#BeautyBar: Pregnancy stretch marks 101

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If you ever thought you had a problem with stretch marks before, try getting pregnant.

I think I was about 15, maybe 16, when I first started noticing stretch marks on my thighs. Before then, they were this phenomenon that I’d occasionally hear complaints over but knew nothing about.

At first, they were an incredibly sore sight for my eyes but as years went by, I got used to them being a part of me; like the hair on my head or the occasional mountain of a pimple that would plant itself on my chin at that time of the month.

They were a part of me, and I was ok with that… until I got pregnant and it all went downhill.

I have found stretch marks in places I didn’t even think could stretch out. The other day I found one lonely stretch mark on my calf. My calf! I mean, what business does my calf have stretching out?

So where do they come from?

To be honest, I don’t think I have it that bad. It’s just that I hadn’t realized how and when stretch marks attack. For instance, I don’t have a single stretch mark on my stomach (yet) but I do have them on my breasts (something that caught me off guard.)

Stretch marks are simply a result of your skin being stretched by either losing or adding weight resulting in your skin breaking. Some women are lucky enough to go through pregnancy without a single mark to show for it but that is often hereditary and depends on your skin’s elasticity.

I’m definitely not one of those women.

Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise!

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that a little olive oil can go a long way.

I’ve always been the kind to moisturize my entire body after every shower but I do believe that the fact that I pay more attention to my belly, breast and thigh area now have helped curb a lot of stretch marks.

I switch between using coconut oil, olive oil and bio oil – all of which I really love and have religiously used throughout my pregnancy. But the truth is, there’s no oil that will actually act as the miracle cure. It’s just that it helps nourish your skin and stops you from itching too much which could break the skin faster.

Photo by Tatiana Karanja; c/o www.thisisess.com

Starts from the inside out.

Believe it or not, nourishing your skin from the inside is where it all starts. Eating foods that are high in Vitamin C will help tone your skin so be sure to stock up on oranges, grape fruits and peppers.

It’s also important to note that a rapid increase in weight will add to the likelihood of your skin stretching out so being aware of your diet during your pregnancy could help in the long run.

So it’s important to note that it’s not just about the creams you put on your skin but what you put inside your body too.

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Fading

From what I’ve heard and read, a good amount of stretch marks gained during pregnancy will eventually fade away once you’ve given birth. It won’t be an immediate effect and not all of them will disappear but they’ll definitely be less. An encouraging though, indeed.

To help this process along, it may be useful to look for creams and oils with hyaluronic acid and/or retinoid which can stimulate collagen growth and plump up your skin.

And if you’re not sure where to start, a trip to your dermatologist would be a great place.

All in all, pregnancy is a blessing and at the end of the day, I’m sure what we all really yearn for is a healthy baby. But if this article helps you figure out how to get one less stretch mark, then it doesn’t hurt to try!

Happy pregnancy!

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Sharon Mundia

Sharon Mundia is the author of the award-winning, personal style blog, This Is Ess. As a fashion fanatic, beauty lover and home decor enthusiast, she will leave you wanting to revamp your closet, home and life in general.

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