To Beat Stretch Marks For Good
Among the most common of all
pregnancy-related skin problems is undoubtedly stretch marks -
those deep red, sometimes blue lines that can occur not only
on your tummy, but also on your breasts, upper arms, hips,
thighs and even your buttocks.
Medically known as striae
gravidarum, they usually begin in the second trimester,
frequently starting at the navel and fanning out over your
abdomen in what a pregnant girlfriend of mine now refers to as
her "personal beach ball" pattern!
While the folklore on how to
prevent stretch marks has practically become a cottage industry,
the reality is, there are only a few factors that are capable of
influencing whether or not you experience this problem. First
and foremost, is your heredity. If your Mom had stretch marks -
or if you had them in a previous pregnancy - then you're a prime
candidate now. Ethnicity matters too. While African American
women are the least likely to experience stretch marks, natural
blondes with light complexions are at greatest risk.
The good news is there are also
some factors related to stretch marks that you can control.
So, even if you are prone to this problem, there are ways to
decrease your risks - starting with watching your weight and
keeping extra pounds under control.
Excerpted here from
"Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy" by Colette Bouchez
(Doubleday/Broadway, NY 2/10/04), there's some real good
information to be had!!
Also important is keeping your
overall body complexion well hydrated, particularly your stomach
and breast. This is especially important if you are gaining weight quickly. Because skin that is supple and soft has
more elastic qualities, you are less likely to experience
stretch marks if your skin is well moisturized.
While from a cosmetic standpoint
almost any product that is good for dry skin is great for belly
moisturizing, it's also important to remember that the more a
product is absorbed into the skin, the more likely it is that
tiny capillaries - already dilated from pregnancy - can pick up
ingredients and carry them into your bloodstream and eventually,
to your baby. This can be especially disconcerting if you are
using product containing a lot of chemicals and especially
preservatives. While what you retain will be exceptionably small
and not much cause for concern, whenever possible doctors
recommend that during pregnancy you choose the purest, most
natural skin care products possible, particularly for use on
your stomach. One product that can give you all the moisturizer
properties you need without any risks is pure cocoa butter.
While there is no scientific
evidence to show that it prevents stretch marks, generations of
women have proven that it does appear to have some preventative
properties. This all- natural fat derived from the cocoa bean
is known to have superior moisturizing properties and is able to
keep skin moist and conditioned enough to avoid stretch marks.
The key, however, is find as close to 100 percent pure
cocoa butter as you can get.
And remember, Bouchez says that for those of you already
experiencing stretch marks, it's not too late to lubricate!
Stretched skin that is kept
supple and soft is far more likely to return to normal once your
pregnancy weight is lost - and any stretch marks you do
experience are far more likely to disappear on their own,
usually beginning two weeks after you deliver.
Preventing Stretch Marks -
If you let her, Mother Nature
could be your skin's best ally during pregnancy. Some of the
most skin-quenching products you can use, are those you make
yourself with ingredients that can be found right in your
suggests you try:
tablespoons of honey in a warm bath can draw moisture to your
skin. If you're a shower girl, bring a plastic squeeze bottle of
honey into the tub, and after tummy is wet, squeeze a little
honey directly on your belly and rub in. Let it remain while you
continue your shower and rinse off right before you're done
Make your own all-natural
cocoa butter by heating equal parts of grated cocoa butter and
coconut oil in a microwave until melted. Stir well, let cool
and apply generously on your tummy, hips, buttocks, breast and
Soak a clean, white cloth in small dish of warm milk, squeeze
out and apply the compress to your belly for up to 15 minutes.
Re-dip several times, and reapply as needed.
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