The truth about stretch-marks… and how to love the skin you’re in
Posted Jul 17 2011 5:00pm
image from flickr
A few days ago, I got to talking with my mum about stretch marks. She was adamant that there was nothing you could do to stop stretch marks from rearing their little veiny like stamps over a growing woman's body. She got me thinking – if we can implement strategies and ways to combat so many health ailments, why are stretch marks any different? So, I've come up with something awesome. I'm going to tell you something today that many of us have been longing to hear their entire adult lives. Ready? Strech marks ARE avoidable. Contrary to what we have been told over and over again, I believe there are things we can do to prevent stretch marks occurring.
Rapid weight gain will lead to stretch marks. I once read that if you were prone to cellulite, you were less likely to develop them. I'm not sure how true that is – but I can say that I didn't get stretch marks with Olivia and I'm determine do everything I can to prevent them this time. I know time will tell but there are certainly ways to minimise and hopefully prevent stretch marks appearing – especially on the stomach and thighs during pregnancy. Without consciously linking it together in my last pregnancy, I have come to realise that I had great nutritional habits in place which evidently contributed to the absence of stretch marks. Of course when an overweight person looses a large amount of weight – stretch marks are unavoidable as the skin has stretched over a long period of time. However – if you don't have stretch marks already OR you want to prevent more from appearing here are my top tips to stop those little critters in their tracks.
1. Fish Oil
Nutrition is of utter most importance not only during pregnancy but every single day of our waking lives. It feeds our body. Our shell isn't a separate part of us – so this nutrition extends to our largest organ – the skin! I will always suggest a pregnant woman be taking a good quality therapeutic fish oil for so many reasons. Its great for our mind (brain food for both the mother and her unborn), our mental health, our heart, and it reduces inflammation (great news for cancer prevention) as they contains fatty acids and omega 3's which are like little goodness bombs as they work their way through our systems. But there is more great news to mothers ears as research suggests that women who take fish oil are less likely to have birth complications and generally carry their babies full term. As if that isn't enough good news for one paragraph – you guessed it – it is great for our skin as it aids it cell repair and prevents damage occuring in the first place.
2. Bye bye sugar
I've said it once, I'll say it again (and probably again). Avoid refined sugars which will do a host of nasties but in this instance, most relevantly dehydrate us, meaning our skin misses out on essential moisture. On top of this, once sugars are ingested, our body goes into panic mode and doesn't quite know what to do with them. So in response to protecting itself, it traps the toxic matter in adipose (fat) tissue, hiding it away so it doesn't become a problem to the body. This means extra weight gain – and we know that rapid weight gain leads to stretch marks. So it is a big fat no on the refined sugar front. If it sounds too hard – don't worry, there are some excellent recipes on the blog for you to try your hand and, sans sugar. Fast weight gain is the major contributor to stretch marks so slowly is the key. Try not to fall into the trap of thinking you can eat for two whilst pregnant – the extra you require is the equivalent to an apple. It really isn't much at all. You may feel hungry more regularly but you will find that less will satisfy you as your tummy is compromised by a growing body inside you!
3. Don't scratch – Rub.
Third on my list – don't scratch. As the skin slowly expands, it can become quite itchy. Avoid scratching and instead, rub a little rosehip oil on the belly to relieve and nourish the skin from the outside. My favorite is the Akin Rosehip and Vitamin serum. I go through a lot of this! But in my book it is totally worth it. Oil is so much more nourishing than a cream, and I have found that lotions, particularly those that are water based don't pack the same level of moisture as an oil. Just rubbing a few drops on the skin after the shower will help prevent the itch all together. Oh and whilst I'm talking showers – try to keep the water temperature on the warmer (rather than hot) side as this also helps to prevent skin drying out which again will zap moisture and can contribute to marks.
And finally – here are my best foods to help make sure you skin stays all round awesome (I'm talking wrinkles, spots, marks, dots – you name it, this covers it)
Sweet Potatoes, Paypa, Carrot - packed with collagen producing nutrients which feed the skin, slow down the ageing process and – treat stretch marks!
Tuna – yup here I go again with the fishy stuff. Tuna is high in Selenium which preserves elastin and helps your skin stay nice and taunt.
Green leafy veggies – pop these in for good measure – great to slow down the ageing process and excellent to prevent skin cancers
Dark Chocolate – Yup, a little of the good stuff is full of anti-oxidents and will help keep your skin fabulous. Just a little though. Too much will have you back scratching your belly as your waist line expands!
H2O – moisturise your body from the inside out to prevent dehydration. 8 glasses is they key.
Of course this information isn't limited to pregnant woman – all women can benefit from these small changes in your diet to better look after you skin, weight and overall health – that's all part of a more fertile you.