During pregnancy, the body undergoes a lot of changes beyond the growing bump. In addition to the hormonal shifts and hunger cravings, many pregnant people develop stretch marks on their belly, thighs, hips, breasts, and more. There is no miracle solution to prevent these pregnancy stretch marks, but there are moisturizing oils, butters, and balms that may help reduce the appearance.
Stretch marks are scars that occur under the skin. They appear when the skin stretches quickly, for example, during pregnancy, rapid weight gain or loss, and puberty. Using a natural stretch mark cream while pregnant helps hydrate and moisturize the belly as it expands. That may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, but there is one thing to remember: stretch marks are perfectly natural, even if you dislike the look of them. In this article, we’ll cover some ingredients that may help reduce the appliance of stretch marks during or after pregnancy.
As previously mentioned, stretch marks scar under the skin. According to studies, the skin can easily absorb coconut oil, whereby it may prevent free radical damage. This is due to the lauric acid content, which easily penetrates the skin’s layers and has a positive effect on collagen production. Coconut oil is highly emollient and works to keep the skin moisturized. That makes the skin more elastic and less prone to stretch marks. The anti-inflammatory properties also aid with the healing process of existing stretch marks over time. More studies are necessary to prove whether or not coconut oil can reduce stretch mark appearance, though.
Sweet Almond Oil
A great source of nourishment for the skin, sweet almond oil is an excellent moisturizing agent and may help the skin look more youthful. It may be a great home remedy for stretch marks as well. Stretch marks can be accompanied by dry skin or general irritation, and almond oil can help keep those symptoms at bay. Sweet almond oil works to enhance skin barrier function, penetrating layers of the epidermis, which may benefit stretch marks.
Shea butter works to hydrate the skin and improve skin cell growth. Skin that is more healthy and supple is much less likely to scar. Stretching that causes stretch marks, especially during pregnancy, can be quite extreme. Although keeping the skin moisturized will help reduce the appearance, it will not prevent stretch marks from occurring. That means that shea butter cannot prevent stretch marks, but it can help minimize the amount of damage. Areas of skin that already have stretch marks may benefit from shea butter application. Shea butter contains triglycerides and esters that help lock moisture in and improve skin barrier function.
Recent research found that civilizations have used cocoa butter since 445 A.D. for its medicinal properties. Cocoa butter contains catechin, a naturally occurring antioxidant that exhibits antibacterial properties. Cocoa butter also penetrates the skin more easily than other butters. It’s the only butter that can reach down to the middle layer of the skin, the dermis. This layer possesses the connective tissue, which is responsible for collagen and elastin production. By enhancing the production of these two proteins, cocoa butter may encourage skin regeneration and help reduce or prevent stretch marks.
DIY Belly Butter For Stretch Marks
- 2 tablespoons each: sweet almond oil, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter
- 1.5 tablespoons beeswax
- 3 teaspoons vitamin E oil
- 20 drops neroli essential oil (optional)
- 15 drops helichrysum essential oil
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops lemon essential oil
- Add the sweet almond oil, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, and beeswax to the top of a double boiler over medium-low heat. Stir as the ingredients melt.
- Once melted, stir the mixture and pour into a four-ounce container. Allow the mixture to harden completely.
- Remove the hardened mixture and place into a bowl, where you’ll mix in the vitamin E oil and essential oils. Mix well to combine and then put the mixture back into a glass container, preferably one with dark glass.
- Apply this butter at least once a day and allow it to soak in for 15 minutes before putting clothes over it, because it is quite oily. Store in a cool, dark place.