How to Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a magical time! There’s nothing quite like having a little bundle of joy growing inside you, feeling it kick and move, and eventually holding that little one in your arms! But while pregnancy comes with all kinds of surprises and challenges, many new or expectant mothers are dismayed when stretch marks start to appear around their bellies and lower abdomens.
Stretch marks are nothing to worry about from a health perspective, but lots of mothers don’t like the look of stretch marks, and some feel that it makes their skin look older than it actually is. What if there was a way to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy?
Turns out, there are multiple ways you can hydrate and nourish your skin to not only support your skin’s health (which is important, pregnant or not), but to potentially reduce the appearance of those inevitable stretch marks. Let’s break down each of these methods in detail.
Why Do Stretch Marks Appear At All?
A stretch mark is actually a type of scar that your skin acquires whenever it stretches or shrinks relatively rapidly. For the skin, “rapidly” often means in a matter of weeks or months. As you can imagine, many women gain stretch marks around their bellies and lower abdomens as their bodies make room for the growing baby.
Our skin is pretty durable and adaptable, but it only produces a certain amount of collagen and elastin – two compounds that support our skin's structure and stretchability. Since pregnancy and other life events can cause your skin's size and shape to change rapidly, sometimes it’s unable to make collagen and elastin at the same rate to compensate.
The result? Stretch marks that look like scar tissue over the belly or other affected areas. However, stretch marks look a little different for everyone, and some women experience more intense stretch marks than others.
In addition, most people get stretch marks at some point throughout their lives. Men often get stretch marks during puberty, when they gain the majority of their adult height in the span of a year or two. Most women accrue stretch marks for either the same reason or because of pregnancy.
Do Stretch Marks Mean Something is Wrong?
Not at all! Stretch marks are a natural result of your skin rapidly expanding or shrinking, and it's not something you can avoid if you become pregnant. However, there are ways to prevent or lessen the impact of stretch marks or avoid certain stretch marks entirely.
Ways to Reduce the Appearance of Stretch Marks from Pregnancy
When you become pregnant, you can’t avoid gaining some weight, and your belly must expand to accommodate the baby growing inside you. However, there are ways you can reduce the visibility of those marks by nourishing and protecting your skin as it expands.
Belly Balms and Salves
Green Goo’s Belly Balm is an all-natural, plant-based topical salve intended to provide your skin with the nourishment and soothing ingredients it needs as it expands and stretches from pregnancy. You see, as your abdomen expands and you gain weight, your skin stretches to maintain integrity.
Fortunately, your skin is always up for the job! But it normally can’t do this without accruing some damage.
Our belly balm salve offers the vitamins and nutrients your skin needs to stay nourished and hydrated as your skin expands and shrinks during pregnancy and postpartum. At the same time, it also soothes the itchiness and dryness that can come with pregnancy.
Just a single 4-ounce jar can support your belly with nutrient-rich ingredients like shea butter and cocoa butter for a number of months.
Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!
Did you know that drinking plenty of water can help you avoid stretch marks, both when you’re pregnant and otherwise? That’s because a hydrated person also has hydrated skin, and hydrated skin is more keen to stretch without scarring.
Indeed, most stretch marks are excessively dry, and perpetually dehydrated people tend to develop stretch marks.
You can easily make sure you drink enough water by following the Institute of Medicine’s daily recommendation for water intake:
- 104 ounces of water per day for men
- 72 ounces of water per day for women
If you’re pregnant, you need to drink even more! Boost your intake up to 100 ounces of water per day for best results.
You can also avoid dehydration by drinking less coffee or other caffeinated beverages, which can slightly dehydrate you.
Get Vitamin C and Zinc
If you want to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy, try to eat plenty of nutrient-rich foods. In particular, target foods with vitamin C and zinc.
Vitamin C is important since it helps support your skin’s overall health, especially when it comes to maintaining collagen levels. As covered earlier, the more collagen you have, the less likely it is that your skin will scar and stretch too much as you gain weight. Vitamin C is also important throughout the body, particularly in your immune system.
Zinc is also crucial, both for the body at large and for skin health. It’s naturally soothing and can help your body with its natural healing processes. Since stretch marks are essentially lots of small and minor injuries on your skin, more zinc will help your skin repair itself and reduce the amount of scarring that may result.
You can get vitamin C from all types of fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits! Meanwhile, zinc is most often found in nuts and fish.
If You Do Get Stretch Marks, Take Action As Soon As You Can
Sometimes you’ll gain stretch marks even with the right preventative measures and a great diet. If this is the case, it’s always best to take care of those stretch marks sooner than later.
Use our belly balm on the stretch mark as soon as you see it appear. Doing so can still give your skin the extra boost it needs to help reduce the appearance of the mark after you’ve given birth.
Want to get ahead of stretch marks? If you’re still just at the beginning stages of pregnancy and you don’t even have a bump yet, you can start applying Belly Balm Salve to your belly before you see stretch marks starting to form. In the same way that it’s a great idea to use skincare products before you see wrinkles, it can be effective to apply the salve to your skin before you actually see stretch marks appear. Doing so gives your skin the nourishment it needs to expand, and trust us, it will expand!
In the end, stretch marks are an almost inevitable part of pregnancy and aren’t generally something to really worry about. They’re completely natural and won’t affect your body adversely in all but the rarest of cases.
That being said, if you still find you want to do what you can to reduce them, reach for our belly balm. It’ll provide the soothing and nourishing your belly needs while helping to diminish the appearance of stretch marks.
Want more all-natural solutions during pregnancy or after the baby is born? We have a host of all-natural, plant based products and salves for both Mama and Baby.