What causes pregnancy stretch marks?
Skin cells are always at work and as the body grows, the new skin is created. Elastin, the protein that gives skin its elastic-like properties, is damaged during extremely rapid tissue growth, and since new skin isn’t able to regenerate as quickly, stretch marks appear.
Top 6 things you can do to prevent stretch marks naturally.
Keep your body well hydrated.
During pregnancy your blood volume is increasing and you are building a huge water sack for your baby to stay in. Your body has an increased demand for hydration. Your skin also needs to be hydrated for optimal skin elasticity. It is recommended that you get 8-12 glasses of water each day. Mostly however, pay attention to how you are feeling. Dry lips or throat is a sure sign of dehydration. Being tired, headaches, or a lack of concentration can also be a sign that you are dehydrated.
2. Massage oils
Massage oils onto your skin, especially areas where stretch marks are likely to occur.
Olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil, are all great natural alternatives to use on skin. One option is to massage oils directly onto your belly, thighs and chest and remove in the shower. A second is to soak in a bath infused with oil and other skin softeners. Essential oils that have been diluted are also great and hold a number of healthy properties.
It is important to check with your doctor before using essential oils, as some may be irritating. One of the best choices for skin health is lavender. And on a fun side note, the aroma may help ease morning sickness.
3. Apply aloe vera.
Aloe can be purchased at the store, but the best way to get aloe gel is directly from the source. When you slice open the plant’s leaves, the gel can be squeezed out. Aloe gel can be applied to skin a few times a day and may provide relief for the itchy, dry skin that can lead to stretch marks. While studies suggest that aloe is safe to use topically during pregnancy, it is not recommended for oral consumption.
4. Vitamin C
The body uses Vitamin C to form collagen and cartilage. Vitamin C is also highly effective in reducing free radical damage. Free radicals consume collagen and elastin. It is best to get Vitamin C from a natural food source instead of a supplement. Foods high in vitamin C include red and green bell peppers, guava, kale, parsley greens, turnips, and broccoli. You can also make your own vitamin C.
5. Daily exfoliation will help remove old, dead skin, so new skin can shine through.
Exfoliation can help speed up the process of skin regeneration by removing the layer of dead skin cells. For a natural exfoliator, try a sugar or coffee scrub. A sugar scrub is made up of 1 part sugar, half part natural oil, and a few drops of lemon juice. A coffee scrub is similar but substitutes sugar with used coffee grounds.
6. A healthy diet will help regulate weight gain.
Gaining a healthy amount of weight, slowly and throughout your pregnancy will be one of your best bets against stretch marks. So despite the fun in blaming our diets on “feeding for two”, continue eating for one and include a healthy combination of protein, carbs, healthy fats and vitamins. Consuming the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables will also help to absorb essential minerals and keep hydrated.