Caring for and preserving the life and bodies of our fellow animals is paramount – but do you ensure you are being looked after with the same level of love and care too? Weird and wonderful changes in your body happen throughout the years. Some of them great, but some - not so great – like STRETCH MARKS...
I have been reflecting recently on the changes my body has gone through over the years. From the feisty international karate title-holder I was back when I met my husband, got married and had our first baby to the subsequent births of my other two beautiful, sizeable baby boys - oh the joy I have had nurturing them and feeding them with my own body! What an amazing thing! But growing babies can be taxing on your body – as can many life occurrences.
Do you know that a stretchmark is a form of scarring?
At first, they may show up as reddish or purplish lines that may appear indented and have a different texture from the surrounding skin, but the good news is stretchmarks often turn lighter and almost disappear over time with daily massaging with a hydrating cream or body oil. And you don’t have to choose an animal-based product which may contain lanolin or other animal fats – these are not necessarily more effective.
I know there is an assortment of products which claim to reduce your stretchmarks. While some claims are more legitimate than others, I do believe you can easily help prevent and/or reduce your stretchmarks with time, persistence and great natural plant-based moisturisers. During my third pregnancy I was determined not to get any more, and to fade my existing ones, and now they are just fine white lines barely perceivable to the naked eye.
Many natural oils, especially pure essential oils, are powerful stretchmark reducers because they contain highly moisturising essential fatty acids, skin healing and collagen regenerating minerals and enzymes, and natural antioxidants to repair damaged skin. If you consistently apply these oils to your skin, your stretch marks will fade or disappear naturally over time.
If you like me and feel a bit sensitive about your stretchmarks, look out for products containing the following oils - organic if possible:
Rosehip Oil - very hydrating and high in linoleic and linolenic fatty acids, which encourage regeneration and repair of skin tissue, even out skin tone and reduce the redness and appearance of scars.
Jojoba Oil - similar properties to skin's natural sebum, it’s easily absorbed with a nice texture and feel. Regenerative and firming, it is useful for improving the tone and condition of skin. It provides important nutrients, ie. Vitamin E and B group, minerals and essential fatty acids.
Wheat Germ Oil - a very nourishing oil that contains very high amounts of vitamins E and A, as well as being high in essential fatty acids. Useful in healing damaged or scarred skin, reducing the appearance of scars and improving suppleness and elasticity.
Cocoa Butter - softening and protecting and is especially good for dry skin. Helps maintain suppleness and elasticity of skin and minimises stretchmarks.
Aloe Vera - a skin nutrient renowned for its soothing and hydrating action, it is used to soothe minor cuts and burns, moisturise dry damaged skin, reduce redness, and provide long-lasting moisturisation.
Vitamin E provides nourishment, hydration, helps reduce redness and smooths scars.
And the Pure Essential Oils of:
Lavender - known for its calming and soothing properties, encouraging relaxation. Used to provide relief for mild skin disorders, it contributes to the healing process by stimulating the cells of a wound to regenerate. Particularly soothing for inflamed skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis and is beneficial in relieving itchiness. It is considered suitable for use during pregnancy.
Frankincense - recommended for use on scars and dry skin. It’s regenerative and promotes the healing of wounds and the formation of scar tissue. It is considered suitable for use in pregnancy.
Mandarin and Tangerine - recommended in massage blends to prevent stretchmarks during pregnancy. It is often blended with Lavender or Neroli and considered suitable for use in pregnancy.
Neroli - reputed to have a rejuvenating effect on the skin as it has an ability to stimulate the growth of healthy new cells. It is considered suitable for use in pregnancy.
Patchouli - recommended for treating conditions such as sores, fissures and scars due to the regenerating, moistening and cooling action is has on skin tissues. It is considered suitable for use in pregnancy.
Skin everywhere on your body becomes more pliable and better able to stretch when it's well hydrated both externally, as above and internally by drinking plenty of water. Wearing a supportive bra will also help minimise stretchmarks.
Remember a stretchmark is a scar, it will take time to fade, just be consistent and the rewards will come.
All of us animals have been made with amazing, wonderful bodies – cherish yours as you cherish others.
Michelle Vogrinec is an Aussie mum of three, creator of GAIA Natural Baby and MD of GAIA Skin Naturals Australia. Passionate about total wellbeing achieved primarily via natural/organic health and living an ethical lifestyle, she actively supports numerous efforts to bring readily available cruelty-free products to the masses as an essential part of her personal ethos.
- Published: 28 July 2015
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