A growing belly is inevitable if you have “bun in the oven,” but stretch marks do not have to be. Proper skin nourishment may help you to prevent stretch marks.
Stretch marks happen when skin growth cannot keep pace with the increase in tissue volume below it. As a result, skin stretches, overextending the elasticity of the collagen and elastin that is present. The visible marker is thin strips of skin that are red or purplish, which fade to white, gray or silver.
Because stretch marks happen because of rapid growth, preventing them may be as “simple” as gaining weight gradually rather than in spurts. Of course, this is easier said than done during pregnancy. Morning sickness and food aversions followed by food cravings make appetite regulation difficult. Plus, it’s not just your rate of growth at issue, and you have no control over how fast your baby will pack on the ounces.
Still, gradual weight gain during pregnancy is considered healthier, and your doctor will monitor your weight to ensure you are gaining appropriately.
In the meantime, you can help prepare your skin for a big stretch by providing it the nourishment it needs for optimal elasticity. A good pregnancy skincare regime will include:
Adequate hydration needs to come from the inside and outside, so that means drinking plenty of fluids and slathering your skin with rich moisturizers. Formulas with hyaluronic acid, the same compound in baby’s skin that makes it so supple, will bind and hold water.
New skin requires collagen, and since collagen production diminishes with age, you can supplement by delivering collagen and collagen-promoting ingredients directly to your skin.
The best chance for prevention comes with early skincare intervention. Even before you begin to show, get in the habit of massaging nourishing lotion into your belly. This practice will prepare your skin and provide a calming time for you and your growing little one.
Even with the most careful preparations, genetics just may not be on your side. If you get stretch marks, early attention to them can help them fade faster and more completely. Again, hyaluronic acid-enriched formulas are going to be most effective. For women who are not breastfeeding, a prescription-strength retinoid may also be used.