What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are caused when the skin is stretched over a very short period of time. It is most common in teenage years, during and after pregnancy.
How do they form?
When the skin stretches, it rips and formes a scar. We have 3 main layers of our skin. The epidermis (what we can see), The Dermis (that holds the hair follicles and capillaries) and the Subcutaneous layer (the fatty tissue). Stretch marks form in the Dermis, when the connective tissues are stretched. When the skin stretches the existing collagen is damaged and the production slows down which results in fine scars forming under the skin. They are red when they first form but over time they turn to thin silver lines.
Preventing stretch marks
The key to preventing them is to keep the skin (Dermis) hydrated. You can do this by increasing blood circulation either by exercising or using a body brush over the area you are worried about. Drinking a lot of water will contribute to having a hydrated dermis as well.
Preventing water from escaping through the Epidermis by using a thick cream or oil that will form a barrier. Beeswax, Petroleum jelly, and Shea butter are great for this.
Diminishing stretch marks
We want to be increasing collagen production and hydration so the skin can repair itself. I would recommend doing the same things you do for preventing stretch marks alongside using active ingredients, like:
Neroli essential oil – Stimulates circulation and cell regeneration.
Lavender essential oil- Nourishes broken skin.
Lemon essential oil- Lightens the appearance of stretch marks.
Vitamin E- This is moisturising.
vitamin C Stimulates collagen production.
Coconut oil- Full of antioxidants.
zinc- Stimulates collagen production.
Products I recommend
Shea butter is an amazing emollient that is made from the nut of the Shea tree that grows in Africa. The fatty acids are extracted from the nutshell and used to make Shea butter.
Favourite shea butter includes:
Body shop- Shea nourishing body butter.
Key west health and beauty- Organic unrefined African Shea Butter
Cocoa butter is extracted from the cocoa bean which grows in tropical regions of central and South America.
Favourite cocoa butter includes:
Palmers- Cocoa butter formula with vitamin E
Cos naturals- Stretch marks and Scars cream
Balm’s are also wonderful at creating a layer on the skin to lock in moisture.
Favourite balms include:
Naturisimo- Balmology containing neroli and Frankincense
Moa- The green balm
Oils are packed full of fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins so are brilliant at preventing and removing stretch marks.
Favourite oils include:
Coconut oil- as long as it is organic and cold pressed it doesn’t matter about the brand.
Avocado oil- I like Neal’s and Edible beauty.
Sandalwood oil- you can add a few drops of this to whatever you are applying.
A rgan oil- I use Majestic pure cosmicuticals- Moroccan Argan oil.
Using any of these will help improve skins elasticity and therefore prevent stretch marks. It is important to use these during but also after pregnancy as the skin continues to change. Continuing to use after will prevent any sagging skin. This also goes for weight loss.
I hope this helps you during your stretch mark journey!
Big hugs, Lucy x