One of the first “productive” things I did after finding out I was pregnant was make homemade stretch mark cream.
Now, I didn’t really need it at the time, as my stomach of course wouldn’t start to grow for a few months. But it was something I could do at the time, and it’s the little things. But now that I am going to have a baby any day, the stretch marks have come out and this homemade stretch mark cream is a life saver!
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks have a variety of causes, which means a variety of things may or may not help prevent them and fade already existing ones. This means that stretch mark creams are not a cure-all, but the causes of stretch marks can give us an idea of how to help.
Genetics: The main cause of stretch marks is genetics. Some women don’t get any, some get deep tiger stripes all over. When I was 37 weeks, my mom pulled out a picture of her at 37 weeks and our bellies looked almost the same!
How quickly you gain pregnancy weight: If you have a huge growth spurt, you may notice the stretch marks come out in force around the same time. The skin just can’t keep up with the growth. And although it can be weight related, it doesn’t have to be: my stomach ballooned in size over the course of one week at the end of the 2nd trimester. I was in horrible pain from the growth spurt, but I didn’t gain a pound that week. And now at the end of the third trimester my weight is pretty stable, but I seem to get bigger by the day.
Diet: A skin-nourishing diet will help keep stretch marks at bay. Getting lots of water, consuming gelatin daily (like with my favorite smoothie), eating healthy fats and proteins, and getting enough vitamins are some ways to help support healthy, elastic skin.
But like I said, at the end of the day, your genetics are going to decide what your belly is going to look like at the end of pregnancy.
Do Stretch Mark Creams Work?
A lot of people are skeptical about whether stretch mark creams actually work. And to be honest, I can’t tell you for sure that this one does.
Since stretch marks are genetic, how can I know? It’s my first pregnancy. What would my stomach look like if it hadn’t been for the cream? And how will that compare to what your stomach, breasts, and thighs look like?
Stretch marks fade after pregnancy. How much will mine naturally fade? How much will this homemade stretch mark cream accelerate and support that?
I also didn’t always use the cream consistently. I may have gotten better results if I used it every day, and started using it consistently before the stretch marks started showing up. For example, I wasn’t applying it to the underside of my belly, and then one day around 34 weeks my belly was COVERED in marks. Would it have been different had I been applying it?
However, I do think that this cream does work. When my stretch marks first started showing on my hip, the morning after using the stretch mark cream the marks would appear lighter. I also believe that it slowed the progress of these deep marks.
Most importantly, it felt really good. Growing bellies and stretching skin can get really itchy! The nourishing oils in this homemade stretch mark cream were a lifesaver, if for no reason other than that they soothed my poor skin and gave it life back.
So while I love my stretch mark cream, I definitely would not recommend spending a ton of money on trying to get rid of your stretch marks. This recipe is a much more frugal way to soothe and nourish your skin. I use it on my winter eczema, too!
Homemade Stretch Mark Cream
I had all the ingredients for this simple recipe already in my house. Each ingredient is particularly wonderful for supporting skin to heal and repair. If you don’t have all the essential oils I use, it is okay to just use what you have. You can even replace them all with soothing lavender.
Shea Butter – Deeply moisturizes, heals, and helps with skin regeneration
Cocoa Butter – Soothes skin, contains polyphenols, which have been show to improve skin elasticity, collagen retention/production, and skin hydration
Coconut Oil – Supports tissue healing, repairs and softens skin
Vitamin E Oil – Promotes healing and skin elasticity
Lavender Essential Oil – Incredibly soothing for the skin, helps reduce the appearance skin imperfections
Frankincense Essential Oil – Supports cellular function, rejuvenates the skin
Helichrysum Essential Oil – Improves the appearance of the skin, often recommended for scarring
Myrrh Essential Oil – Soothes the skin (a must have for my chapped winter skin!), promotes a youthful complexion
Doesn’t that all just sound lovely? It sure does for my poor, tender, stretched out skin!
- 1/4 cup shea butter
- 1/4 cup cocoa butter
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 20 drops Vitamin E oil
- 8 drops lavender essential oil
- 4 drops frankincense essential oil
- 4 drops helichrysum essential oil
- 4 drops myrrh essential oil
- Place a small glass container (capacity at least 3/4 cup) in a shallow pan of water.
- Melt the shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil in the glass container (think makeshift double boiler)
- Once the oils and butter are melted, remove from heat.
- Stir occasionally until the mixture is room temperature or almost solid.
- Add Vitamin E oil and essential oils. Stir to combine.
- Let everything completely solidify. In the summer you may need to put it in the fridge to do so.
- Store in a cool place away from direct light.
- After showering or before bed, scoop out a small amount and massage into affected areas, such as belly, breasts, hips, and thighs.
*Note: This homemade stretch mark cream does not absorb readily like a lotion; it is more like a body butter. Your skin will be oily for a bit after applying it as it soaks in.
Have you used a stretch mark cream before? Did it help?
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