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With pregnancy comes stretch marks. Luckily, there are ways that you can minimize or prevent stretch marks from happening (or help fade them if you do get them).
Here’s everything you need to know about the best stretch mark creams for pregnancy:
What are stretch marks?
The scientific term for stretch marks is “stria”. They are long, thin marks or lines that occur on your skin after rapid stretching.
These stretch marks can be different colors like red, purple, white, light blue, and silver. Most pregnant women will get stretch marks during the third trimester.
The most common places that you can find stretch marks are on the hips, breasts, thighs, buttocks, and arms. You are at greater risk of developing stretch marks if you are female, have recently gained or lost weight, or are obese.
Why stretch marks occur
Stretch marks happen when your skin stretches quickly.
During pregnancy, as the skin around your tummy expands, it causes these marks or striations. A lack of collagen in your skin will also increase the risk of stretch marks.
Cortisone or cortisol is an adrenal hormone that is released during pregnancy which can weaken skin’s elasticity and contribute to stretch marks.
Other reasons why stretch marks occur aside from pregnancy can be due to rapid weight gain and breast implants.
Related: What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag
How to get rid of stretch marks
There are ways you can try to lessen or diminish the appearance of stretch marks:
Vitamin E –
Creams and lotions that contain vitamin E have been known to reduce scarring and lessen the appearance of stretch marks.
This is used topically but shouldn’t be used during pregnancy. Products containing retinoids are also used to treat wrinkles, acne, and scarring. It is safe to use retinoids after pregnancy on your stretch marks.
Laser therapy –
Performed in salons or dermatological clinics, laser therapy can help to reduce scarring but are often pricey.
As time goes by, most stretch marks will fade or lighten until they won’t be as noticeable.
How to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy:
- Manage Weight Gain – While it is normal to gain some weight during pregnancy (on average 25-35 lbs depending on your pre-pregnancy weight), avoid excessive weight gain since this can cause stretch marks.
- Stay hydrated to keep your skin healthy and reduce the risk for stretch marks.
- Exercise can help get your blood flow going and this circulation can increase skin elasticity and prevent stretch marks.
- Incorporate nutrients into your diet like vitamin E, C, zinc, protein, and omega 3 fatty acids, which help create collagen that is good for your skin’s elasticity. Examples of these foods include oranges, eggs, tomatoes, avocados, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
- Use topical products (creams, oils, lotions) to keep your skin healthy. Vitamin E is an effective ingredient found in most of these stretch mark creams.
How stretch mark creams work/benefits of stretch mark creams
Prevents stretch marks –
If your skin is properly nourished during your pregnancy, you may prevent stretch marks from appearing. You can ask your doctor for a pregnancy safe stretch mark cream to be used on your bump to help reduce the risk of stretch marks appearing.
Lessen and improve the appearance of stretch marks –
If you do get stretch marks after pregnancy, you can apply stretch mark creams containing vitamin E or vitamin A in order to diminish the visibility. (Remember to not use stretch mark creams with vitamin A during pregnancy).
By applying stretch mark creams regularly, your skin will have a more plump appearance and can help fade those lines out.
It is more affordable than laser treatments so by applying stretch mark creams during pregnancy, you can lessen the risk of stretch marks appearing and you wouldn’t have to spend a lot in the long run for expensive treatments to get rid of them.
Prevents scars –
If you don’t treat stretch marks, it can lead to scarring and can appear red. Stretch mark creams can help in preventing further damage and tearing on your skin.
Prevents dry skin –
If your skin is not moisturized, stretch marks can appear worse and can also lead to itchiness and increased dryness.
Factors to consider when picking the best stretch mark creams for pregnancy
if you are using a stretch mark cream during pregnancy, it is best to avoid those with any retinol or vitamin A in it. Go for those with ingredients that are non-toxic and without any synthetic fragrances, parabens, and petroleum products.
During pregnancy, you may be sensitive to different ingredients so it’s best to always test the product on a small patch before applying it all over.
It is best that the cream you apply will be absorbed into the skin smoothly and quickly. Ideally, it shouldn’t leave any sticky or greasy feeling/residue.
Especially during pregnancy, strong scents could be off-putting to some women and so it’s recommended to get a stretch mark cream that doesn’t have such a strong scent.
Depending on your budget, there are different price ranges for various stretch mark creams in the market. Prices could range from 7 dollars to 40 dollars.
Pick a stretch mark cream that will provide you with the most benefits like minimizing stretch marks, fade stretch marks, and provide relief from itchiness and dryness.
Best stretch mark creams for pregnancy
Choosing the best stretch mark creams for pregnancy can feel daunting, so I’ve narrowed it down to my top eight picks!
This is one of the most popular brands of stretch mark cream and many moms vote that it is one of the best stretch mark creams for pregnancy due to its effectiveness and affordability.
It has also been tested to be zero sensitive, meaning that it won’t cause any irritations or allergic reactions. It is vegan-friendly as well. It contains shea butter that can penetrate deep into the skin but also feels lightweight.
It moisturizes the skin and prevents visible scarring. There is a light fragrance that you may notice.
This stretch mark cream is great to use to prevent stretch marks to occur during pregnancy.
It is pH balanced and contains 15 botanical oils to keep your skin healthy. It also has antioxidants and fatty acids to help with collagen development.
It is also hypoallergenic and paraben free. Apart from hydrating and soothing your skin, it can also relieve any itching or dryness. It also doesn’t have a greasy formula.
As your tummy is growing during pregnancy, you can use this cream as well as after you have given birth. This means it can prevent stretch marks as well as treat them if ever you do get some. It can even help with existing stretch marks.
It contains shea and cocoa butters, olive oil, avocado, vitamin B5, and Centella Asiatica. It also contains 100% organic ingredients and is free of parabens.
Aside from being lightweight, it doesn’t contain mineral oil meaning it isn’t greasy and won’t clog your pores. It contains vitamin E which helps heal scars.
It contains vitamin E, shea and jojoba butter, that is great at preventing stretch marks, moisturizing the skin, and lightening existing stretch marks. It can easily be absorbed and can be used on sensitive skin.
It can also help with itching and pains that come with extreme stretching during pregnancy. It also has 99% natural ingredients.
It also contains a lot of antioxidants, vitamin E, C, B3, B5, and rich oils.
It contains shea butter, organic oils, coconut oil, avocado oil, with no harmful ingredients like parabens, petroleum, colorants, etc. It is safe to use during and after pregnancy.
If you are worried about stretch marks during or after your pregnancy, you can take the necessary precautions in order to avoid them by choosing using one of the best stretch mark creams for pregnancy.
There are many options out there for you to try out and help keep your skin healthy, moisturized, as well as keeping those stretch marks at bay.