Monday, 28 October 2013

Stretching Credibility - What can Really Prevent Stretch Marks?



If you were asked to think back on your pregnancy, many wonderful memories would come flooding back, right? I can bet stretch marks would not be amongst these. Some of you may know exactly what I'm talking about; some of you may still experience it in the years to come while some lucky ones won't have to worry. Stretch marks are purplish scars that usually appear on the breasts, abdomen, thighs, hips and buttocks. Over time, the colour fades to a white/silver colour. They are scientifically known as striae gravidarum and develop when the collagen fibres in the skin's dermal layer tear (the skin's 2nd layer). This happens when the skin is overstretched. 


What causes stretch marks?

Unfortunately, stretchmarks are hereditary as highlighted in the 2004 study Risk factors associated with striae gravidarum. If your parents or grandparents have stretch marks, there is a high chance you will develop them too at some stage. Sadly for us ladies, women are two and a half times more likely to develop them than men (Body + Soul - Can you get rid of stretch marks?) They develop when the skin is overstretched, normally due to:

  • Pregnancy - most common cause. Usually begins to appear during the 3rd trimester.
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Rapid growth - i.e. during puberty or adolescence 
  • Weight lifting 
  • Medications - Cortisone for example has been found to cause stretch marks for some people as cortisone hormones weaken the elastic fibres of the skin
Examples of stretch marks

How do I prevent stretch marks from developing?

Many customers ask us if we have any products that will help prevent or fade the appearance of stretch marks. According to the Cochrane Summary Topical preparations for preventing stretch marks in pregnancy, there is "no high-quality evidence to support the use of any topical preparations in the prevention of stretch marks during pregnancy." In short - there is no proof showing any topical treatment will prevent stretch mark development so don't believe the hype when products claim to do so. However, Creams for preventing stretch marks in pregnancy from the Cochrane Collaboration did find that "stretch marks may be prevented in some women by daily massage but it is unclear if any particular ingredients bring special benefit." In other words, rather than a particular cream helping prevent stretch mark development, it is the warmth when massaging a cream on the skin that may help. 

Comfrey Root
My personal advice would be to try and keep the skin in the healthiest state possible and to use a natural cream that you feel comfortable applying to your skin during your pregnancy. Massage the cream often and the warmth when you are doing so will help. Stretch marks are caused when the skin is overstretched. Because of this, I would suggest using products that will promote skin elasticity and hydration and avoid drying out the skin. The more elasticated the skin, the less chances of overstretching it. Some of my personal favourites which maintain skin health include Vitamin E, Sweet Almond Oil, Aloe Vera, Shea Butter, Milk Protein (Cognis research found that milk protein in a cream increased skin elasticity by about 20% compared to the same cream without). Allantoin, which comes from Comfrey Root (the funny looking plant on the right), is another great ingredient when it comes to skin health. It promotes and speeds up the healthy, natural processes of the body. 

MooGoo Full Cream
All of these ingredients (bar the Shea Butter) are part of our MooGoo Full Cream formulation which makes it our most moisturising cream. This would be what I'd recommend using as a daily moisturiser all over the areas prone to stretch marks. There is no harm as to how many times you use it a day as it is made up of all natural, edible oils and a natural preservative rather than parabens or Phenoxyethanol (and no Vitamin A). But the choice is yours - just find a moisturiser you feel comfortable applying to your skin throughout your pregnancy if you wanted to prevent stretch mark development as much as possible. 


Vitamin A - A Hazard 

Vitamin A is sometimes hailed as a great vitamin when it comes to skin elasticity. However there are plenty of studies showing this can be dangerous for pregnant mothers so I advise steering clear of this if you are pregnant. Vitamin A, Pregnancy and Oral Contraceptives found that "High Vitamin A levels may constitute a teratogenic hazard" which means it may interfere with normal embryonic development. 

What are your thoughts on stretch marks? We'd love to hear them so please pop them in the comments below. :)

By Daniella De Azevedo

4 comments:

  1. The use of clinically proven creams is probably the easiest, cheapest and most effective ways to diminish the appearance of stretch marks. And you should be cautious about which one you choose.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Carina, Thanks for taking the time to write. :)

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  2. A cream for removing Stretch marks. http://iamzena.com is a blog who provide more details.

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  3. In my opinion, it is best to keep a healthy diet along with proper exercise to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Natural remedies can prove to be a solid solution to get rid of them as well. Thank you for the informative post.

    ReplyDelete