Wednesday 29 March 2023

Pregnancy | Preventing Stretch Marks

When it comes to pregnancy and postpartum related beauty, some of the most common questions I am asked revolve around stretch marks.

Stretch marks - no matter how much they represent the beauty of motherhood - aren't loved by everyone, 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 pregnant - think belly, boobs, hips, bum, and thighs.

Firstly, the benefit of exfoliating is that it removes dead skin cells which triggers collagen and elastin production, helps to heal the skin, and 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.

One of my favourite exfoliators is Mantle's The Hot Ex Warming Pre-Shower Body Exfoliator (£32 Formulated with 99% natural ingredients, this exfoliator includes CBD, MCT Oil, Q-10, seabuckthorn, and biodegradable exfoliators. These powerful ingredients work together to effectively remove dead skin cells, even out roughness, nourish the skin, calm redness, boost radiance, and protect against free radical damage.

Moisturising the skin 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.

When it comes to which moisturiser to choose, I recommend the new Charlotte Tilbury Magic Body Cream (£49 This new gorgeous body cream is clinically proven to hydrate, firm, lift, and tone the body, helping improve the skin instantly and overtime. With key ingredients that include caffeine, hyaluronic acid, and algaktiv uplift, the Magic Body Cream provides deep hydration and reduces the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite.

As crucial as exfoliating and moisturising is in the fight against pregnancy-related stretch marks, massaging the skin is one of the most beneficial things you can do when it comes to preventing them. 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. 

During this pregnancy, I've been massaging my skin with the My Expert Midwife's Fantastic Skin Elastic Serum for Stretch Marks (£19.50 Boots). It is a midwife-developed rich massage serum that treats tight, dry, and irritated skin anywhere on the body. Most importantly it helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars. It is formulated with grapefruit, geranium, calendula, and lavender essential oils to soothe and soften the skin, as well as vitamin E to promote elasticity and beeswax to lock-in moisture.

(Image credit: @sarashakeel)

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