Most women will get stretch marks somewhere on their body during pregnancy. Stretch marks or striae gravidarum are thick, linear bands that present on the abdomen, bottom and thighs, arms and breasts. When they first appear they will usually look like angry streaks that are red, purple or pink in colour. Stretchmarks usually appear in the final months when women have a sudden abdominal growth spurt and changes in hormone levels which may have an effect on the skins elasticity and strength.
It is no surprise that the main site for stretchmarks are the abdomen and breasts, both being areas that see an expansion. There are other specific indicators to being more susceptable to getting stretch marks. These are;
•younger maternal age during pregnancy
•family history of striae, non-white race
•excess weight gain during pregnancy
•higher maternal body weight, carrying a larger baby
Preventing and Managing Stretch Marks
Most women may have a genetic disposition to stretch marks and this is something we can do little about however there are ways to support the skin in order to limit their severity. Good nurtrition, exercise and using a good moisturiser can help deal with stretch marks and even prevent them.
Excessive Weight Gain
Since excessive weight gain appears to be a contributing factor to the development of stretch marks, it is important for women to maintain a healthy and appropriate weight during their pregnancy. The NHS suggests that women should gain anywhere between 8 and 14 kilos during pregnancy depending on if they are underweight or overweight at the start of their pregnancy.There are also added benefits for not gaining excess weight during diabetes - these would include the development of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia - both being high risk factors for pregnancy.
Nutrition and Exercise
Having regular exercise and making sure you eat the appropriate foods in pregnancy can help you put on weight gradually and adequately for your benefit and for the health of your growing child.
Natural Skincare Products
One way of managing or preventing stretch mark scaring is to use a product designed specifically for the purpose - the focus of which would be to smooth and toning the skin as well as restoring vital lost moisture. There are some lovely ingredients that are used for scar reduction, moisturisation and firming and toning the skin. These include rosehip oil, shea butter, olive oil and frankincense.
Rosehip seed oil is high in the essential fatty acids linoleic fatty acid and linolenic fatty acid otherwise known as Vitamin F. Rosheip oil is great for cell regeneration, a must for helping the body prevent and heal stretch marks.
Shea buttter comes from processing and extracting the oil from the nut of the karite tree. It is a rich and grainy butter that has excellent moisturising properties and has been used for centuries by the people of Africa for cooking and for caring for the skin. It is also good for people who suffer from dry and irritable skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, helping to protect and aid in healing.
Olive oil ontains squalane,a emmolient that closely resembles human sebum; Oleocanthal- a non steroidal anti inflammatory and antioxindent agent; Phenols which are also antiinflammatory and anticoagulant and chlorophyll, thought to help heal the skin. All helping to regerate and make the skin glow.
Found from East Africa, the middle east (Oman, Yemen) and India, Frankincense oil comes from the gum of the tree. The oil is high in boswellic acid, a substance that has proven anti-inflammatory activity. There is reliable evidence that boswellic acid, when introduced into beauty products can improve the texture and elasticity of skin.
When applied topically these creams can have great benefit for keeping the skin supple, moisturised and aid with toning the skin.