I've stumbled upon gold! The subject of stretch mark prevention has been reiterated time and time again. HOWEVER, I have yet to find a comprehensive article on how to actually prevent stretch marks. As someone who is genetically predisposed to acquire these "tiger marks," I endlessly scoured the interweb to no avail. My only hope was to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at my stomach and pray that I would come out unscathed. IT WORKED!I am three weeks postpartum and I have zero, zilch, nada, none, no stretch marks on my stomach.
I know you might be saying to yourself, "Oh, she is just one of the lucky ones" but this is not the case. My results are a direct result of the actions I took in preventing stretch marks. I know this to be true because I failed to apply the same care to other bits of my body, and these bits suffered a different fate :/.
First things first. In order to combat stretch marks, I needed to find out what caused them. Aside from genetics, the major contributing factors were the following: dehydrated skin (directly related to elasticity of skin), accumulation of dead skin cells, scratching/tearing of the skin, rapid increase or decrease in weight gain (directly related to degree of stress placed on the skin), and cortisone levels in the body.
Armed with knowledge, I was ready to take my best shot at preventing stretch marks. The following is a breakdown of what I did every single day:
EXFOLIATE. While in the shower I used an exfoliating towel from the Body Shop ($8.00). This removed the dead skin cells from my abdomen and allowed the new skin cells to regenerate without having to overcome the old.
MOISTURIZE. I then used an in shower moisturizer. I alternated between the Nivea In Shower Lotion ($7.99) and the Lush King of Skin Butter Bar ($14). The Lush website states the King of Skin is a 'solid body lotion to make your dry skin softer, smoother, and more flexible.' The bar is made of bananas, avocados, oat milk, and lavender. The bar provided more moisture but I often alternated with the Nivea moisturizer and still managed to receive the results I wanted.
LOCK IN MOISTURE. Once I was out of the shower I would lock in the moisture by applying a body oil. I used a couple but my favorites were Palmers Skin Therapy ($9.99) and natural liquid coconut oil ($8.99).
MOISTURIZE SOME MORE. Before the body oil had dried, I followed up with a heavy body butter laden with vitamin E, and later on in the pregnancy I used a heavy duty eczema cream to help with the itchiness of my stretching skin. I then let all that goodness soak in before putting on clothes or more often than not wore a moisture wicking top that aided in sealing in all that moisture.
In order to keep my skin hydrated I drank water ALL. THE. TIME. I also watched what I ate in order to gain pregnancy weight at a steady interval rather than in rapid spurts. Don't get me wrong, I still indulged in ice cream and all sorts of yummy things like churros... mmmmm... churros... I just ate in moderation. Just remember, even though you are eating for two, your little bean is very small and only needs an additional 300 to 500 calories a day.
VIOLA! This is how I prevented stretch marks. Towards the end of my pregnancy (the last month or so) I applied steps 3 and 4 twice a day, not just after my shower. This helped soothe my itchy skin and it prevented me from scratching and tearing up my skin.
I am so excited to share this information with all of you. I hope this helps you on your pregnancy journey. Lord knows there is so much more to worry about, hopefully stretch marks is no longer on your list.