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Preventing and Healing Stretch Marks

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Just about every mother has stretch marks. I wish women would view the probability of pregnancy stretch marks in different light rather than unsightly marks on their body. These scars are our rite of passage into Motherhood! They say we’ve carried and nurtured another life inside of our body! I’ve now joined the Motherhood Tribe and we are strong, confident women! If we’ve given birth we can do anything!

Alas, until that happens I can say that there is no guarantee that you won’t get stretch marks. Therefore my mantra is to “be prepared and actively manage your pregnancy and postpartum recovery,” and you can lower likelihood of getting stretch marks or better heal the stretch marks that you have.

Why do we get stretch marks?

The skin is fairly elastic however elasticity varies from one woman to the next. Elasticity determines how much the skin can stretch before thinning and leaving marks. Stretch marks occur when the dermis, the middle layer of your skin, is stretched to a point where its elasticity begins to break down and collagen production is interrupted. At this point, microscopic bleeding occurs along with tissue inflammation which gives us the raised reddish purple look of newly formed stretch marks. As these marks heal, scar formation occurs, and you have a stretch mark. Over time the marks fade to a silvery white color that is a few shades lighter than your natural skin tone.

Areas prone to stretch marks are the abdomen, breasts, thighs and buttocks. Most women develop stretch marks in these areas in the 7th or 8th month of pregnancy.

Proper nutrition is a good starting point

There are many ways to prevent or treat stretch marks. The best way to prevent and treat your stretch marks begins with a healthy diet. Plenty of water keeps your body hydrated and keeps all systems working properly. You should be drinking at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water each day. Proper hydration keeps your skin elastic and helps keep collagen production at normal levels.

Adequate intake of Vitamins A, E, C and zinc also provide nutrition for your skin. Foods that are rich in these vitamins and minerals include fruits and vegetables, fish liver oils, almonds and other nuts, leafy greens, eggs, beans, and fish. A balanced diet which includes these essential foods can keep your skin healthy and help prevent and heal stretch marks.

Stretch mark products

There are many stretch mark products out in the market today in retail stores or on-line. Make sure you have a look at the ingredients and know what you are putting on your skin.

Remember our skin is alive and the largest organ of our body. Whatever we put on our skin is absorbed and makes its way into our cells and possibly bloodstream.
For that reason, I tend to lean towards more natural products and oils such as the recipe I came across while researching homemade recipes for stretch marks.

• 1/2 cup cocoa butter
• 1 Tablespoon wheat germ oil
• 1 Teaspoon apricot kernel oil
• 1 Teaspoon Vitamin E oil
• 2 Teaspoon grated beeswax

Heat mixture until beeswax is just melted. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Apply this cream to your stretch marks until desired results are achieved.

For me, the only thing wrong with this is that I most likely wouldn’t go out and buy all the needed ingredients. I want something that is natural, easy, convenient, effective, and not so costly. The product that fits such a description is Virgin Coconut Oil.

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO)

VCO has been used for centuries by women, and men, as a natural remedy to prevent and fade stretch marks. Men can get stretch marks from gaining weight and from lifting weights.

VCO is obtained from the kernel of a mature coconut. It is one of the few herbal supplements that can be taken both internally and externally and is known to be very effective in preventing and healing stretch marks among many other health benefits.

At one point VCO acquired a bad reputation because it is one of those foods that is high in fat, however it is high in the good fat. Being the richest source of medium chain triglycerides, coconut has antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-parasitic properties and thus is very good for the skin. It has been said that regular use (at least once a day and more commonly twice a day) of VCO can totally avoid the occurrence of stretch marks. However we must be realistic and realize that we may not be able to totally avoid the inevitable, though we can minimize and the fade stretch marks that is certain.

Coconut oil is best absorbed after taking a bath when the body is still wet. The appearance of the stretch marks is lessened as the coconut oil provides the necessary moisture to the skin that is more prone to having stretch marks. Many creams and lotions that are available in the market claiming the complete elimination of stretch marks use coconut oil as the base and have additional ingredients that help in fading the existing stretch marks.

Extra note: Virgin Coconut Oil is the fat of fats as it also helps burn body fat for energy because of its unique molecular structure of medium chain fatty acids. Also consider taking it internally, but do your own research.

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