 8 times. It will make drinking enough water less of difficult.

Or, you can resort herbal tea to flavor your taste. Opting for the teas without caffeine can keep your own body hydrated, and could lessen the boredom of drinking just water daily.

Eating watery fruits and veggies which contain high content of water is another good way to hydrate yourself. Thus, add strawberries, watermelon, honeydew, or other watery fruits instead of consuming baked desserts to keep yourself hydrated.

11. Exercise During Pregnancy

how to prevent stretch marks

We all know that exercise is beneficial for the overall health. Exercise particularly helps the skin retain its elasticity by enhancing the circulation within the body. As an additional benefit, by exercising, you can prevent yourself from gaining weight too fast, nipping stretch marks in the bud.

You had better incorporate exercise into your own daily routine by using these tips:

  • Perform exercises meat to make pregnancy easier on your own body. Kegel exercises, stretches, and other simple movements will keep your blood moving and also help you feel comfortable during pregnancy.
  • Another suggestion for exercise during pregnancy to prevent stretch marks is to try pregnancy yoga or other low-impact routines. Pilates and yoga will give expectant women an excellent workout without having to move in such says that might feel uncomfortable whilst being pregnant.

12. Use Lextrin 

how to prevent stretch marks

This tip seems not relevant to tips on how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. However, acknowledging it is essential for you because it is not recommended for pregnant women (due to the ingredient of thuja occidentalis). That means if you are not pregnant, then you can use Lextrin to get rid of stretch marks. Lextrin is a FDA registered stretch mark cream which includes high potency of natural essential oil as well as vitamins which could help in treating and decreasing the presence of stretch marks. The active ingredients within that cream are thuja occidentalis, hyarolunic acid, and centella asiatica that have been tested to decrease the appearance of stretch marks within as little as 2 weeks. The treatment takes about 3 months to see the best results.

Once again – be careful that you should not use any product that includes thuja occidentalis in case you are pregnant or nursing. It might potentially cause birth defects in humans.

13. Use Glycolic Acid 

how to prevent stretch marks

The last one in the list of tips on how to prevent stretch marks is to use glycolic acid. This is used for stretch mark reduction because it will increase collagen production, making your own ski much more elastic overall. As an alpha-hydroxid acid (AHA), it stays in the same family of compounds often usually used in chemical skin peels.

It does not cause any side effect on those pregnant women. You should take addition care to keep the skin that you are applying glycolic acid out of the sun.

Fact is, glycolic acid could be bought in over-the-counter. In order to have a more intense remedy, you could get a stronger dose from such a licensed dermatologist.

Nevertheless, you had better be careful by making sure that the stretch mark products you are using while pregnant or nursing do not warn, “not for use by pregnant or nursing women.”

These above are all necessary things you need to know about stretch marks, including basics about this condition and useful home remedies on how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.

Do you have any unique ways to prevent stretch marks? Share your ideas with us by dropping words below this post. We will respond all as soon as possible!

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