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For how much time and money pregnant women spend on trying to prevent stretch marks they sure seem to be really good at finding their way onto us.
Following my first baby I noticed some on the normal thigh and butt areas but I also noticed my skin seemed kind of stretched out in weird places like my forearms. Say, what?
But if you think about your body undergoing extreme amounts of weight gain and loss in a short period of time it really seems like a pretty normal response. Most likely and naturally, SOME stretch marks are going to happen! And that is SO OKAY!
However, I am still planning on using every tip and trick I’ve learned along the way about preventing stretch marks during this second pregnancy (currently 20 weeks) because I still believe all the measures I took along the way the first time really helped keep my stretch marks to a minimum.
I hardly got any stretch marks on my stomach and boobs and those were the areas I concentrated on, so I am definitely not going to ignore my legs, arms and butt this time around either!
Preventing Stretch Marks
Changing your Mindset from Protection to Prevention
First, as there is an obvious limit to how much we can protect our skin from getting stretch marks when we undergo these large amounts of weight fluctuation, it may be smarter to ask the question “what can I do to prevent them in the first place?” This attitude has without a doubt helped me the most and is the one key you need to know to prevent them!
Here are three healthy and easy ways you can actively prevent stretch marks:
1. Staying Hydrated
Our skin gets just as dehydrated as our bodies, and hydrated, soft skin is much less likely to develop stretch marks. Be sure to drink plenty of water! Keeping your caffeine intake down can also help with hydration.
2. Controlling Your Weight
Weight gain or loss doesn’t always equal stretch marks. But sudden, rapid weight gain or loss is much more likely to wreak havoc on your skin. One of the most helpful ways you can prevent stretch marks in pregnancy is by maintaining a healthy weight throughout pregnancy and working to prevent your weight gain from happening all at once.
Consistent weight gain in pregnancy is healthy! But it’s even better for you (and your skin!) if you can control it to the best of your ability with a healthy diet and light exercise.
3. Getting the Right Nutrients
Lack of nutrition affects our skin health, and eating foods that boost our skin’s well-being may help in preventing stretch marks!
In particular, some well-known skin boosting nutrients are zinc, which reduces inflammation of the skin, and vitamin c, which helps develop collagen. Look for zinc in nuts and fish, and vitamin c in vegetables and fruits (especially citrus!) and add plenty of these to your diet during pregnancy.
Stretch Mark Creams
On top of staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet and controlling your pregnancy weight gain, stretch mark cream is the next best thing you can do for your skin to protect it from stretch marks.
I personally don’t worry too much about using stretch mark cream in the first trimester, but I do make sure to start moisturizing a little bit extra and keeping my skin soft (especially if it’s in the wintertime!)
In the second trimester, I recommend starting a daily routine to apply a stretch mark lotion or cream.
My personal first favorite product is this spray on Vitamin E Oil Moisturizer, which I spray on and massage into my skin immediately every time I get out of the shower.
The massage is helpful in getting the oil to fully absorb and also really good for your skin! Just use a light, circular, gliding motion to rub it in for several minutes. No need to apply pressure.
My second favorite product is the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Tummy Butter, and this is the one I use daily! (So I guess I just publicly confessed to not showering daily…) But this stuff is truly amazing and I love the smell!
I find it easiest to keep on my nightstand and use it every night as a part of my bedtime routine rather than putting it on in the morning. It’s a little thicker and can make your clothes feel sticky so I prefer to use it and then throw on my pajamas, knowing it will be working it’s moisturizing magic while I sleep.
Saving Money on Stretch Mark Cream
Finally, I wanted to leave you with some tips for saving money on stretch mark cream, as you can easily get drawn into throwing away hundreds of dollars on stuff you don’t necessarily need!
Pregnancy for my husband and I usually means it’s time to hunker down and save for the coming baby and hospital expenses. So I personally don’t have the budget to splurge on a crazy expensive stretch cream set. Though I know there are some great products available if you have the money for it, I also believe it’s definitely not necessary to spend a fortune.
As you’ve already seen my favorite stretch mark lotion is from the drugstore. Ha!
First of all, focusing on prevention is a really good way to save money because you’re focusing on naturally having a healthy pregnancy and staying well hydrated rather than seeking some mystical unicorn cream that can magically protect you entirely from the woes of stretch marks.
But another great way you can save is by making your own DIY stretch mark cream. I like this recipe from Momtastic because it is simple and includes vitamin e oil! If you like to use a lot or use it multiples times a day this is a great way to save on making a TON of cream to last your whole pregnancy.
If you’re not into making stuff, check the Dollar Store. They usually have cocoa butter products – which are great for stretch marks. I’ve even seen them carry a small size of cocoa butter stretch mark cream specifically before! Hey, for three bucks you can grab a few and have enough to get through your pregnancy. Not too shabby!
If they don’t have what you are looking for at the Dollar Store, I totally recommend checking the Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or LetGo etc. I’ve seen giveaways of FREE high-quality lotions (opened typically) but also deals on unopened, new lotions that someone didn’t get around to using that you can potentially snag for a killer deal!
I hope these great tips I’ve learned along the way can help you save some money and keep those stretch marks to a natural minimum!