Stretchmarks. They're hardly the worst thing to happen during your pregnancy, unless perhaps you plan to take up glamour modelling afterwards, and even then there's airbrushing. No, there are plenty more drastic effects for your body to endure. But hey, stretchmarks are like grey roots, no one wants them and if you don't have to have them, why would you?
Stretchmarks can appear on the skin wherever it is stretched as a result of sudden growth. So if you're a pregnant woman or a 14-year-old boy watch out. And if you're a 14-year-old boy, you're on the wrong website, probably.
Stretchmarks occur in the dermis, the middle layer of your skin's three layers. The rapid stretching causes the dermis to break in places and allow the deeper layers of the skin to show through, forming stretch marks. They are often red in colour to start off with, fading to a silvery white colour. Silvery white streaks almost sound quite nice, like water ripples in the sand on a beach, caught in the sunlight. "Yeah, right!" I hear you cry?
Next page: Our Save & Splurge beauty options for tackling stretchmarks.
Legions of scientists and doctors say that there's not much you can do to prevent stretchmarks, but even so, plenty of women have found that oils and creams can help. If you'd like to give one a go, here are two products you might like to try.
Our 'Save' product is a reasonably priced one, for these credit crunch times, and the other is a 'Splurge' one, a blow the budget version if you feel that, heck, it's your body, he can do without beer for the week so you can treat your body like a temple – a big round temple that is.
Both these products are natural, and free from nasties such as SLS, parabens, petrochemicals, artificial fragrances and phthalates. Avoiding these in your beauty products is a good idea at all times, and especially when you're pregnant.
Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Oil, £8.95, 100ml (pictured above)
Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Oil nourishes and protects the skin, increasing its vitality. Apparently, the combination of precious Sea Buckthorn Oil and gentle Sesame Oil supports the natural functions of the skin and helps restore the hydro-lipid layer.
The vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids in the oils are designed to aid skin weakened by environmental conditions such as wind, cold, pollution or extended exposure to the sun. And the company promises that the "fresh and fruity fragrance from the essential oils gives an immediate sensation of well-being and leaves the skin feeling toned". Sounds good to me!
Dr Alkaitis Organic Treatment Oil, £58.73, 130ml
The Rolls Royce of natural beauty brands, this Dr Alkaitis oil improves skin elasticity and softens and nourishes dry and damaged skin.
Key ingredients include virgin cold pressed organic oils (Organic Jojoba, St. Johns Wort and Andean mountain rose hip seed oils), natural vitamin E complex and 100% pure essential oils. It claims to be 'perfect for pregnant women in helping to prevent stretchmarks'.
Have you tried oils and creams for stretchmarks? Did they work? We'd love to find out more, so please do leave a comment below.