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When I was a teenager, I went through a major growth spurt.  I didn’t even realize it though, until after.  Then I saw these strange, sort of indented silvery lines on my upper arms, thighs, and breasts.  I was too embarrassed to ask anyone what they were, but I eventually figured out they were stretch marks — yes, you can get them from growth spurts, or rapid weight gain.

Then when I was pregnant for the first time, I made it until 36 weeks without any (new) stretch marks.  But then the baby dropped and overnight my lower abdomen was covered.  Oh well.  I added a few additional ones in my second pregnancy, but got lucky and didn’t get anymore in my third.  Still, there are stretch marks of various ages (from a couple years old to over ten years old) all over my body.

I’m betting I’m not alone here.

Argh, Stretch Marks!

Stretch marks and cellulite seem to be the bane of many women’s existence.  They show in sleeveless t-shirts (if they’re on your arms), in bathing suits, even sometimes in shorts.  What’s a woman to do…especially with summer coming?

First, I don’t believe that we ought to be ashamed of our bodies.  Many of us got our stretch marks through pregnancy, and wasn’t the result worth it?  We are strong, amazing women who were able to carry a baby to term and give birth to it, and that is amazing!  Some say we are just tigers who have earned our stripes. :)  The number one thing to do is embrace your body the way it is.

Supposing, though, that you love your body but would like your stripes to be a little less visible (and maybe your cellulite too…which, by the way, is more common while breastfeeding and seems to have a true physical function.  I don’t remember having much cellulite before I got pregnant with Jacob, when I wasn’t exclusively breastfeeding a baby…but I do now!  Just remember that — it’s functional, not annoying), well, we can work on that.

Stretch marks happen when the body is growing faster than the skin can keep up with.  This causes the skin to stretch further than it is capable of because there’s not enough collagen there.  Some women seem more prone to them than others do.  But there are ways to help minimize their appearance if you have them, or minimize the likelihood of getting them if you don’t.

Dietary Interventions

Diet can help to prevent stretch marks (some).  Consuming chicken stock or beef stock on a regular basis, which contains large amounts of gelatin (used to make collagen, which your skin needs in order to stretch) can help to prevent stretch marks.  Gelatin is really just cooked collagen from animals!

If you don’t love stock, you can buy Gelatin</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=playstringins-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B001ELLBJS" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001ELLBJS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=playstringins-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001ELLBJS"> Gelatin</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=playstringins-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B001ELLBJS" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> “>gelatin powder and use fresh-squeezed juice to make your own gelatin desserts.  Don’t buy store-bought jello packages, and be careful which type of gelatin powder you buy.  Poorly sourced gelatin is usually from unhealthy (CAFO) animals and sometimes contains MSG due to the processing (the protein in the animal’s collagen breaks down into free glutamic acid and other amino acids — which is MSG).

Consuming plenty of healthy fat also helps your skin to remain stretchy and moist.   Coconut oil is an excellent fat.   Butter or ghee, beef tallow, lard, and raw olive oil are also excellent, and you should consume a wide range of these.  Try my simple salad dressing or my olive oil dip to get more raw olive oil into your diet. :)

Skin Care

Sometimes, diet alone just doesn’t cut it, especially if you already have stretch marks.  Improving my diet seems to have prevented new ones in my last pregnancy (despite that my baby was a full 1.5 lbs. larger than my previous two), but it hasn’t done a thing to get rid of the ones I already have.

Those, I’m afraid, need to be addressed at the skin level.

There are tons of different products out there that claim to banish stretch marks.  The problem is, most of these products are filled with chemicals.  I don’t want some laboratory-made, so-called “advanced formula” on my skin.  It absorbs right through the layers and can get into my blood stream.  If I can’t pronounce it and it isn’t something found in nature…no.

Did you know that?  Did you know what you put on your skin absorbs right into your body?  Pretty scary when you read the label on some of these personal care products!

But, since what you put on your skin does absorb well, there’s potential to do some healing in those deeper tissues, if you can get the right stuff.  Chemical-science-advanced-fixing-junk is not what you want.

Instead, how about a truly natural, botanical-based product?

Avishi Organics has made such a product.  They have an Intensive Repair Oil that’s completely natural and geared towards helping the skin to heal itself, thereby reducing the appearance of stretch marks.  Read their list of ingredients:

  • Rosehip Seed Oil and Helichrysum Italicum Essential oil help improve skin elasticity, regenerate skin cells and reduce scarring
  • Seabuckthorn Oil restores damaged skin with high concentrations of vitamins A, C and E, carotenoids, flavonoids and essential fatty acids
  • Tamanu Oil soothes the skin, and helps relieve irritations and inflammation
  • Borage seed oil, one of the richest known sources of Gamma Linolenic Acid (an essential fatty acid) restores moisture and smoothness, and helps accelerate the healing process
  • Gotu Kola, an ancient chinese and ayurvedic remedy to rejuvenate and nurture skin and its underlying connective tissues, helps rejuvenate and strengthen skin tissues
  • Macadamia Nut Oil, a rich source of palmitoleic acid, is a strong anti-oxidant and protects the skin just like human sebum does, also allowing it to deeply-penetrate and hydrate skin
  • Aloe
  • Calendula
  • Olive oil
  • Vitamin E
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Neem oil

There isn’t a single filler ingredient or synthetic ingredient in this product.

Intensive Repair Oil is also pregnancy and breastfeeding safe, because it doesn’t contain any of those yucky synthetic ingredients.  It’s intended to heal stretch marks, but also to prevent further stretch marks, and also to soothe itchy skin (think during pregnancy when your skin is stretched on your belly) and even to reduce the appearance of scars, if that is a concern of yours!

