Sunday, 12 January 2020

Pregnancy | Stretch Marks

Credit: instagram.com/sarashakeel
When it comes to pregnancy and postpartum related beauty questions, the most common seem to focus around stretch marks, and it's no surprise.

Stretch marks - no matter how much they represent the beauty of motherhood - aren't nice to look at, especially when they first appear. Although painless, stretch marks start their life as pink, red, or purplish streaks that look pretty nasty. They look less noticeable as they fade to a silvery white colour, however this then causes them to be much more noticeable each time you tan. So you really can't win.

Stretch marks are caused when parts of the body rapidly expand, causing skin to lose elasticity and eventually tear, resulting in scarring. So, sadly as your body changes shape and size to accommodate your beautifully growing baby, your chances of getting stretch marks increases. The likelihood of getting stretch marks also increases postpartum, as your body continues to change.

Luckily there are things you can do to prevent the skin forming stretch marks during and after pregnancy. And even at worst, these things will help the ones that do appear look less offensive. They are exfoliating, moisturising and massaging the areas most prone to developing stretch marks when preggo - think belly, boobs, hips, bum, and thighs (if you're anything like me1).

Firstly, the benefit of exfoliating is that it removes dead skin cells, triggering collagen and elastin production, helping to heal the skin, as well as make it stronger and more resilient to future damage. Regular exfoliation during pregnancy also promotes a smoother skin texture and more even complexion, perfect for tackling those pesky purple lines. Finally, exfoliating also helps creams, butters, and oils - that prevent and help to treat stretch marks - better penetrate the skin, maximising their benefits. And while we're on the subject of creams, butters, and oil, moisturising also plays a big role in keeping stretch marks at bay. This is because well moisturised and hydrated skin is more supple and has better elasticity, which is important when it comes to supporting continuously stretching skin! Also, moisturising the skin regularly makes it less prone to damage and will help to restore it postpartum. One of my favourite exfoliators is the Frank Body Original Coffee Scrub (£12.99 ASOS) and, when it comes to moisturisers, I love the Bloom and Blossom Anti Stretch Mark Cream (.£24 amazon.co.uk).

As crucial as exfoliating and moisturising is in the fight against pregnancy-related stretch marks, one of the most beneficial things you can do when it comes to preventing them is massage. Everyday
massage techniques help to break down scar tissue that has accumulated and also increases blood circulation, which will help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. And when I say everyday massage techniques, I mean it. Throughout my pregnancy my massage techniques took the form of simply rubbing in oil and creams into the skin, in circular motions, for around one minute per area most prone to getting stretch marks. It was that basic but it did the trick as limiting the amount of stretch marks I had. I only ended up with a few little lines that appeared postpartum, and I think this was because I put my stretch mark skincare routine on hold when the baby arrived... he was a real distraction! When it comes to massage oils, you can't go wrong with The Tummy Rub Oil from Mama Mio (£27 lookfantastic.com) - it is the best pregnancy oil out there. Look out for a more in depth review soon!


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