Skin creams, oils and natural therapies
Stretch marks have been described as the 'badges of motherhood' by some and 'a testimony to producing a baby' by others. However, most women do not like them and wish to avoid them when pregnant.
The medical term for stretch marks is 'striae gravidarum' or 'pregnancy stripes'. They appear when the under layer of the skin breaks in areas to create red, pink, purple or brown marks (depending on your skin type). A large component of the under layer of the skin is made up of supportive protein fibres called 'collagen'. During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin contributes to reducing the amount of collagen fibres in the skin, making these fibres more susceptible to breaking. As the skin stretches (especially if this happens at a faster rate than new skin cells can reproduce), stretch marks will appear.
So, is there anything you can do to prevent them? In most cases the answer is "No"! A research study from Spain showed that a cream called 'Trofolastin', containing Centella asiatica extract (a plant), alpha tocopherol (a form of Vitamin E) and collagen-elastin hydrolysates applied to the skin every day during the pregnancy, prevented some women from getting stretch marks. Unfortunately, it only seemed to benefit women who had already experienced stretch marks in puberty, but stopped them from getting any more during their pregnancy. Women who had never had stretch marks did not benefit from it.
NOTE: Be wary of expensive creams and lotions claiming the impossible. If you are wishing to use anything there are many cheap alternatives.