How to Prevent Stretch Marks during Pregnancy
I was one of the lucky ones. I did not get ONE stretch mark on my stomach anytime during or after my pregnancy. Do I think that I have naturally resilient skin? No way! My skin is super-sensitive. I did get stretch marks on my sides and my breasts from my pregnancy. But why not my stomach? The answer is simple: Prevention. Sounds easy enough, but it takes discipline and consistency.
What is involved in preventing stretch marks?
One of the most important things you can do while preventing stretch marks is to be consistent. Follow your stretch mark prevention routine at least twice daily.
Another important aspect of preventing stretch marks is to use high quality creams or oils. These don't have to be expensive or fancy. I used plain old almond oil. Towards the end of my pregnancy I mixed vitamin E capsules with mineral oil and used that. For me, that was enough.
The most overlooked aspect in preventing stretch marks is to start before you think you need to. The day you find out that you're pregnant, go home and rub on some almond oil! This tones your skin and allows it to build up the strength and elasticity that it will greatly need in the last trimester when your stomach grows the most.
What stretch mark prevention routine should you follow?
Customize your routine so it works for you and your schedule. The most important part is to, again, stay consistent. Here is what I recommend:
Apply stretch mark cream or oil at least twice daily. Once after your shower and once before you go to bed are times that are easily added into your already established routines. If you can fit in another time or two to apply your cream or oil during the day, even better!
Exfoliate once daily. I wouldn't recommend exfoliating more than that because your skin needs time to recover. I like to use a stiff, natural bristled body brush for this. It's easy, clean and you can do it while you're waiting for your shower water to warm up.
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What is a body brush and why should I use it?
A body brush has bristles that you use to literally brush your skin. It almost looks like a horse brush. It is used to exfoliate, deep clean, and stimulate the skin.
I recommend using a body brush along with creams and oils to prevent stretch marks. It can do miracles to help strength the elasticity in your skin, which is extremely important if you want to avoid stretch marks. The elasticity is what allows your skin to stretch without tearing, or, producing stretch marks.
When you look for a body brush, look for one with stiff, natural bristles. When you first start using it, it may initially may feel scratchy and uncomfortable because your skin isn't used to it yet. Brush gently and stay consistent. You'll get used to it after a couple of days.
To brush: Use short strokes. I like to start at the bottom and work my way up. Using short, gently strokes, brush in an upwards motion toward the heart, starting with the back of the thighs, working your way up and around. Not only will this give you more resilient skin, but it will also massage the skin, getting the blood and circulation moving. Don't brush so hard that you scratch yourself but if your skin looks a little rosy after a brushing session, that means your blood and circulation are working under there which is exactly what we want.
What creams or oils should I use?
There are a number of stretch mark creams out there to choose from. If you choose to buy a cream, I recommend choosing one with high customer reviews. For the most part, I trust the reviews on Amazon more than the testimonials on the cream's website.
But, really, you don't need to buy a fancy cream. As I mentioned before, I simply used almond oil, two or three times a day. It was recommended to me by a doctor in Mexico and I am very happy with the results. Not to mention it's a lot cheaper than you might pay for a fancy stretch mark removal/prevention cream. However, there are some people that swear that these creams work wonders. Maybe early on in the pregnancy you can test out a stretch mark cream versus almond oil and then stick with whichever you like best.
Apply your stretch mark cream liberally.
When using almond oil, remember that a little bit goes a long way. Massage into the skin for a few minutes until absorbed. It will take a little bit longer to rub almond oil into your skin than it would a cream or lotion. But for no stretch marks? It's worth the extra effort.
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My favorite, and the cheapest, plain old simple almond oil.
Take care of more than just your stomach
I made the mistake of focusing purely on my stomach and I got a number of large stretch marks along my sides and on my breasts. Be sure to exfoliate and moisturize your stomach as well as your hips, thighs, butt and breasts.
Relax in a bath of milk and honey
Relaxing into a tub of warm water while you're pregnant can feel wonderfully relaxing and soothing which is very healthy for you and the baby.
Next time you fill up the tub, add 2 cups of whole milk and 1/2 cup honey. Relax and enjoy.
Honey is very soothing. It is naturally anti-microbial and an antioxidant. It is great for clearing your skin of impurities as well as moisturizing and healing your skin. Milk also has cleansing qualities to it. Mix both milk and honey together and your skin will glow.
I hope you found some information here useful. Please leave me any questions you may have.Good luck on your journey!
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