Pregnancy Stretch Marks: What Are They and How Do We Prevent Them?

Stretch mark prevention is one of most common points of question from our customers, which is probably the reason our Replenishing Belly Butter is one of our most popular products! We wanted to take a moment to provide some information to mamas and mamas-to-be about the science behind stretch marks and ways to minimize them.

What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks, a form of scarring, are bands or streaks on the skin that are red, pink, or purple in color. They can form where the skin is stretched. Stretching happens when you gain weight rapidly, as often happens during pregnancy. You could find stretch marks on many parts of your body, including the abdomen, hips, breasts, thighs, and lower back.

Some light science: What Causes Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are basically scars – that is, damage to the skin. During pregnancy and other periods of rapid weight gain, the body’s skin can be stretched beyond its elastic capacity. This results in damage to the lower layers of the skin; the upper layer of the skin (epidermis) expands rapidly, while the lower layer of the skin (dermis), is challenged to expand as rapidly. Consequently, the dermis “tears,” causing stretch marks.

The rapid, dramatic weight gain of pregnancy often causes stretch marks. So do your genes: stretch marks can pass from generation to generation. Approximately 80% of pregnant women experience stretch marks.

How to Prevent and Treat Stretch Marks

Being primarily a hereditary trait, stretch marks are not completely preventable. But you can take steps to minimize them.

Our top tips for preventing and treating stretch marks:

1. Moisturize daily. Not only does moisturizing prevent or mitigate the appearance of stretch marks, but it can wards off itchiness in your skin. We recommend Nine Naturals Regenerative Belly Butter as an all-natural, organic solution for healthier, more supple skin. It battles stretch marks with moisture-rich, natural and organic ingredients that nourish your skin, including vitamin E, allantoin, evening primrose oil, cupuaçu butter, grapessed oil and sodium hyaluronate.

  • Vitamin E. Clinical data shows Vitamin E to be an effective treatment against stretch marks. A 2000 trial on creams for preventing stretch marks during pregnancy saw that women using a cream rich in vitamin E (also known as alpha tocopherol) experienced fewer stretch marks than those using a placebo product.
  • Allantoin. Derived from the comfrey root, allantoin makes your skin softer and improves its ability to retain moisture. Better moisture levels make it easier for skin to stretch, reducing the likelihood of stretch marks.
  • Evening primrose oil. This natural oil is loaded with vitamin E. It also contains gamma linolenic acid, an Omega-6 fatty acid compound also noted for helping to stop stretch marks.
  • Cupuaçu butter. We use organic, cold-pressed cupuaçu butter, which is full of omega fatty acids and phythosterols that help to protect and regulate the skin’s natural balance.
  • Grapeseed oil. This natural oil fights stretch marks by boosting your skin’s collagen levels and natural elasticity.
  • Sodium hyaluronate. Found naturally in our skin’s tissue, sodium hyaluronate supports skin’s suppleness and boots its moisture levels to prevent dryness and stop itchiness — another key to stretch mark prevention.

2. Moderate your pregnancy weight gain. You will have a higher likelihood for stretch marks with rapid weight gain. Try to keep weight gain steady and moderate by staying active with pregnancy-appropriate workouts and enjoying a diet with the proper nutrition.

3. Drink enough water, and also consider an Omega Fatty Acid supplement as a skin-friendly addition to your nutrition plan. Winter or summer, Pregnant women in particular need to focus on drinking lots of fluids. This is because keeping the bloodstream hydrated facilitates the absorption and transportation of important nutrients to the fetus. Proper hydration also staves off morning sickness, headaches, and hemorrhoids. Healthy fats, like Omega’s, have anti-inflammatory properties that can do wonders for the brain, skin and immune system. To prolong that pregnancy glow, opt for more omega’s in your diet.

We want you to feel good about your skin and we at Nine Naturals will do everything we can to help! But remember – stretch marks, weight gain and all, you’re beautiful!