This is one of the most googled questions by pregnant women. No one really wants stretch marks, and it is so talked of in the media that we don’t really talk about them or show them off. Why should we hide the lines of carrying our beautiful children?
Unfortunately there is no guaranteed way of preventing stretch marks. You can use all the creams, oils and moisturisers you like. If you’re going to get them, you’ll get them.
I spent months researching products for stretch marks last year, and spoke to a fair few beauty and health professionals. Everyone I spoke to and every website I researched all said the same “stretch marks are genetic, some women will get them, some won’t. It just depends on your skin’s natural elasticity.”
Each year, women spend millions on products promising to prevent or reduce stretch marks entirely. The truth is, there are no magical lotions which prevent stretch marks, so be careful spending too much on products that promise to work…you won’t get your money back.
However, some health professionals claim some products and small lifestyle changes can help prevent stretch marks from becoming worse. The three rules my health professional told me was to:
- Make sure you stay well hydrated inside and out. This will improve your skins elasticity as it stretches during your pregnancy
- Choose your products wisely. In particular look for products which are paraben and sls (sodium lauryl sulphate) free. These chemicals tend to dry out your skin and are commonly found in shower gels and body lotions
- Try not to put on too much weight through eating unhealthily during your pregnancy. As your skin starts to shrink back to your pre-baby figure, the excess shrinking skin can be a cause of new stretch marks.
I drank around 6 – 8 glasses of water daily when I was pregnant, in addition to other drinks and ate healthily – well tried to maintain this on non morning sickness days but sometimes you just have to have that cream cake or rashers of bacon in my case.
My daily skin routine consisted of applying Sanctuary mum to be stretch mark oil or Sanctuary collagen boosting body butter on my stomach. It is on the pricey side of oils (£10.25 in Boots) but glides on easily, isn’t oily, smells so much nicer and has no nasties unlike oils like Bio Oil which contain mineral oil – a by product of petroleum. Mineral oil slows the skins effectiveness of eliminating toxins from our body, hence clogging pores.
I used either Aveeno dry skin lotion (which contains oatmeal – very good for dry skin) or Cocoa Butter for stretch marks on the rest of my body. My favourite was definitely the Sanctuary mum to be oil which I recommend to every pregnant women I meet.
I didn’t get any stretch marks until my 38th week of pregnancy, and they were just on my hips. A few appeared in the week after Dillon was born, and 9 months later – they are not going anywhere. I think of them as Dillon’s lines and it’s all part of our beautiful pregnancy journey.