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Top 5 Tips for Preventing Stretch Marks

Updated on May 25, 2009

Stretch marks, or rather the desire to prevent them, has to be one of the most popular topics for pregnant women. Unfortunately, pregnancy and extreme weight gain and or loss is what causes skin to lose its elasticity and end up, as unsightly stretch marks.

For years, we have been trying to solve the mystery of preventing and reducing stretch marks. Many substances have been used, some successfully, and some not. Results are different for each individual. Obviously, genetics plays a role, but having a mother who had stretch marks doesn’t assure you that you will or will not have them.

As far as all these tips go, none of them will hurt, and some may help. If you're lucky!

1. Use Cocoa Butter
100% cocoa butter may be the most widely used method of preventing stretch marks during pregnancy. During both of my pregnancies I used a stick or pure cocoa butter cream, and I have no stretch marks. That said, my mother, after four children and my sister, after three, also have no stretch marks. Do I credit my luck with heredity or the cocoa butter?

2. Use Vitamin E Oil
Mixing vitamin E oil with 100% cocoa butter is another popular prevention. Also, over-the-counter creams with olive oil and other oils with cocoa butter are sold as stretch mark remedies.

3. Don't Gain Too Much Weight
Stick to the doctor recommended 35 pounds (or less, depending on your height) of weight gain during pregnancy.

4. Pace Your Weight Gain
Don’t gain too much, too fast. Stretching your skin quickly in a short time span can make the possibility of stretch marks greater

5. Pamper Yourself
Brush and massage to stimulate circulation. Apart from the cocoa butter, using a body brush to stimulate circulation and awaken your lymph system is thought to help reduce the look of rippled and dimpled skin. Always brush toward the heart, and apply a lotion to moisturize the skin after brushing. Massage is also considered a valuable tool to stimulate skin’s circulation and encourage the breakdown of fat cells.

Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed preventative solution for stretch marks, but most preventative measures and remedies rely on the basic principles of circulation and intense moisturizing of the skin. Even before pregnancy, taking good care of your skin – all of it – by exfoliating and applying good-quality lotion may help your skin’s elasticity later. The thighs and belly seem to take the worst beating, so pay special attention to those parts before you ever become pregnant, and maybe you’ll be glad you did.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davhor/3286969625/

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