Image by barelyfitz
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.
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 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.
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
- 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.**