We all dread them…. and yet we are told there is nothing we can do to prevent stretch marks. It’s genetic. You either get them or you don’t. Though I don’t completely disagree with this statement, I do think there are things you can do to prevent stretch marks. Perhaps some people’s skin is miraculously more stretchy than yours but if you are genetically predisposed to stretch marks there are still options for you.
Stretch marks are something we generally accept as a given. You either have elastic skin or not. If you are lucky enough to have elastic skin you won’t get stretch marks right? Wrong. Of course there is something you can do about stretch marks… that is if you can change the elasticity of your skin. So how do we do it?
I have taken a lot of this information from the e-book “Bump to Birth“. This is a wonderful resource for mothers to be looking for more natural cures for all your pregnancy ailments…including stretch marks.
So what are the top 10 things you can do to prevent stretch marks.
Gelatin (like this or this) is a great way to prevent stretch marks. Collagen formation is essential in improving your skins elasticity. In order to increase your skins collagen formation you can eat gelatin to get more collagen through your diet. Another name for collagen…you guessed it Gelatin. Today our diets are severely lacking in gelatin. So how would one go about getting more gelatin in their diet.
Make bone broth. You can drink it plain every morning. Use it to make gravies, soups, sauces, and casseroles. Use it to boil your rice in. It gives it great flavor. You can also use a gelatin powder. This one you can add to drinks and it doesn’t gel. This one you can use to thicken or gel foods. It can be used to make great fruit gummies or jello.
Gelatin doesn’t just help improve skin elasticity it also has numerous other benefits including: improved wound healing, improved sleep, improve insulin sensitivity, fight free radical damage, promote digestive health and reduce gut inflammation, and reduced joint pain.
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.
3. Coconut Oil
I used a coconut oil lotion with my first pregnancy to keep my belly moist. Coconut oil‘s ability to nourish the skin has been known (especially in the tropics) for centuries. Coconut oil is full of saturated fatty acids which consists primarily of medium chain fatty acids. These types of fatty acids are not easily oxidized, and because of this do not cause harmful free radical damage. Polyunsaturated fatty acids on the other hand are easily oxidized and are therefore more likely to cause free radical damage to the skin. This is not only true for the oils we put on our skin but also the oils we consume. One of the reasons we have so many skin problems (among others) in the U.S. is because we have switched our dietary oils. Our ancestors primarily consumed saturated fats but the majority of people today consume mostly polyunsaturated fats and trans fats.
Coconut oil can easily be applied topically to prevent stretch marks. It is best to apply right after a shower to keep the moisture in. I also loved a mixture of coconut oil and beeswax. The mixture helped to keep the coconut oil in place until it is absorbed into the skin.
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. If you do want to use a supplement get a natural whole food variety like this.
5. Oil Treatments
Beneficial oils include: Olive oil, Vitamin E oil, Essential oils, and castor oil. Vitamin E oil can help improve skin elasticity as well and therefore prevent stretch marks. Most of these oils work because of their antioxidant properties which reduce free radical damage.
Zinc deficiency is one reason people are more likely to get stretch marks. Zinc is a natural trace mineral and one of the most abundant in the body. Zinc is also used in the production of collagen and also contains antioxidant properties.
Zinc can be found in abundance in chicken, lamb, beef, eggs, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
7. Calcarea Fluorica and Silicea
Calcarea Fluorica and Silicea are contained in a tissue-salt-prevent that Lleaon talks about in the book “Bump to Birth“. Lleaon Rao, aromatherapist and herbalist quotes “Calcarea Fluorica helps in bone development and maintains elasticity of skin. It works to prevent stretch marks,and to prevent hemorrhoids and varicose veins.”
See her book “Bump to Birth” to learn more.
8. Stretch Mark Serum
Here is our DIY Stretch mark cream. I used this with my first and second pregnancy and still haven’t gotten any stretch marks on my belly…(interesting fact here…I have stretch marks on my legs from other times I had gained weight rapidly so it’s not in my genes.)
Lleaon Rao also has some great recipes for serums and lotions to prevent stretch marks. This contains almond oil, vitamin E oil, and mandarin essential oil.
9. Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter
Shea butter and cocoa butter are two of the best emollients out there. They are exceptional at keeping the skin moist and hydrated. Cocoa butter is a natural fat extracted from the cocoa bean. Shea butter is made from the nut of the karite tree. The fatty acids are extracted from the nuts shell. These work by stimulating the skins renewal process… Again preventing and also helping reduce stretch marks.
10. Eat for Skin Elasticity
The way we eat overall is extremely important in our skin elasticity. Eating for skin elasticity would include eating a diet rich in collagen (as we talked about) including bone broths and gelatin, vitamin A, C, and E, and keeping a good balance of omega 3:6 ratio. This includes things like eating grass-fed and free range meats and eggs. Drinking raw whole milk from cattle that were grass-fed. Eating organic and locally grown vegetables. Fermented cod liver oil is also very beneficial. Eating in this manner isn’t just for skin elasticity but for fertility and healthy babies.
Bonus: Slow and Steady Weight Changes
Rapid weight gain makes it more difficult to avoid stretch marks. Although weight gain is generally necessary, it is very helpful to gain it slow but steady during your pregnancy. You can toss out the notion of eating for two while pregnant and instead stick with guidelines for how many extra calories you need.
Vibrant Pregnancy Starter Kit
Pregnancy is difficult. I’ve created a starter kit to make it easier and more vibrant. Get your Vibrant Pregnancy Starter Kit here.
If you want to learn more about natural remedies for all those pesky pregnancy ailments check out “Bump to Birth“. Along with great recipes for stretch mark creams and oils she also has home cures for tons of pregnancy problems and overall pregnancy health. She covers everything from the first trimester to postnatal care such as anxiety, heartburn, sciatica, miscarriage, morning sickness, and perineal tear prevention. This is just a couple of the things too. Check her book out here!!!