Stretch Marks and Stretch Mark Creams. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, STRETCH MARKS. Often one of the most dreaded “negative” side effects of pregnancy. How do we get them? And what about preventing and treating said stretch marks, or is that even possible? Is stretch mark cream just glorified moisturizer? Let’s get into it!
While we generally like to focus on mamas here at Element Mom, people from all walks of life have stretch marks. You can get them from gaining and then losing a significant amount of weight quickly or even just going through growth spurts during puberty. Stretch marks occur when our bodies go through a period of growth that our skin simply isn’t prepared for and can’t keep up with, and they grace the bodies of men and women alike of all ages.
Stretch marks can be inevitable, but there are still things you can do to help better prepare your skin and reduce the appearance of those stretch marks...like giving your skin some much-needed hydration! I know what you might be thinking. Seriously...just how much can one person talk about the importance of moisturization. Take it from a gal whose poor skin has been parched for FAR too long. Moisturizer isn’t just an important step in any good skincare routine, it’s vital. And when it comes to stretch marks? It’s your first line of defense.
If you already have or are anticipating getting stretch marks during your pregnancy you’ve more than likely been on the lookout for a solution. Say hello to the wide world of stretch mark creams! There are...about a million of them. Stretch mark creams are formulated specifically with stretch marks in mind. They tend to be extremely hydrating while also containing ingredients that help with inflammation and irritation that often accompany stretch marks.
Now, contrary to popular belief, there is a difference between moisturizer and stretch mark cream. The main difference lies in the ratio of oil to water in their formulas. Lotions tend to be thinner, with very high water content and little to no oil, while creams have a much higher oil to water ratio, leading to that increased intensity in hydration that can be easily absorbed into the skin.
But not all stretch mark creams are created equal. As a mama-to-be, you have to keep in mind the ingredients in your skincare. One you’ve probably heard of most frequently? Retinol. Retinol is pretty effective against stretch marks, scars, and aging so you might find it in some stretch mark creams if you’re not careful! Retinoids are a massive no-no during pregnancy because they can actually cause problems for your growing baby that can lead to fetal abnormalities and even fetal retinoid syndrome.
You can find a more extensive list of pregnancy skincare ingredients you may want to avoid here, but a good rule of thumb is simply to make sure you’re looking for creams formulated specifically for use during pregnancy. It’s always a good idea to consult your physician as well if you have any questions or concerns about a product’s safety for you and your baby.
While there are a lot of ingredients you have to avoid when pregnant there are also tons of great ingredients to keep an eye out for! We’ve packed quite a few of them into our personal favorite stretch mark cream, our Element Mom Mega Moisturizing Probiotic Stretch Mark Cream. Some of the best ingredients for nurturing your skin and treating stretch marks during pregnancy are hyaluronic acid and Centella, both ingredients that have been proven to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and just happen to be in our stretch mark cream!
Another method that has proven helpful when dealing with stretch marks is to not just apply the stretch mark cream but thoroughly massage it into the skin. This ensures better absorption which enables all of those good ingredients to work to the best of their ability. Also ACTUALLY staying hydrated... It’s not the most revolutionary of tips but a grand majority of us aren’t nearly as hydrated as we think we are, myself included!
Ultimately the takeaway here is this: there is no magic cure to stretch marks. No pill you can take or cream you can buy that will prevent those scars 100% or make them disappear altogether. And you should be wary of any product that claims to do so! But there are definitely steps you can take to help heal those scars and improve the appearance of stretch marks.
Most importantly, mama, these stretch marks are your badge of honor. Love ‘em or hate ‘em you should wear them proudly! And know that as they fade, and they will, they become silvery reminders of a time that will change your life forever.