Everything you need to know.
There is a lot of information (and opinions, for that matter) out there on stretch marks. It's overwhelming, confusing, and a little annoying when your mum tells you they are hereditary, yet your workmate swears by the Coconut Oil in her pantry. We wanted to give you the scoop on all things stretch marks. Spoiler alert: some things may surprise you.
Firstly, let us start by highlighting that around 60-80% of all women during pregnancy will get stretch marks. Despite the endlessly smooth bumps on social media and clever camera angles that leave us in the depths of comparison, we wanted to let you know that stretch marks are totally normal and extremely common. Nobody's skin is flawless, and imperfections are part of what makes us human.
So, what are stretchmarks?
Stretch marks, also known as striae, typically appear as indented red or purple lines on the skin. They commonly occur when the skin stretches or shrinks rapidly, causing the collagen and elastin fibres to break. They are very common during puberty, pregnancy, and if you are experiencing rapid weight gain or loss.
Myth 1: It's all genetics: While genetics do play a significant role in whether you develop stretch marks, lifestyle factors also contribute. Certain lifestyle choices can help improve the appearance of stretch marks or minimize their development during pregnancy. These include hydration (increased water intake), consuming collagen-boosting foods, using high-quality skincare that focuses on intense nourishment and hydration, as well as promoting improved blood circulation through movement and exercise.
Myth 2: Stretch marks are a sign of being unhealthy: This is categorically untrue. Stretch marks are not indicative of poor health. They are a natural response of the skin to changes in size, especially during pregnancy. People of all shapes and sizes can develop stretch marks.
Myth 3: There's nothing you can do to help them: While complete elimination is unlikely, there are things you can do to help prevent them or reduce their severity (see below). Taking care of your skin and body is key, especially during pregnancy when your skin is under intense pressure.
From the skincare experts
The top 5 ways to look after your skin when pregnant
Aka DRINK WATER! Your skin cells lap up hydration which helps with overall elasticity and healthy skin cell regeneration. Keeping your bodies largest organ hydrated is crucial and helps your skin adapt to the extreme changes it is going through. We recommend around 1.6litres a day which ais approx. 6-8 medium glasses of water.
- NOURISH AND HYDRATE YOUR SKIN
Seems simple, right? Surprisingly, many women either forget, aren't consistent, or use water-based products that sit on top of the skin. Your best option is to choose skincare rich in high-quality natural oils that can quickly absorb into the skin. When you are looking at skincare, be sure to check the full list of ingredients and be sure to check the base ingredient (aka, the first thing listed on the ingredients). Good quality Almond and/or Coconut Oil are best combined with ingredients like Rosehip, Avocado, Jojoba, Raspberry, Vitamin E and Pomegranate Seed oil. These will help keep the skin intensely hydrated. Plus, they are loaded with antioxidants, amino acids, and essentially fatty acids, which help lock in moisture and boost the skin's elasticity.
- EAT FOR HEALTHIER SKIN
We know you have been telling yourself this your whole life, but if there was any time to get that wholefood and good-fat goodness, it is now. Load up on that green leafy vege, foods rich in omega 3s (Avocado, Almonds) and consider taking some skin-supporting vitamins like Vitamin C, E and Omega 3 fatty acids. Consult your medical practitioner first for guidance on supplements.
- IMPROVE BLOOD FLOW AND CIRCULATION
Ok, we get it. Just getting up off the couch or out of bed can be a challenge at times. We aren't here to tell you that you need to start a 12-week bootcamp, but we are here to say that gentle exercise and consistent movement is great for your blood flow, circulation, and mood (bonus). Light walks around the block, a pre-natal yoga class, or a swim to take the weight off can all help. Why? Because exercise promotes better blood flow and circulation throughout the body, and the increased blood flow delivers essential nutrients and oxygen to skin cells, supporting their health and vitality. Plus, doing exercise can also help stimulate skin cell turnover whereby the old or damaged skin cells are replaced with new ones.
- START EARLY
A couple of salads and litres of water in your third trimester won’t cut it. Take a holistic view of your pregnancy and give your body as much love and nourishment as your will power allows. We know it can be tough when you get those cravings (and treat yourself to that double dipped gooey caramel magnum) but just remember to fill your mind and body with goodness. You and your baby deserve it.
And remember if you do get some stretch marks, don’t be too hard on yourself, Mama. Your body has done something incredible. Try to give yourself a little love and don’t shy away from that 2 piece when summer rolls around.
SHOP PURE MAMA