Pregnancy Skincare Concerns and Solutions

When you think about motherhood and the journey of bringing your little bundle of joy into the world it is exciting and a blessing and also a little bit nerve-wracking. You will no doubt fall in love with your beautiful bebe but there can still be a few bumps along the way. Weight changes and hormonal factors make pregnant Mamas especially ripe for unpleasant realities like hormonal pregnancy acne, swollen body parts and stretch marks (hello, watermelon bellies!).

Among these concerns the dirty S-word is the one many women dread the most. The fear of having visible stretch marks appear during pregnancy that won’t go away after the baby arrives is something almost all pregnant women worry about. The good news is there are some things you can do to prevent this from occurring and that personally worked for me.

To start, having a healthy and balanced diet with vitamins A, C, and E is not only great for your growing little one but also great to get that beautiful pregnancy glow. Another tip to keep your skin healthy is to exfoliate with a good body scrub. And finally, having a super hydrating lotion that can penetrate deep into your skin and lock in moisture such as Skin Repair Rx Dermatological Moisturizing Lotion.

So what are stretch marks exactly?

Stretch marks, or striae graviae, are scars that appear on overstretched skin. Stretch marks occur in the dermis or middle layer of your skin. This elastic layer is fortified with fibers known as collagen and elastin that allow the skin to stretch and snap back into shape. When this layer is continuously stretched over a long period of time, the elasticity can break down. In areas where these breakdowns occur, the skin tries to reinforce itself by increasing the amount of collagen. The result is the scars we call stretch marks. They usually emerge as purple or reddish marks that fade to shallow gray or white scars, although some people report that their stretch marks begin gray or white and change to purplish-red.

Do all pregnant women get stretch marks?

No! As I mentioned above preventing stretch marks during pregnancy is a proactive process that begins from the moment the happy news arrives and after you take your bundle home. Some studies have shown up to 50% of pregnant women get stretch marks during pregnancy, usually during the third trimester and sometimes earlier. It can be due to genetics, excessive weight gain in a short period or overly dry and stretching skin. 

Does pregnancy really change a woman's skincare needs?

Yes, in most cases it does. Pregnancy is known to come along with many hormonal changes which can often wreak havoc on the skin. The shift in hormones means that many women find that their normal skincare regimen no longer works as well because their skin becomes oilier, drier or more sensitive while pregnant.

In addition, the tremendous abdominal growth you experience during pregnancy (and, to a lesser extent, breast, and hip enlargement, too) causes itching and often leads to stretch marks. Many women develop stretch marks during pregnancy, and it is no surprise that pregnancy is one of the leading causes of stretch marks.

Are stretch marks preventable or curable?

That is the Million Dollar question! Various theories exist on this subject, suggesting there is room for debate. Some health professionals believe that stretch marks are genetic; however, these same professionals often suggest that using the proper moisturizer during pregnancy and gently massaging vulnerable areas can relieve itching and nourish the skin to help prevent and fade existing stretch marks.

So what can you do to beat the odds and prevent stretch marks? Following these guidelines, all of which are good for your overall health and the condition of your skin, will go a long way toward putting the odds in your favor.

Be sure to eat a healthy, diverse and balanced diet that keeps your weight gain within the recommended range of 25 to 35 pounds. Excellent nutritional status is vital for your developing baby, but it also contributes to the strength and health of the body’s largest organ: the skin. What’s more, a controlled and steady weight gain, without any wild upward swings, will let your skin stretch at a steady rate without any unexpected jolts.