Thursday, March 6, 2014

You've Been Marked!

So many things are happening to your body internally from the time you conceive.  Not only are there changes happening on the inside, but on the out as well.  In some women you will notice changes in your face, nose, lips, hair, and your skin.  The biggest change you will find is in your skin.  Some women are lucky enough to get stretch marks.

Stretch marks are when the elastic fibers under the skin’s surface break.  This results in purple or white lines that form on your body when your body is growing and your skin isn’t able to keep up.  Some people who gain weight in a short span of time may notice them.  In pregnancy, with your belly growing and your breasts growing if your skin doesn’t have enough elasticity to keep up with the growth you will see what is known as stretch marks.  You will most likely find them on your belly or breasts, but they can also form on your thighs, bum, lower back, and under arms.

When I was pregnant people kept telling me to rub cocoa butter all over my body to help prevent stretch marks.  The brutal reality is you can not prevent them.  It depends on the elasticity of your skin and genetics does play a part, if your mom had them you are at greater risk of getting them.  Though you can not prevent them, using lotions is certainly something you can do to keep them under control while you are expanding to make room for your little nugget.  Keeping the skin hydrated will help with the itchiness you may have from the skin stretching.  When you scratch the skin it will make the stretch marks worse.
The good news is after the pregnancy some of the stretch marks will eventually fade. They never really go away but they can fade to a faint line that blends more with the skin; however, there are some marks that remain front and center.  Since they can not be prevented, if you are lucky enough to get them, focus on helping them fade post pregnancy rather than trying to prevent them from happening.

Here are some ways to help stretch marks fade after the baby is born and improve your skins elasticity.
Massage the skin.  By massaging the skin with natural lubricants you will be helping the elasticity in your skin which will at the very least help in the color of the marks.  A few lubricants that are beneficial to use are:
  • Almond Oil
  • Alive Oil
  • Aloe Vera
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Shea Butter
  • Vitamin E Lotion
Drink plenty of water.  Water helps keep your skin healthy which should help your skin recuperate from the stress that it’s endured.
Exfoliate the skin.  By exfoliating the skin you will be getting rid of dead cells allowing the skin new skin to breath.  This will help with itchiness and will help the marks fade over time.  To avoid spending a ton of money on exfoliators that have a bunch of chemicals in them you can make some exfoliators at home.  Sugar is an excellent exfoliator and you can usually find it right in your kitchen.  If you add a bit of olive oil or almond oil and some lemon juice to the sugar you now have the paste-like substance you need to exfoliate.  When you shower gently massage this over the necessary areas for a couple of minutes and rinse it off.
Rub lemon over the trouble spots.  Cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon all over any trouble spots you find.  Lemon is an awesome way of rejuvenating your skin.  The acidity from the lemon helps fade any redness and helps repair the damaged skin.
Take a bath.  Not just any bath, add some sea salt to your tub of warm water.  The salt water will help excrete the toxins from your skin.  Sit in the salt water for at least 30 minutes once a week.
Carrots are your best friend.  Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin C which is great for keeping your skin fresh, healthy and beautiful.  You can drink carrot juice or make a paste to rub on your marks.  Mix the carrot drink with some sea salt or sugar and massage into the skin, allow it to dry before you rinse.

These are just some helpful tips on how to help fade the marks you may have gotten from your pregnancy.  I don’t recommend using any over the counter stretch mark creams during your pregnancy other than simple vitamin E lotion or cocoa butter because there are chemicals in any stretch mark cream that can be harmful to your baby.  Give some of these a shot and take some before and after pictures and see if your marks improved.  My stretch marks definitely have faded after 4 months of using these remedies.  If you find that they are not fading and are still very prominent the best advice I can give is embrace them and own them.  You earned those tiger stripes and it is a beautiful memory of the bond you have with your baby.

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