Since the skin of your abdomen is rapidly stretched to many times its normal size, it’s unsurprising that the majority of pregnant women develop stretch marks. These are narrow, red lines of scar tissues that arise during pregnancy and, after the baby is born, they fade to become thin, silvery lines that, in most cases, don’t disappear.
Many women become very conscious of them, and so become embarrassed about their bodies. The best range of creams, lotions, laser treatments and ‘miracle cures’ for stretch marks is testimony to this, but unfortunately most do not produce any lasting effect – and some have actually been known to cause irritation to the delicate skin around the abdomen. The good news is that there are also a number of natural ways you can help reduce the effect of stretch marks that will not cause you damage in return.
Natural Solutions and Remedies
Eating may seem an odd way to deal with stretch marks – after all, it was the stretching of the skin around your belly that caused the marks in the first place – but there are a number of food that can help to heal damaged skin tissue and encourage new growth. Eat foods that are rich in proteins, together with those containing vitamins C,E and K, and zinc. Nuts, for example,are good for stretch marks, as are seeds, dairy products, leafy vegetables and tomatoes.
There is nothing like toning up your abdominal muscles to help your skin firm up. Avoid focusing solely on sit-ups and crunches, though; a good, all-round workout is one of the best remedies for stretch marks, as it helps to promote that all-important core strength (caution; this is advice is for the postpartum period only).
The leave of this succulent plant contain an excellent skin moisturiser and healer, which is why it is found in so many skin care products. Straight off the plant is best, but if you don’t have access to one there are plenty of Aloe Vera gels available, and all you need to do is apply it directly on the stretch marks at least once a day. It is fairly sticky at first but it does dry, and, as it does so , its enzymes help to encourage the replacement of damaged skin tissue and counteract the effects of the stretch marks.
The number on oil recommended for stretch marks is lavender, closely followed by tea tree oil. Lavender oil should be applied three times a day to the area in question, preferably starting as early as the second trimester – though should be avoided in the first. It is best used with a carrier oil such as avocado, sweet almond or jojoba, all of which is also help the skin’s healing process. Tea tree oil is a natural ‘scar healer’ and is best applied once a day.
Cocoa butter can be used during pregnancy to help keep stretch marks from developing as your bump grows. If you massage it into the relevant areas for a few minutes, twice a day, this will not only soften your skin, helping to retain its elasticity, but will also encourage good circulation, which helps to keep your skin in good shape.
Extra-Strength Home Remedy
For more pronounced stretch marks, it may be necessary to combine certain oil with vitamins for the maximum effect. Try mixing avocado, lavender and chamomile oils with the contents of vitamin A and E capsules, for an effective home remedy.