Tips To Prevent And Minimize The Appearance Of Pregnancy Stretch Marks
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“Are Pregnancy Stretch Marks Preventable?”
Whether you’re planning on getting pregnant, or you’re in your first trimester, one of your biggest worries is getting those dreaded pregnancy stretch marks—and you research like crazy to see if there are ways to prevent or even just minimize them.
The answer to your question is that in some cases of women they can be completely prevented, and in others they cannot be 100% prevented—BUT, they can definitely be minimized to the point where they will fade fairly quickly after you have your baby.
The key to preventing pregnancy stretch marks (which can emerge anywhere between 13-22 weeks) is to stick to a skincare routine that you follow religiously!
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was really nervous about getting stretch marks on my belly, especially since I was prone to getting them around my hips and thigh area during my teen years. And if I knew back then what I know now, I could have prevented those as well.
So, during my first trimester, I researched ways to prevent pregnancy stretch marks, by learning about the skin itself. And what I learned was really eye opening. For example, did you know that our skin naturally exfoliates itself every 28 days? Or that stress triggers cortisol resulting in a breakdown of collagen? Interesting stuff.
With that said, taking care of your skin is a lot of work. It’s more than just slathering on some cocoa butter and staying hydrated. Mental health plays a big role as well.
After doing my research, I created a skin care routine for myself during both pregnancies that I swear by.
It helped prevent stretch marks both times, and those that appeared in places other than my belly (like hips and breasts faded in no time).
Below I’m going to share with you my habits and pregnancy-safe skin care routine that I used throughout both pregnancies to prevent stretch marks.
Skincare Routine To Prevent & Minimize Pregnancy Stretch Marks
Exfoliate With A Sugar Scrub
Exfoliating the skin of your pregnant belly is a very important step in your stretch mark prevention routine.
Pregnant bellies stretch, and because of that, your skin gets irritated, itchy and flakey! So prior to whatever moisturizer you’re going to put on your skin, give it a gentle scrub in the shower with something as simple as a home-made brown sugar, coffee scrub, or even a store-bought apricot scrub like St. Ives. I used both, and loved how smooth my skin would feel after each shower.
Gentle exfoliation helps shed dead skin cells, and helps your skin absorb moisturizing skin care products (which we will discuss next).
Choose Serums Over Stretch Mark Prevention Creams
The harsh truth about pregnancy prevention creams is that many are ineffective, and a complete waste of money. Here’s why:
Butters and thick moisturizers don’t penetrate the skin, so you’re going to have a product that’s just sitting on top of your skin like icing on a cake—meanwhile your skin cells below the surface continue to stretch. Now, don’t discredit body butters altogether, because they are still great to use for the top layer to prevent the itch and dry flakes.
Expensive pregnancy prevention creams don’t work that well either because although they do penetrate the skin, they only go around and in between your skin cells, which also doesn’t help to stretch and expand the cells. Plus, many stretch mark creams contain unhealthy ingredients that may not be safe.
Ok, So What The Heck Do I Use?
What you need is SERUMS. Go online and order yourself a good organic vitamin E and vitamin C serum and use them together DAILY! These oils are pregnancy safe, and you don’t need a fancy brand—just as long as it’s organic.
Serums penetrate the skin, and actually go into your skin cells, which facilitate stretching and help skin expansion which prevents stretch marks.
Hence, after you exfoliate, massage in your serums, let them dry, and lock them in using a good cocoa butter. I used Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Tummy Butter—the one that comes in a small tub. It smells great, and it really helped control the flaking and itchiness.
Wear A Pregnancy Wrap To Lock In The Moisture
Consider wearing a stretchy and breathable support wrap to lock in moisture after applying your serums and butters—like the Belly Boost Pregnancy Support Wrap by Belly Bandit.
Wearing a belly wrap helped my serums and tummy butter last longer throughout the day, and kept my skin hydrated at night as well.
Plus, wraps help keep the oily serums and skincare products from soaking into and ruining your maternity clothing. So that’s something to definitely consider.
Implement Collagen Supplements Into Your Diet
While you should always check with your doctor when starting a new supplement, collagen supplements are considered safe during pregnancy, and I’ve personally taken collagen supplements with both of my pregnancies.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, and it’s responsible for the elasticity in your skin. However, when you’re pregnant and food aversions start to become a reality, it’s hard to get a good amount of collagen into your body through food alone—that’s why collagen supplements are so beneficial.
Collagen supplements are available in both powder and pill form, and either one is fine to take—it’s all about preference. I don’t mind swallowing big pills, so I took the YouTheory Collagen pills with added vitamin C. I still take them to this day as part of my anti-aging routine.
Stay Hydrated, Exercise, And Practice That Self Care
Lastly, (and these are the no-brainers) remember to drink your water, engage in some light-moderate exercise and practice some self care.
One of my favorite ways to unwind and relax during my entire pregnancy was to lay down and listen to some ASMR, which stands for autonomous sensory meridian response.
There are many YouTube videos with creative ASMR sounds that make you feel an incredibly relaxing and sedative sensation which begins on the scalp and moves down the body. This sensation naturally produces oxytocin which prevents stress and the breakdown of collagen that we discussed earlier in this article.
I wish you the best of luck on your pregnancy journey, and I hope that these stretch mark prevention tips will work great for you! Come back and let us know in the comments!