However, as the body adapts and grows to house the baby, our thoughts often turn to another physical sign of pregnancy… stretch marks.
You may be wondering how and why they develop and if there is anything you can do to protect your skin against them? I completely understand the fear of stretch marks and to be honest some of us are more genetically blessed than others in the fight against developing them. But here’s what you need to know…
What exactly are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are coloured streaky scars (often ranging from red to purple) that develop in skin that has been over stretched or has stretched too quickly. As these scars mature, they often turn white or silver in colour.
How do stretch marks occur?
Stretch marks are caused by scarring that occurs within the deeper layers of the skin when it is stretched. During pregnancy, the skin stretches often beyond its capacity. This strain places pressure on the collagen and elastin fibres within the skin, making the connective tissue weaker and stretched to breaking point.
These breakages or tears occur within the inner layer and allows us to see the red, inflamed connective tissue through the tears. The inflammation eventually fades and is then replaced by scar tissue, and this is the white or silvery effect you see after the redness fades.
During pregnancy, an increase in hormones can suppress the production of collagen. This means that our bodies can’t repair broken connective tissue as well as it could otherwise.
How do I help to prevent stretch marks?
Here at Skin Juice we believe in supporting the skin’s connective tissue with lubricating moisture to help provide it with the capacity to stretch further without the fear of tearing.
Our Mummy’s Tummy Cream is all natural and its organic shea butter enriched formulation melts on the skin, allowing rejuvenating oils to lubricate and moisturise the skin on a deep level to allow for easy stretching. A blend of oils, berries and fruits work together to restore and strengthen the skin while rebuilding the skin’s barrier. These essential ingredients help the healing process and combat developing stretch marks.
When should I start using stretch mark prevention creams or oils?
Keeping the skin supple from early on is very important - as they say, prevention is better than cure. Massaging a rich moisturising cream onto areas prone to stretching, such as the tummy, bottom and boobs from the first trimester will keep the skin’s elastic fibers lubricated and ready for the big stretch.
Even continuing to massage these areas after baby is born can help to stimulate blood supply and support the skin’s natural healing process.
How can I soothe my itching skin?
It is normal for the skin to feel a little itchy during pregnancy, however it’s always good to check with your midwife or doctor if you are suffering from more severe itching.
As the skin stretches, the protective oil layer is broken and moisture evaporates from within the deeper layers, this not only leads to potential damage to the connective fibres but will also dry the skin out, which can leave the skin feeling itchy and irritated. Just like dry skin in winter can feel.
It’s important to have warm, not hot showers, and never use soaps or foaming body washes of any kind – this means anything that bubbles or suds. Also, avoid using any artificial perfumed washes or lotions, as these will make the skin dryer and become more irritated.
Our night time treat for pregnancy skin cravings…
Pregnancy is a time for making healthy choices for mum and growing baby. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and can absorb unhealthy chemicals applied to the skin.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself at all. Here’s a 2 step night time ritual to help ease your skin cravings and get you ready for a well earned rest.
P.S. For an extra satisfying and decadent hit of hydration to your tummy, try layering our Berry Body Oil under the Mummy’s Tummy cream.