I received an email from a reader last week requesting a post on stretch marks. I may be in my twenties but I have a few run-ins with blasted stretch marks over the years, most of which occurred during my early teenage years. I have done much research over the years and tried just about everything to encourage them to fade. Now, I’m no expert but I’m happy to share what I have learned and what products I use.
1. Stretch marks can happen to anyone – They’re not age related. They can happen when you got through a growth spurt in your teens, put on weight or are pregnant. Stretch marks occur when the skin stretches and a tear appears in the tissue. It may appear purple at first but they fade to a faint silver shade with time.
2. Skin must be supple to bounce back. If you have dry skin it lacks lipids.
3. Stretch marks can be genetic. Blame your mammy.
4. You can help prevent them, although genetics may win in the end. At least when your body returns to normal the moisturisation will encourage your skin to follow suit.
5. They fade over time naturally. You can also help them fade by ensuring the skin the nourished and moisturised.
6. They may never completely disappear – it is ripping of tissue after all
7. Moisturise from the inside – If you have dry skin moisturising from the inside can help. My skin was so dry as a teen that I needed to moisturise my entire body 3 times a day for it to feel comfortable. Then a friend of mine, a naturopath, recommended I take flax supplements. After a few weeks my skin was far less dry and I only moisturised going to bed every second night. Drink plenty of water, if you’re body is dehydrated your skin won’t see a drop!
8. Moisture on the outside – Moisture is your friend. That being said there are very few ingredients that have proved helpful in fading and protecting your skin from stretch marks. Cocoa Butter has proved to be effective. As has Bio-Oil which is a little expensive. Bio Oil helped my scars heal flat so personally I would try it on stretchmarks. The Body Shop Cocoa Butter stick and Palmers Cocoa Butter(see below) are also good. I moisturise my stretched areas (for m e it’s hips)morning and evening without fail. It takes dedication and a constant stream of lipids to keep dry skin supple.
8. Pregnancy – start early. Genetics is in play, so if your mum had stretchmarks during pregenancy be prepared. They will fade after delivery but may not completely disappear. Palmers Cocoa Butter. Twice a day at least.
9. Teenagers – My own stretchmarks formed at the age of 14 when I took a growth spurt and my hips arrived. I didn’t actually out on any weight, I was a pigeon at this stage, but the growth spurt was enough to cause them. If you are a teenager, relax, they will fade. You’re skin is much more supple than women older than you. Moisturise regularly and take care of your skin. They will fade.
10. A bit of fake tan makes the world of difference. It counteracts the purple / silveriness. Try it.
* A note on organic – Many lab made creams that cost the earth and claim to rid you of your stretchmarks. Be realistic. You are often paying for the label and the advertising. Lab made chemicals are often too large to be absorbed by the skin, you will feel the residue sitting on the surface. In my experience a more natural approach is best. Nourish from the inside, add more moisture from the outside and stay hydrated. When you have those in check then start thinking about including a cocoa butter formula and maybe some bio oil. When choosing a cocoa butter formula check the ingredients on the back of the bottle – if cocoa butter is listed near the top of the list than you can rest assured that the product has enough of the ingredient to be effective.
I will post a recipe for a diy stretchmark cream later this week, it’s far more effective than most shop bought products thanks to the quality of the ingredients and the lack of synthetic chemicals.
As I said, I’m no expert, but I hope this helps!