How to prevent and treat stretch marks
Stretch marks are an uncomfortable and unfortunate side effect of pregnancy. Sure, pregnancy is a beautiful and magical time for women (and all that jazz!) but there are certainly a few little spin-offs no one tells you about that are less than ideal. Stretch marks are but one of these frustrating factors. So, what exactly are stretch marks and how do you prevent and treat them? I caught up with Tracy Symons-Murdoch, Bio-Oil General Manager, to pick her brain on the topic. Here’s what I found out…
Stretch marks occur when your skin can’t keep up with your body’s movement (or expansion). During pregnancy, the body (particularly the belly) grows rapidly and the skin has insufficient time to adjust which leads to internal tears in the skin tissue. “When these tears repair themselves they form the scars that we know as stretch marks,” Tracy explains.
I have a friend who NEVER sweats. It can be a super hot summer’s day and while the rest of us are frantically powdering our faces trying to ensure our foundation hasn’t melted, she’s all shine-free and flawless – life’s not fair, am I right? Equally as frustrating is the fact that not all women get stretch marks, and it turns out there’s a few reasons why. Tracy explains that skin type, age, family history and weight all affect your susceptibility to stretch marks.
She says women with darker skin tones are more prone to stretch marks than lighter-skinned women. “Interestingly, it has been found that as you get older, you are less likely to develop stretch marks,” Tracy adds. If your mother developed stretch marks, it’s also more likely you will too (thanks a lot mum!). Finally, since stretch marks depend on the extent to which the skin expands, “excessive weight gain can exacerbate their formation”.
Tracy tells me the best way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy is to ensure you care for your skin, particularly its hydration. She explains, “Collagen and elastin fibres in the skin are necessary to keep rapidly growing skin taut, and the stronger they are, the less likely they are to break and leave resulting stretch marks.” So, it makes sense to use skin care products and eat foods rich in vitamin E and C, zinc and silica which all help to form collagen. Tracy also recommends keeping your body hydrated by drinking the recommended two litres of water per day.
bh recommends: NIVEA Sun Moisturising Sunscreen Lotion, Essano Rosehip Intensive Hydrating Body Lotion, Elucent Body Moisturiser, Arbonne Intelligence Genius Booster Serum For Body and La Mer The Body Refiner.
If you start to notice stretch marks forming during pregnancy, fear not! There are loads of products that help to treat, reduce and ultimately get rid of stretch marks. And some, like Bio-Oil, are even totally safe to use during pregnancy. Always check with your doctor if you’re unsure about using any products while you’re pregnant.
Here are our top picks for products to help you say goodbye to those pesky stretch marks and firm your post-baby skin!
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