Stretch marks can really put a damper on the fun of being pregnant. As excited as you are to see your baby growing inside, the stretching of the belly skin on the outside is another story. For years, we’ve heard that cocoa butter was the answer to avoiding stretch marks (striae gravidarum is the medical term), but that tale never sat well with me. Cocoa butter can moisturize and nourish your skin, however, it will not prevent stretch marks.
After doing some digging, I came up with some tips along with a DIY cream that you may want to try.
Tips for Avoiding Stretch Marks on your Skin
- Stay hydrated: Skin that is well hydrated is more resilient against stretch marks.
- Eat a nutrient-rich diet: Consume foods rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Zinc, and omega-3 fatty acid. Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient can be beneficial both for you and your developing child. It has a positive effect on the developing infant’s vision and brain.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal and healthy. However, it is a common misconception that pregnancy means doubling your food intake.
- Spend a couple of minutes in the sun every day: A recent study found a link between vitamin D levels and the appearance of stretch marks.
- Massage your skin and moisturize at least once or twice a day with products containing these ingredients or use alone:
- Coconut oil
- Shea butter
- Olive oil
- Aloe vera
DIY Anti-Stretch Mark Cream for Skin
After reading various studies (here is one), I came up with a combination of ingredients that have been shown to prevent stretch marks on your skin. Give this DIY concoction a try and see what you think.
- Burt’s Bees Fragrance-free Body Lotion
- Centella Asiatica Extract by Gotu
- Vitamin E Oil
- Hydrolysates in powder form
- 8 oz glass jar (sanitized, if it’s being reused). Reusing plastic jars can produce unwanted bacteria.
Mix 1 tbsp. of Vitamin E oil and 20 drops of the Centella Asiatica Extract into the glass jar and stir.
Next, add 1 tbsp. of collagen hydrolysates into the mixture and stir until dissolved.
Then, pump out approximately 6 oz of the Burt’s Bees Body Lotion into the mixture and stir well.
Store at room temperature.
Disclaimer: This DIY lotion hasn’t been tested by me, but as long as your skin is not allergic to any of these ingredients, you can’t go wrong. Feel free to experiment with the ratio of ingredients to see what works well for you and share your successes and failures with me.
This DIY formula is not vegetarian because plants do not have collagen. I found two beef-based powder options and one marine-based (fish). I prefer the marine collagen because it is absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream and has a higher bioavailability.
If you are dealing with stretch marks after pregnancy, you may read my previous post to learn about these treatment options:
- Retinol cream
- Glycolic acid creams
- Chemical peels
- Non-ablative lasers