While pregnancy is an exciting time in the parenthood journey, there are many uncomfortable and annoying side effects, stretch marks included. They are caused by the skin having to grow too fast or too much, such as in pregnancy, puberty, obesity or muscle gain. Unfortunately, there are still no confirmed methods of completely eradicating them, and treatments such as laser therapies orstem cell-based therapies are expensive and not always accessible. However, there are natural ingredients that you can apply to your skin yourself which helpprevent stretch marks, and some of these are included in our Beetanicals products.
Stretch marks appear in up to 90% of pregnant women. Risk factors for their development are a personal or family history of stretch marks; having a larger baby; being younger at the time of pregnancy; a higher body weight; low water intake and high alcohol use (Hechtman, 2014 –Clinical Naturopathic Medicine). Besides staying hydrated and avoiding alcohol, a diet rich in protein; zinc; antioxidants, particularly vitamin C; and essential fatty acids, such as those found in oily fish, flax and hemp seeds; may help to reduce stretch marks. These help to build and protect skin cells and the connective tissue underneath.
As they are caused by breakage of the collagen and elastin fibres under the skin, ingredients that increase production of these connective tissue fibres as needed may be your best bet in preventingstretch marks.
One of the most popular natural remedies is cocoa butter. A study of 300 pregnant Afro-Caribbean women found that usingcocoa butter reduced the risk of developing stretch marks by only 20%, and the results were not judged as significant. There must be a 95% chance or more that the treatment caused the results. In this case, there was a 91% chance that the cocoa butter reduced stretch marks. However, cocoa butter does have protective effects on ourcollagen, with much of it being due to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. For best results, at Beetanicals we believe in combining the best ingredients to give you the best results, while this study only used one ingredient.
Our Belly Bee Balm includesrosehip oil, Kakadu plum, kangaroo paw and grapeseed oil. Rosehip oil is very high in vitamin C, an antioxidant required for collagen production. A clinical trial found that using a vitamin C and rosehip cream for 60 days significantly increased collagen synthesis in volunteers, regardless of age and without harmful effects. It also contains fatty acids, including gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), linoleic acid and oleic acid, which are essential for making healthy new skin cells. And let’s not forget about our Australian native Kakadu plum. It has the highestvitamin C content of any fruit in the world, giving it enormous antioxidant and tissue repairing potential.
Kangaroo paw is another Australian native that we include for its skin-repairing properties.New research has found that an extract of the plant can increase collagen and elastin by 136% and 43%, respectively. As testing on female volunteers revealed that it could reduce wrinkle depth and sagging in the real world, it may help prevent stretch marks through its connective tissue-strengthening benefits too. Finally, antioxidant-rich grapeseed oil can protect andenhance the rebuilding of damaged connective tissue. It may also help build new epithelial cells (the tough skin cells on the surface) and improve the structure of new tissue.
Besides scientific research, we at Beetanicals highly value the real-world experience of new mums and families when evaluating the effectiveness of our products. Naturally, our first positive experience came from our founder, Tanya:
The Queen Beetanicals Belly Bee Nourished Balm is truly a lovely experience. It provided me a beautiful connection with my baby while I massaged my belly. It relieved itchiness caused by my stretching skin and also assisted to reduce my chances of stretch marks. I only got a few lower ones in the last week of my pregnancy (I also got slack with my balm in the last couple of weeks). I kept hydrated throughout my pregnancy. In creating this balm it was all about making it 100% safe for pregnant mums and their bubs, and ensuring it was of high quality and effective. I am not ashamed of the few stripes I received, as they tell a story of me carrying baby Toby and nor should you be if you get any.
If you would like to take our Belly Bee Nourished Balm on your journey to motherhood,click here to make a purchase. If you are prone to dry lips, it can also be a fantastic lip balm!
Written by: Tanya Stanley & Alexandra Preston - Naturopath - BHSc (Nat)