Stretch marks can be unsightly, and just like a scar they can be very stubborn, if not impossible, to remove. Stretch marks can occur during puberty when growth spurts occur, with weight loss or weight gain, and of course during pregnancy. I think it’s very common these days for women to develop stretch marks somewhere on their body, and especially on their belly caused by childbirth.
It is commonly known that prevention is always better than the cure.
So, when I first became pregnant, I questioned: how do I prevent stretch marks by using natural products that not only prevent stretch marks but also improve overall health?
I was concerned about developing stretch marks on my stomach, so I took a proactive approach and researched what I could possibly use to prevent them. In our household, we also had prior knowledge about these natural products which made it easier to do further research as we knew what we were looking for. I used these two natural products and I can say they worked very well for me in preventing any stretch mark from developing:
The first is magnesium oil and the second is EVOO (extra virgin coconut oil).
More about stretch marks
Stretch marks are lines or markings on the skin that are like scars. They develop with abrupt shrinking and expanding of the skin, causing collagen rupture. Then, as the skin heals, stretch marks may appear. They can range in colour from purple and grey to pink or brown, but in time the colour fades and usually turns white or translucent. They most commonly develop on the breasts, stomach, arms and thighs.
They can occur due to:
- Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Adolescent growth spurts
- During childbirth
- Corticosteroid use – creams, lotions or pills
- Adrenal gland disorders
The most susceptible people are Caucasian women, pregnant women and users of corticosteroid medications. Heredity and genetics are also a factor.
Stretch marks can change their appearance and fade over time, but to eliminate them completely is very unlikely. Natural tanning doesn’t eliminate them, either. Apparently, there are procedures available that claim to reduce the appearance of stretch marks like pulsed dye laser therapy and microdermabrasion. I question if these are as effective as their claims.2,3
Stretchmarks that have faded and turned white over time (above)
Magnesium chloride and Magnesium Oil
Magnesium chloride, which is derived from sea water, is beneficial for health, wellbeing and for skin care and beauty. Magnesium oil, which is made from magnesium chloride flakes, helps to keep the skin looking youthful by retaining elasticity and hydration. I believe it is a must to use magnesium oil during pregnancy to avoid stretch marks – it worked wonders for me. As it is well absorbed via digestion, it can be used to treat low magnesium levels, heartburn and constipation.
Magnesium oil for transdermal applications is the oil I used to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. It is safe to say that if it worked for this, it most probably would help in the prevention of stretch marks in adolescence.
Why would magnesium oil help prevent stretch marks? Because magnesium is important for the skin, to keep it hydrated and flexible.1 It makes sense that correct magnesium levels in the body contributes to anti-ageing because it is required for correct functioning of our DNA and RNA, as well as being essential for proper nerve and muscle function.
Not only this, but magnesium is an essential nutrient that we need for the prevention of disease and illness. Read more about the benefits of magnesium as related to health in this research article: The importance of magnesium for health.
There are many types of magnesium, but through research and experience of using magnesium chloride I have found it to be the best magnesium form for both internal and external use.
To make magnesium oil, we use magnesium chloride flakes and water. It’s not actually oil but it feels oily to the touch; that’s how it got its name. It can sting and cause itchiness when applied so it’s a good idea to test a small area of skin first to see how it feels on you. I got used to this over time, even though I still get itchy sometimes. Just don’t put any on open wounds and it shouldn’t sting so much. But hey, everyone is different so it’s best to try it out for yourself to see what works for you.
Because it is utilised well by the body, massaging with this form of magnesium is a great way to supplement your daily magnesium intake, especially during pregnancy.
The most economical way to make magnesium oil is to buy magnesium chloride flakes and turn them into magnesium oil. It’s a very simple recipe, here’s how I do it.
Magnesium chloride flakes (above)
Magnesium oil made at home (above)
More about EVOO (extra virgin coconut oil)
Coconut oil is a superfood that is well known for its many health benefits, to aid in the treatment and prevention of a long list of diseases and ailments, from Alzheimer’s, heart disease, high blood pressure, weight loss, cancer and candida. 4 It also has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. Its main constituents include medium chain fatty acids, some of the healthiest fats you can consume. These fats are easily processed by the liver and converted to energy rather than being stored as fat. Therefore, you can increase your energy levels by ingesting two tablespoons or less per day.
I use extra virgin coconut oil when making raw chocolate and in other recipes. I also use it to oil pull daily, with very good results.
For topical use, its moisturising properties make it ideal for preventing and possibly reducing the appearance of stretch marks, as well as anti-ageing by firming up the skin and boosting collagen production. Coconut oil is naturally high in Vitamin E, which makes it easily absorbable and gentle on the skin. It is also said to nourish and repair dry and damaged skin due to its antioxidant capabilities. 5,6
From my experience, I can honestly say that coconut oil has worked wonders for stretch mark prevention during pregnancy but also for use as a healing agent for nappy rash. It is also the oil of choice for daily oil pulling.
Extra virgin coconut oil (above)
As espoused by many, both magnesium and extra virgin coconut oil are very important for both nutritional and mineral needs, both inside and outside of the body. Not only can they be used for stretch mark prevention, but also for healing and the prevention of many diseases and illnesses. They are also beneficial for increased health, fitness, wellbeing, anti-ageing and longevity.
This article appears in the second edition of Expose Magazine
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Have you had any success using natural products to prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks?
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