Ok, I have to confess – I have stretch marks. My first pregnancy was actually stretch mark free, my second pregnancy was also…until week 38. My third pregnancy…well, I am going on week 17 and slathering on the Love My Belly Butter and Love My Belly Oil! Although my existing stretch marks have faded into faint, fine lines, I’m expecting to see them more prominently as my belly bump expands.
I wish I knew as much about natural skincare during my first two pregnancies as I do now. Although a conscious consumer, I was still using popular water-based “stretch mark lotions” which hardly protected or provided any nutritional value for my skin. After all, when a product is 70% water, how much do I have to use for it to be effective?! Unfortunately, genetics also play a role, and for some women, no matter how hard they try, stretch marks are inevitable. But what we DO know, is that there are some amazing, SAFE and NATURAL ways to prevent stretch marks, or at least minimize the severity and appearance of them.
Here are some of the lifestyle factors that contribute to the prevention of stretch marks along with an explanation of the types of products and ingredients to look for in topical stretch mark creams and oils.
A healthy diet for the inside; cleanse and nourish on the outside
We hear it said that our skin reflects what we eat. I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about diet, except to say, that diets high in sugar, salt, fatty foods, alcohol and processed junk foods will inevitably show on your skin! Focus on a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Choose organic whenever possible. Believe it or not, diets rich in vitamins C, E and zinc contribute to healthy, elastic skin.
Don’t underestimate the power of H2O
Water is a key component to skin’s elasticity! I struggle to consume my recommended daily water intake. I just don’t enjoy drinking water and have to find creative ways to insure that I drink enough. One of the things I do is add a fresh lemon to my water, or making “spa” water, with slices of cucumber or fruit! As silly as it sounds, I went to Whole Foods last month and picked out a really pretty new Sigg bottle, figuring it would help keep me motivated. Have any other tips? Post them in the comments!
What you put ON your skin MATTERS
I am always amazed at the products on the market. Miracle creams and potions claiming to fix whatever issue you may be experiencing. Fortunately, consumers are getting far more savvy and are really beginning to understand the importance of knowing what is in the products they are using and consuming. For instance, how many people know that the lotions they are slathering on their bodies can contain up to 70% water? It’s no wonder you can go down to the drugstore and buy a big plastic bottle of lotion for $3.99! Look what’s in it! The very best products for your skin are those that contain ONLY organic plant-derived, natural ingredients. No water, fillers, emulsifiers, colors, fragrance, preservatives…junk.
So, what do you look for in a product to prevent stretch marks? Here are a few tips:
*Look for products that are rich conditioners and provide a protective layer to the key areas: belly, breast and hips. Most lotions just won’t cut it, as they are too light and will absorb too quickly. They also don’t contain the same level of nutrients as a body oil or butter.
*Oils rich in vitamins C, E and A boost collagen production and are excellent for scars and stretch marks.
*Shea butter and Cocoa butter have a long history of providing a natural protective barrier and are packed with nutrients.
*Many essential oils are safe during pregnancy and provide wonderful healing, and emotional calming and stabilizing effects. There is a LOT of misinformation online about the safety or lack thereof of essential oils during pregnancy. I have done much research and consulted chemists and midwives to determine what is safe and what is not. It is important to remember that using an essential oil diluted in a carrier oil or butter is much different that consuming herbs internally. Here is a wonderful article by a natural cosmetic chemist about which essential oils are safe and which to avoid during pregnancy.
Nature provides everything we need for healthy, glowing skin. Here are my favorite raw ingredients for preventing and treating stretchmarks during pregnancy and the postpartum period:
Avocado Oil: rich in vitamins A, E and D – recognized for healing stretch marks and scarring.
Blue/Green Algae Extract: known for its non-irritating moisturizing properties, which add a protective barrier and suppleness to the skin. High in iodine, vitamins and mineral content.
Coconut Oil: one of the best oils for healing, this oil fights free-radicals and is a potent source of fatty acids.
Geranium essential oil: potent would healer with emotional stabilizing effects.
Grapeseed oil: has powerful regenerative and restructuring qualities, isrich in anti-oxidents and linoleic acid.
Jojoba Oil: high percentage of iodine gives it great power to heal, rich in vitamin E, known to remove scars and wrinkles.
Lavender essential oil: among a plethora of benefits, this EO is anti-inflammatory, tonic and excellent for healing.
Mandarin essential oil: beneficial in treating scars and stretch marks.
Olive Oil: rich in vitamin E, contains fatty acids and antioxidants.
Shea butter: rich conditioner, high percentage of vitamins A, E and F.
Rosehip seed oil: known to be one of the very best oils for anti-aging and cell regeneration. This oil rebuilds skin tissue, contains a high percentage of fatty acids, and vitamin E.
If you haven’t already skimmed through the ingredients page on our website, I encourage you to do so. You won’t find a single ingredient that does not greatly benefit and nourish your skin.
While the purpose of this post is to remind and/or educate you on how to best prevent and treat stretch marks; it wouldn’t be complete without recommending my favorite (and quite possibly the best products on the market for stretch marks).
Zoe Organics’ Love My Belly Butter – this powerhouse of nutrient-rich shea butter, oils and essential oils will delight any mommy-to be. This product is 100% organic, contains none of the ‘junk’ I mentioned above. A 4 oz jar goes a long way…it may even last your entire pregnancy! Use it after a shower or bath to lock in moisture and for easiest application and absorption. This butter will provide a wonderful protective barrier and keep your skin supple and elastic. Read more about this product or purchase here.
Zoe Organics’ Love My Body Oil – another potent remedy for the blooming mommy-to-be! This oil is 100% organic, non-greasy, and contains four of the best oils for preventing and healing stretch marks. This oil is also a special treat when applied during a gentle massage and contains four very safe and effective essential oils for relaxation and well-being. Read more about this product and purchase here.
Recently, I was asked whether or not our Love My Belly Butter and Love My Body Oil would help heal skin and stretch marks after baby was born. My answer – absolutely! Although stretch mark damage goes much deeper than the surface, we know that applying these highly effective ingredients will help condition, regenerate and restore damaged skin tissue. You may never see your stretch marks completely disappear, but you can certainly lessen the size and change the appearance of them with these natural healers and some time.
So…who wants to try our Love My Belly Butter or Love My Body Oil?! We are giving away one of each product – so there will be two winners! Giveaway closes on January 23 at midnight PST and winners will be announced on Monday, January 24. Winner will be selected using random.org. Good luck!
Mandatory to enter:
1. Leave a comment here telling us something you found helpful from this post, or leave us a relevant tip of your own!
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Extra entries: (5 possible extra entries)
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