About 90% of women get pregnancy stretch marks, even if they’ve never had stretch marks before. So to say that they are common is an understatement.
Personally, I think our “mama marks” are beautiful. We’ve earned them, after all! But, when it comes to swimsuit time, some mamas are looking for natural ways to fade or prevent pregnancy stretch marks.
We’ll talk about the different remedies you can try in this post. (And none of them involve lasers!)
What Causes Pregnancy Stretch Marks?
Pregnancy stretch marks aren’t any different than stretch marks you get at other times of your life. Rapid growth or weight gain causes the middle layer of skin (the dermis) to tear due to the skin not being able to stretch with the fast growth of the body.
This often happens during adolescents when stretch marks are more likely to appear on upper arms, thighs, belly and breasts.
During pregnancy, stretch marks are usually found on the belly and breast, the two spots that grow the most.
American Pregnancy presents another possible reason that stretch marks are common during pregnancy:
“The second factor, which is still a subject of debate among experts, involves the priming of the skin by increased levels of hormones in pregnancy. Together, these hormones attract more water into the skin, which relaxes the bonds between collagen fibers. This makes it easier for the skin to tear when it is stretched and for stretch marks to form.”
Why Do Some Women Get Pregnancy Stretch Marks and Others Don’t?
Studies suggest stretch marks are due to genetics. But there’s good news even if you may be predisposed: There are things you can do to improve your skin’s elasticity so that when it needs to stretch, it can.
Improving your skin’s health will help improve its elasticity as well as give it the building blocks to heal scars—including stretch marks.
Staying hydrated can be tough when you’re pregnant but it’s essential for preventing stretch marks and having a healthy pregnancy.
Drink about 64 fluid ounces of water a day (more if you sweat a lot). Keep your electrolytes in balance with this homemade electrolyte drink.
Real food diet
As with pregnancy acne, it’s best to start healing from the inside out.
Many women have found that following a real food diet has prevented them from getting more stretch marks and even healed old ones! It makes sense too. Our bodies need certain building blocks to produce collagen (the stuff that makes our skin elastic), so without those essential building blocks from real, nutrient-dense food our skin and body suffer.
Eat a superstar pregnancy diet including whole foods like pastured meat, poultry, organ meats, and eggs, and stick with organic local produce when possible.
Also, be sure to eat enough quality fats from healthy sources, like pastured butter, coconut oil, virgin olive oil, etc.
These basic healthy eating principles which may help you in preventing stretch marks.
Gelatin is HUGE in supporting healthy skin.
Gelatin from grass-fed animals contains the amino acids glycine and proline, which are literally building blocks to collagen.
You can get gelatin into your diet from homemade bone broth or gelatin snacks like these gummy bears.
I like this gelatin the best because its sourced from healthy, grass-fed cows.
If you want to learn more about the powers of gelatin and how to include into your diet, be sure to check out this informative ebook.
Vitamins and minerals
Your body also needs vitamins A, C, & E, and zinc to produce collagen. All of these building blocks work together and are best obtained from real food sources.
- Get bio-available vitamin A from liver or cod liver oil.
- You can find vitamin C from many fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, and my favorite, camu camu powder!
- Vitamin E is found in spinach, nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and especially red palm oil.
- Zinc can be found in seafood, beef, lamb, nuts, seeds, spinach, mushrooms, and especially oysters.
Balance your fatty acids
Balance your omega 3 to 6 ratio by reducing the amount of omega 6s you eat (specifically from processed foods) by supplementing with cod liver oil.
Cod liver oil is not only high in healthy omega 3s, but contains vitamin A and D. Omega 3 fatty acids help to strengthen the skin cell’s membrane, improving elasticity.
Consume enough sulfur
Sulfur is another building block necessary for collagen production. One study found that animals who ate a low sulfur diet produced less collagen than those who had adequate levels of sulfur.
You can find sulfur in many meats, eggs, and cruciferous vegetables (like kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts).
How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks Naturally
It seems most women focus just on lotions and potions to treat their stretch marks, but you really need to go at it holistically, which is why I talk about diet and nutrition first.
Having said that, there are some great things you can apply topically to help you pregnancy stretch marks. (These can also help with itchy skin!)
This study, focused on a product that contained vitamin E and rosehip oil, found that they significantly reduced women’s stretch marks.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, vitamin E, Geranium essential oil, and rosehip oil are all skin nourishing products that can be combined and applied to the belly to reduce stretch marks.
Many women have found that using the oils and butters listed above have even helped eliminate stretch marks.
How Do Oils and Butters Work to Get Rid of Stretch Marks Naturally?
Oils and butters work by moisturizing the skin, and their antioxidant properties help eliminate free radicals that can damage the skin.
You can try this belly rub or just use a simpler recipe as seen below.
Natural Stretch Mark Cream
- In a double burner, melt your coconut oil and cocoa butter.
- Pour into glass container.
- Let cool so that it’s skin temperature.
- Add in your other oils and blend with immersion blender.
- Seal lid and store in cool, dark place.
- Apply 2-3 times per day directly on stretch marks.
Final Thoughts About How to Get Rid of Pregnancy Stretch Marks
Pregnancy stretch marks are very common and symbolize everything our bodies have been through with carrying life. Many women wear their “mama marks” with pride!
However, if you’re concerned about getting stretch marks, or if you want to get rid of stretch marks, give some of these natural remedies a try.
How about you?
Did you have pregnancy stretch marks? Did you embrace them? Try to fade them? Let us know in the comments below!