Although you are super excited to see your bump grow week by week, you are probably also worried about getting stretch marks. You'll try every advice to look for ways to prevent them.
Sound familiar? I know this all too well because I was you. Just like 78% of expecting women I also used a product to prevent stretch marks. Because I knew stretch marks are partly down to genetics, and my mama had them, I was extra vigilant about stretch mark protection and wanted to make sure that I did everything I could to prevent them.
And guess what? It worked well for me! In this blog, I will share my 3 step belly-love-routine that helped me prevent stretch marks during my pregnancy.
Having said that, I think it's even more important that when you do get stretch marks, wear your stripes with confidence. Self-care starts by loving your marks. These steps can help you though to reduce the sensation of your itchy stretched skin and nourish them to keep them from getting worse.
Step 1: Exfoliating
I recommend exfoliation as the first step in your stretch mark prevention routine. Exfoliating is the perfect way to make your skin feel like new. It removes dead skin cells leaving skin soft and it improves the effectiveness of topical skin care products, that you can put on afterward, by enhancing absorption. Exfoliating with a body scrub is completely safe to do when you're expecting as long as you don't use products with BHA (Salicylic acid). Long-term exfoliating can increase collagen production. This protein promotes skin elasticity, which comes in handy when treating or preventing stretch marks.
For those of you with existing stretch marks, exfoliation for stretch marks also applies to those that already exist.
Step 2: Skincare packed with fatty acids
Since stretch marks are easier to prevent then they are to minimise, it's important to begin as soon as possible with taking good care of this vulnerable skin. The dermis tears when your skin is not elastic enough to support the stretch of your growing bump. Elasticity in your skin is retained by Omegas 3, 6 and 9 which are fatty acids, essential for supporting collagen fibres in your skin.
Omega-3 and 6 are considered essential fatty acids because the body cannot make them on its own. These are the skincare ingredients to look for:
- Omega-3—Found in foods such as fish oil, flaxseed (linseed) oil, walnut oil, chia oil, and certain species of algae.
- Omega-6—Abundant in many plant oils, linoleic acid, and passion fruit oil.
- Omega-9—Plentiful in flaxseed (linseed) oil and soybean, canola, peanut, and sunflower oils.
When it comes to skincare, it’s really important to choose products packed full of these goodies to help to maintain the elasticity of your skin. This allows it to move and grow with your developing bump whilst maintaining strength and minimizing your chances of developing stretch marks.
Step 3: Take extra Vitamin D supplements
One study found a correlation between low levels of vitamin D and the incidence of stretch marks. More research is needed, but results suggest that maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D may reduce your risk of stretch marks. Vitamin D is taken up and transported throughout the body to help create healthy cells. This includes skin cells.
Pregnant women in another study of of the Medical University of South Carolina who took 1,200 mg or 4,000 IU of the vitamin daily in their second and third trimesters showed no evidence of harm, but they had half the rate of pregnancy-related complications as women who took 120 mg or 400 IU of vitamin D every day. And there is no evidence that vitamin D supplementation is toxic during pregnancy, even at levels above 3,000 mg or 10,000 IU.
Most prenatal vitamins contain around 120 mg or 400 IU of vitamin D. That means it is safe to give your skin an extra vitamin D boost! You can increase your vitamin D intake by taking extra vitamin D supplements.
Pregnancy is a time of many changes, so it’s important to remember to do what’s best for you. A five-minute skincare routine to give your bump some extra love at the beginning or end of the day can be the perfect way to take some well-deserved ‘me-time’.