Some of the testimonials on their website are exciting, if you’re interested in those!

At $38.50 per bottle, it isn’t cheap.  But as usual, you pay for quality.  It’s possible to pick up a bottle of lotion at the drugstore for $4, but when you turn the bottle around, there’s nothing natural about it.  Why would you put that on your skin?  Also, with Avishi’s product, a little goes a long way, so the bottle lasts awhile.

Tomorrow I’ll be talking about my experience with this product and you’ll also have a chance to win a bottle for yourself!

**This post was sponsored by Avishi Organics.**

Are stretch marks a concern of yours?  Are you hoping to reduce or eliminate them?


This is the writings of:

Kate is wife to Ben and mommy to Bekah (6.5), Daniel (5), Jacob (3), and Nathan (1.5). She is passionate about God, health, and food. She has written 7 cookbooks and a popular book entitled A Practical Guide to Children's Health. She also recently released Healing With God's Earthly Gifts: Natural and Herbal Remedies, which teaches people to use natural remedies to keep their families healthy. When she's not blogging, she's in the kitchen, sewing, or homeschooling her children.

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11 Comments

  1. I got horrible stretchmarks with my first when I was barely even showing! My mom got really bad stretchmarks during her pregnancies as well and I already had quite a few from growth spurts, so it wasn’t completely unexpected, but still! I was only about 16 weeks along and you could barely tell I WAS pregnant. grrr. Then with my second child, I had polyhydramnios and was measuring 47 weeks pregnant when she was born, so yeah…stretch marks. Lots of them. May have to look into this.

    Reply

  2. While on anti-anxiety/depression meds I had one of those lovely weight gains (like *that* will help anxiety and depression!) and earned some lovely stretchmarks on my hips. They’d started to fade a bit, but now that I’m 23w, I’m noticing they’re getting worse again. I’ve been using plain coconut oil – but I haven’t been consistent with it. Currently my belly still looks okay, but I’m trying to get better about making sure I’m slathered up in the mornings. I need to add more bone broth to my diet. This bottle of goodness looks like its out of my price range, so if those two things don’t work, I’m going to have to learn to love my body stretch marks and all.

    Reply

  3. I am not a mommy yet, (24yrs, TTC) but already I am preparing my body for a BIG STRETCH. I made a homemade body butter with all natural, organic ingredients like Coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, lavender essential oil, vitamin E, aloe vera and a touch of beeswax. I infused the coconut oil with Horsetail herb (helps with skin elasticity) in a slow cooker for 3 days. Then mixed the rest of the ingredients to it and whipped it up into a fluffy buttery cream with a hand mixer (made two 15oz jars). I am very religious about applying the butter to my hips, stomach and breasts daily. I will be even more diligant when I become pregnant. My mom got stretch marks and I want to prevent them as much as I humanly can. But if I do get some, it will all be worth it when I’m holding my sweet baby in my arms :)

    Reply

  4. I too made it to about 36 weeks before I had any stretch marks, and then they set in. I’m lucky because after 8 months they are greatly diminished. I didn’t think about broths helping, but that totally makes sense. Yet another reason to keep drinking the broth. Good thing I have a chicken on the stove. ;)

    Reply

  5. I actually came to this blog today, specifically looking for something on this exact topic… and what is the first thing that pops up?!?

    I am 19 weeks along with baby 1 and am starting to look into ideas to prevent stretch marks. Yesterday I went to the store and found a product touting it’s preventative ability and physician recommendations, but the long list of additives (fragrances, parabens, and other unpronounceables) made me return it to the shelf.

    I have read that shea butter, coco butter, and coconut oil are suppose to be good. Additionally, vitamin E oil is nourishing to the skin. I’m looking around and what’s available, and gladly taking advice if anyone has recommendations!

    Reply

    • Liz,

      For full disclosure, I am actually the founder of Avishi Organics, so i have some vested interest here. You mentioned that you found a product that was physician recommended – Just wanted to let you know that this is often a very misleading statement. There is no governing body that dictates how products are to be tested by physicians or even whether they are allowed to be paid for their advocacy or not. A manufacturer can essentially pay any 1 physician (And yes, 1 is all you need) to use the dermatologist/physician/doctor recommended phrase. So, my advice is to always read the ingredients first(which you did :)! ) before paying attention to what is nothing more than a marketing ploy.

      Reply

  6. I’ve got a ton of them. Since I’m pale and genetically prone to them, I don’t think there’s much I can do. Luckily, I don’t mind — few people see my belly anyway, and I actually think it looks kind of neat.

    Reply

  7. I’m pregnant and I needed something to help me with my skin stretching and causing itching. I use a bit of the Dr. Max Power Stretch Mark Treatment all over my body but I put a bit extra on my stomach. You do need to let it set in before getting dressed!

    Overall it works great and is a good price considering how much it would cost to buy all of the ingredients and do the right process to get them to blend together.

    Reply

  8. I am very interested in the idea of grass-fed gelatin for a boost in collagen, but when I looked it up, it classified it as a Category C by the FDA. Any thoughts?

    Reply

    • I believe that’s because no research exists. It doesn’t mean it’s dangerous, and since it’s a food, I would not be concerned.

      Reply

  9. I’m looking for something to help with the loose skin that’s left post partum. I’m working to close my diastasis, and want something to help tighten and firm the skin now. I bet this would help some, but does anyone know of products designed to help the skin tighten and firm without preservatives and fillers?
    Thanks!

    Reply

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