Sunday, March 10, 2013

My Arsenal for Stretch Mark Prevention

At 21 weeks along, the actualization of pregnancy stretch marks appear to loom nearer and nearer. I have been exerting all conscious efforts to make sure that this continues to be a happy pregnancy. 

So what causes stretch marks? When the skin stretches beyond its limit, such as in immediate growth spurt, weight loss and pregnancy, it results to micro tears to the skin. Marks can start out light, and turn deeper and deeper in colour. Once the skin has adjusted to the new shape, the marks will lighten, but will remain to be different in texture compared to the rest of the normal skin.

Based on my readings, genes may have a role, but no studies show that you'll for sure get them when your mom had them. There's hope shining at the end of our tunnel!

The first and most affordable tip is to drink at least 10 glasses of water a day. That's 2.5L a day. More than for the prevention of stretch marks, pregnant and breastfeeding women need more water than ever. I carry around a 16oz tumbler every day and literally measure the amount of water I take in.

Gradually gaining weight is another way to prep your skin towards your targeted end weight. I monitor my weight on a weekly basis, and tweak my caloric consumption to manage the gain. So far, I am within range for the month. My targeted weight gain is 30 lb. overall. (fingers crossed :)

Third and I believe the most important of all is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. I have been a fan of lotions pre-pregnancy, but it starts getting serious when the pregnancy stretch is anticipated. 

My mom-in-law gave me this Neutrogena Body Oil just this week when she heard about my plight towards fighting the arrival of stretchmarks. It's best slathered on when the skin is still damp from the shower. My cousin who recently gave birth used Olive Oil throughout her pregnancy and was blessed with marks close to zero! I'm adding that to my arsenal when I get to my bottle of Philippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray in Manila, which I use for my food. Olive Oil has a chock-full of Vitamin E, A and K content, great for moisturizing. It also has anti-oxidants that will aid in the renewal of damaged skin.

Application shouldn't be limited to the belly. I apply it up to the sides and to the back (where I imagine my belly skin will ask for support when it further expands), to the sides of my mams, all over my butt and thighs.

I've had this Palmer's Tummy Butter from before I got pregnant, for applying specifically to my thighs and butt area. Even the areas that grow and shrink a lot need some sweet dose of cocoa butter. These days, I massage the rich butter after my body oil, right before bed. Amazon provides for better deals, you get three for the price of $17 ~ Php 714.
Palmer's Tummy Butter [Watson's, Php 595]
The product is paraben-free, and has Cocoa Extract as its main ingredient. Since I'm almost scraping the container, we bought a new jar which already has Bio C-Elaste™ a powerful combination of Collagen, Elastin, Centella Asiatica, Sweet Almond Oil and Argan Oil.

This Palmer's Body Butter was bought from S&R, but I haven't been using it as much. Despite that they come from the same makers, this product has paraben. I will create another entry to breakdown the evils of parabens and pnthalates especially while pregnant -- thanks to my cousin's advice. I use it only for my legs and arms, but won't replenish stock when it runs out.

Two other things I use for my mornings, also after body oil are the following:

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Lotion (their product branding's really confusing - this one does not have the product name, just the category name), labeled to battle stretchmarks and scars. It's made with pure Cocoa Butter, enriched with Vitamin E, in a soothing emollient base.  I prefer this over the tummy butter in the morning since its less heavy and dries faster. I then add a few drops of Jason 5,000 I.U Pure Vitamin E oil said to be full of anti-oxidant rich moisture. It has five essential natural oils of Almond, Apricot, Avocado, sunflower and Wheat Germ to renew skin's softness. Both of these are paraben and pnthalate free. Once I finish these, I'm moving up to Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula for Stretch Marks, same to the lotion, but with added Bio C-Elaste™.
Cocoa Butter Moisturizer [S&R, Pack of 2 for Php 795]

JASON Vitamin E Oil [Healthy Options, Php 300-400]
I'm enrolling the mindset that pregnancy should not be feared or hated, but enjoyed. Here's hoping for a happy pregnancy journey for all expectant moms out there! Once I get this right, three four or five kids may even be an easy YES! for me. :)

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