Stretch marks… The enemies of our summer body! You might already be familiar with these stripes, or if not, you will one day: almost nobody manages to avoid them forever. The beauty industry knows how obsessed we are with them and is constantly coming up with new miracle products whose prices and effectiveness leave much to be desired. Getting rid of stretch marks completely is virtually impossible. But by adopting a few good habits, you can limit their appearance.
Stretch marks: what, how, and why?
So, what are stretch marks? They’re scars. Stretch marks are left behind when the skin undergoes quick stretching that is too intense for the elastin in our skin, which tears as a result. Whether it’s on the stomach, hips, thighs, arms, or back, stretch marks appear in varying lengths and sizes. They then fade into pearly white marks. Almost permanent, stretch marks penetrate deep fibres of the skin, between the epidermis and the hypodermis.
A little consolation, stretch marks are one of the most common things in the world. Rapid weight gain or loss encourages them to appear, as well as puberty, menopause, pregnancy, or corticosteroid treatments. What does all this have in common? They’re all a combination of physical and significant hormonal changes. Often violent or sudden changes, they block the fibroblasts, the cells which produce collagen. This is the same collagen that gives our skin strength and elasticity. The result: being more affected by hormonal yoyos, women are much more susceptible to stretch marks. Another genetic injustice, women’s skin is thicker and contains fewer fibres – it doesn’t stand up as well to stretching.
So, the fight against stretch marks… Is it already lost? Maybe, but we can still win some battles.
Our 5 tips to prevent stretch marks
1. Strengthen your skin: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
So, getting rid of stretch marks is impossible? Focus on preventing them! While most of the contributing factors are out of our hands, there’s an important way we can prevent them: strengthening our skin, its flexibility, its tone, and its resistance.
This can be achieved by having a rigorous skincare routine: hydrate your body every day, even during periods when you’re not susceptible to stretch marks. Being strengthened in the long-term, your skin will be better equipped to stand up to stretch marks in the future. If you’re pregnant, don’t wait until you start gaining weight to adopt this habit.
Choose a body moisturiser that is adapted to your skin. In our range, you can choose between 3 products which are formulated without essential oils and guaranteed to be free from hormonal disruptors: perfect for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The light plant oils and floral waters in our hydrating body milk Magic Milk will tone and soften normal to dry skin. In Summer, or for skin with less intense needs, our blend of plant oils Oil Lala will bring you flexibility and strength thanks to apricot, jojoba, and argan oil. The most sensitive or dry skins will need a rich body cream like Body Guard.
Finally, avoid anything that could weaken and dry out your skin, in particular sulfated shower gels. Instead, opt for a superfatted, cold-saponified soap like our Soap Rise, which also comes in a fragrance-free version for pregnant women.
2. Boost your collagen in the kitchen and the bathroom
To resist stretching, your skin needs its collagen levels to be prime. Everything that stimulates the fibroblasts will help decrease your susceptibility to stretch marks.
Look for products that are rich in active ingredients that boost cell renewal, collagen, and elastin: Centella Asiatica, horsetail, musk rose, blackberry… Combine them with the good fatty acids of antioxidant plant oils (pomegranate, avocado, baobab) to protect your collagen from free radicals.
When it comes to the kitchen, foods that are rich in vitamin A, C, copper, and sulphur boost collagen production. Citrus fruit, kiwi, cabbage, legumes, spinach, aubergine, strawberry, turnip, pumpkin, garlic, onions, and chives: eat them fresh, organic, and as often as possible. According to your diet, go for meats, seafood, egg yolks, whole grains, and oleaginous fruits. Seaweed and mushrooms are great sources of copper. Remember to eat a balanced diet not forgetting to find sources of good plant-based lipids, which are essential to maintain the skin’s elasticity and the circulation of nutrients inside the body. You can find these in olive oil and fatty fish. Avoid white sugars and carbs at all costs, they’re bad for the elasticity of the skin and the renewal of skin fibres. Finally, make sure you drink lots of water to preserve your skin’s elastin.
