Stretch marks occur when the middle layer of skin, called the dermis, overstretches and subsequently tears. During pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, when the belly is at its largest, the chances of getting stretch marks are very high. In fact between 75 and 90% of women develop stretch marks towards the end of their pregnancy seemingly overnight. We previously outlined 3 tips to help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. If you have already developed stretch marks, implementing this 4-step protocol will greatly help in reducing their appearance:
1. Consume gelatin
Increasing collagen formation is crucial for skin repair, and gelatin is one of the most powerful sources of collagen. This superfood is purported to boost skin elasticity, smoothen lines, create firmer, plumper skin, and promote growth of new cells – All of which translate to less-visible, minimized postpartum stretch marks. As a win-win, gelatin, when taken by mouth, also improves digestion, provides joint support and strengthens hair and nails.
Collagen protein powders are a reliable source of gelatin. However, instead of wasting money on expensive powders, make your own bone broth. Broth is not only an excellent source of gelatin and is fairly easy to make, but it also contains trace minerals and nutrients that really help replenish your postpartum health. Aim to consume about 3 cups of broth per day.
Here's a simple recipe to follow:
2. Consume vitamin K rich foods
Another significant benefit of always having bone broth on hand is that it can make such a nutritious base for consuming additional vegetables. When preparing your daily broth, simmer in a handful of dandelion greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, spring onions, kale, and/or spinach - These Vitamin K rich foods are not only beneficial for boosting skin elasticity and helping reduce the appearance of postpartum stretch marks, they are a powerhouse of nutrition that provides your depleted postpartum body with needed nourishment. Fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi are also a rich source of vitamin K.
3. Dry brush your body before your shower every day
Dry brushing your body does wonders for skin health. It exfoliates dead skin cells, stimulates the lymphatic system, increases the absorption of lotions and oils, and reduces cellulite and stretch marks.
How to dry brush
Step 1. Purchase your dry brush. Get a wooden brush with natural bristles and a long handle for those difficult to reach places
Step 2. Start before your shower, so you can wash all the dead skin cells off your body once you are done
Step 3. Start at your feet and work your way up, brushing your skin in long strokes towards your heart.
Step 4. Do your legs, thighs and bum first, then your stomach and chest, then each of your arms (starting at the fingers and brushing towards the shoulders and then down towards the heart)
Step 5. Spend additional time on areas with a lot of lymph nodes such as the back of knees, armpits, groin, inner elbows. Also spend extra time on areas with stretch marks and cellulite.
Step 6. Jump in the shower, rinse off all the dead skin cells, and seal in the moisture with a rejuvenating and deeply hydrating body wash.
Step 7. Repeat! For maximum results, try to spend 5 minutes every morning dry brushing your skin.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have postpartum C-section scars, please do not dry brush without getting the go-ahead from your doctor first.
4. Follow-up with a Gotu Kola & Helichrysum serum
Both of these natural ingredients have been clinically shown to increase the synthesis of collagen, inhibit the inflammatory phase of scars and keloids, and aid in the reduction of stretch marks (sources below). Our USDA Organic Intensive Stretch Mark Oil (renamed Intensive Stretch Serum) contains both ingredients as well as a number of other skin cell-renewing extracts that help minimize the appearance of existing stretch marks, while preventing new ones from appearing.
Apply your stretch mark oil /serum/cream to areas with stretch marks as soon as you’re out of the shower, while your skin is still damp. Spend a couple of minutes working it into your skin. The dry brushing that you did earlier will ensure that your skin is primed to really absorb all the active ingredients from your serum.
That's it! Do these 4 things every single day for at least 3 months (Remember to take a before photo for comparison). After 3 months, take another photo and post your before/after on Instagram with hashtag #AvishiBeforeAfter, and the most inspiring photos will win a set of our entire product line!