I’m going to be completely and utterly honest with you; I have a small addiction to Haloumi cheese, drizzled with lemon juice. Whew, it feels good to get that off my chest. Now that I’ve hit you with that truth bomb, I’ve got another one; I don’t have stretch marks, at least not that I’ve observed (there could be a few lurking around the backs of my bottom and thighs, but as I can’t readily see that area, it doesn’t exist in my mind). Before you angrily scream out ‘burn her, she’s a witch’, let me highlight the fact that during pregnancy, cellulite seems to appear out of thin (fat?) air attaching itself onto my thighs and bum in lightening speed. I may have dodged one bullet but I haven’t got off completely scot free.
But back to stretch marks. Let’s call them ‘stretchies’ and embrace the whole idea of giving something a ridic name to disempower it somewhat. Through some wild combination of genetics AND above average skin management, I managed to avoid developing any tiger stripes during my first pregnancy. As a teenager who bloomed veerrrry slowly and never really managed anything resembling a curve, I also managed to dodge the little suckers during high school. My mum is exactly the same which makes me think that my genetic code definitely deserves a high five. As a long term sufferer of eczema and dermatitis, mum is also a skincare fanatic, more out of necessity than vanity, and to this day, slathers herself in fragrance free body lotion every single morning. This extensive research has led me to the conclusion that while developing stretch marks to some degree MAY be inevitable, there is definitely some worth in actively working on both their prevention and worsening.
When I was beauty editing at Mother & Baby and Pregnancy & Birth mags, the number one reader question revolved around stretch marks, namely, how to prevent them as a small human began expanding all parts of your body. By the time I was invaded by a bebe myself, I had pretty much read all there was to read and tried all there was to try in the way of body lotions, creams, serums, sprays and oils. I could rattle off a list of stretch mark prodz in my sleep, indeed I may well have done this in the later stages of my first pregnancy when things started to get a bit weird and I began making grand proclamations while I slumbered. Being my own little guinea pig allowed me to see what worked, what didn’t, what I liked and would actually use and what was decidedly all too hard.
I stored all that information away and somehow managed to pull it back out a few weeks back when my bump started to make itself known. How it is that I can’t manage to remember meditation class on a Monday night but can remember the name, ingredients and RRP of my favourite body oil I will never know. Below is my edited list of the products I buy and use, along with the routine I try and follow. As both a mum and someone who is prone to general laziness when it comes to body moisturising, I probably could be more committed but at the moment, what I’m doing it working so who am I to go nuts and switch it around?
The Stretch Mark Slaying Routine
3 x per week – Oil infused bath. I love a good bath. Loved em’ in my first pregnancy and love them even more now, as when the going gets tough of an evening, I can chuck both myself and son into the warm depths of the tub. Instant relaxation for me and entertainment for him. Sometimes, I even get to bathe alone which is pretty much equivalent to a full spa day. To multitask while we’re getting clean, I lace the bath water with body oil. When I’m not pregnant, I generally go for coconut oil (yes, the type you cook with) and I while I still do this when I’m with-bump, I usually go for something like wonder product Bio-Oil, $14.95 or Gaia Pure Pregnancy Belly Oil, $19.95. A few drops while the tap is running creates gorgeously silky water and leaves your skin well coated in stretch mark preventing goodness. I also find that it helps reduce the dryness and itch that I sometimes get on my tummy as it grows.
As often as possible – Stretch Mark specific moisturiser – I am not good at hopping (or awkwardly shuffling these days) out of the shower and lathering on a lovely lotion or cream. Generally, I shower of an evening with my son and once I’m out, he starts yelling to be released himself, lest he miss valuable before bed train set play time. At least a couple of times a week however, I do make the effort to slather on a stretch mark specific moisturiser. While a standard cream or lotion is much better than nothing, the combination of ingredients in a specially formulated product are far more likely to actually achieve results. I go for either Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Cream for Stretch Marks, $15.70 or Urban Rituelle Mumma & Bubba Organics Mumma Balm Stretch Mark Cream, $31.50.
The rest of the time – The rest of the time, I rely on prayer and Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion, $7.99 that genius moisturising product that is activated by water and that you actually apply while you’re IN the shower. No need to moisturise afterwards. So smart. So clever. I usually can’t help but exclaim ‘why didn’t anyone think of this before?’ when I’m using it.
So tell me, how do YOU manage stretch mark prevention? Do you bother? I would also love to hear from any other haloumi addicts.. Surely I’m not the only one?
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