3. Adopt good habits for elastic and toned skin
Be wary of these two free radical producers, responsible for the loosening of tissues and their lack of elasticity: the sun and tobacco, which destroy the skin’s collagen.
Be careful about taking long hot baths which accelerate skin slackening and dry out the skin. Body scrubs? People say that they prevent stretch marks… But what they can do is weaken your skin if done too often, so it’s best to do them in moderation.
Avoid going on repetitive diets and the yoyo effect that they have on the body.
Finally, exercising regularly is a great way to prevent stretch marks: muscles help to support the skin, and are a great tool to avoid fluctuating weight. But be careful, it’s all a question of quantity: exercising too intensely can increase our cortisol levels, which inhibits the fibroblasts.
4. When it gets critical: a targeted anti-stretch mark routine
Is your skin undergoing changes due to pregnancy, menopause, or a change in your weight? Opt for a skincare routine which targets at-risk zones with very nourishing and softening products. This is also a good idea for boys reaching puberty, we don’t usually associate them with stretch marks, but a growth spurt can cause them to appear.
If you’re pregnant, pay particular attention to the products you use, particularly on the stomach or chest. Don’t settle for the word ‘pregnancy’, instead focus on the ingredients, choosing products which are free from synthetic additives, 100% natural, and free from essential oils. The best thing for it? High-quality plant oils, of course: sweet almond, avocado, Inca inchi, macadamia, musk rose, and shea… If you’re not pregnant, you can boost these plant oils by combining them with essential oils: lavender, rosewood, geranium…
What’s even more effective is to use them in a balanced product. Whatever your skin type, you should opt for Body Guard. Rich in extremely nourishing plant-based active ingredients – plant butters (shea, cacao) and protective, restructuring plant oils (avocado, baobab, coconut, desert date) – it is THE product to use to prevent stretch marks. Gently massage it in, morning and night, for the best absorption, it will activate your circulation and stimulate the fibroblasts.
Finally, during critical periods, avoid wearing tight clothing: the friction doesn’t help in the prevention of stretch marks.
5. Already have stretch marks? Act ASAP!
Despite everything, these little marks continue to appear? Then there’s no time to waste! Acting immediately is essential: it’s still possible to control and confine them. Recent stretch marks can still continue to develop on tissue that is already weakened… On the other hand, once they are settled in, and faded to white, changing their appearance is virtually impossible.
On these new stretch marks, you’re going to need to harness the powers of active ingredients that can strengthen your tissues and stimulate supporting fibres, but also repair and restrict marks. The best of these? Musk rose oil, super repairing and a collagen-booster, daisy extract, toning and capable of tightening up the skin’s tissues. Both of these have unparalleled healing powers. You can apply them to your stretch marks pure, but they’ll be more effective when used in synergy with other plant oils: Calophyllum with its healing and repairing components (calaustralin and inophyllolide), nourishing sweet almond, restructuring argan with its 75% fatty acids, macadamia that’s rich in regenerating palmitoleic acid, and shea butter… The ultra-rich enveloping texture of our Loving Balm, rich in all of these treasures, is ideal for a massage that will control the development of new stretch marks. According to the season, you can also massage your stretch marks with our blend of healing and regenerating plant oils, ideal to boost your hydration and prevent stretch marks.
Intensify the way you massage in your products to boost their healing powers: massage them in for 2 to 3 minutes, every morning and evening. If you are pregnant, ask your nurse for the green light before applying products to your stomach. Finally, boost your UV protection: UV rays can increase the visibility of your stretch marks.
And to add in a little bonus tip: be patient and realistic… You can’t erase stretch marks completely. At least not without surgery. Even prescribed products or laser treatments can’t get rid of them, and won’t bring you any protection against the appearance of new ones. What’s worse, the secondary effects of these treatments can be even more visible than the stretch marks themselves. We would recommend only considering these treatments if your stretch marks are a big issue for you. After all, stretch marks are so common and even inevitable. Maybe we could try to accept our bodies as we are?
This post is also available in french.