About stretch marks
When a woman is pregnant, she is bound to gain some weight. It is not only normal, but also necessary for the proper development of the fetus. This weight gain, however, causes the skin to stretch beyond its natural range, which results in tiny tears in its structure. Those tears, located in the middle layer of the skin, cause additional production of collagen, which appears as pink, light brown or red lines on the skin.
Stretch marks usually appear on the belly, the breasts, upper arms, thighs and hips. They tend to fade over time but they rarely go away completely.
Tips for prevention of stretch marks
It is very important to start taking extra care of the skin as soon as the pregnancy starts. That is basically the only way to efficiently prevent the stretch marks from appearing. The skin must be properly moisturized at all times. It is best to use creams that contain vitamin E, collagen and elastin. The vitamin E can even be applied topically in pure form, from capsules.
Shea butter is one of the best remedies against stretch marks. It can be found in pure form, in specialized stores and in African markets, but it also comes as an ingredient in body lotions, creams and moisturizers. This natural butter, which is actually an oil, has an amazing ability to repair damaged skin.
Another great product against stretch marks is cocoa butter. Like shea butter, it also comes in its natural form or combined with other ingredients in lotions and creams.
These butters and lotions should be applied daily, preferably twice a day, after bathing or showering.
However, moisturizing and nourishing the skin will not be effective unless the skin is not properly exfoliated. Scrubbing the entire body twice a week will eliminate dead skin cells and make the stretch marks less visible.
The skin needs to be hydrated from the inside too. The best way to achieve this is to drink plenty of water, between eight and ten glasses per day. This will also prevent and relieve water retention, which is another common issue in pregnancy. Of course, a healthy, well-balanced diet is also necessary.