Stretch marks, postpartum hair loss, postpartum depression and an inability to shed pregnancy weight are sadly all far too common for women who have given birth. Yet stretch marks are not only the most common but also the most permanent side effect of giving birth. About 50 to 90 percent of the women are said to develop stretch marks during pregnancy.  You may be lucky, with elastic skin that quickly recovers to your normal figure, but more likely than not, your skin will begin to show the tell-tale signs of damage from stretching. Don’t wait to find out. The treatment of stretch marks should start in early pregnancy, as prevention is far better than cure. Follow our home remedies for stretch marks as soon as you discover your joyful news and you can prevent stretch marks before they appear.
Before heading towards the home remedies for stretch marks, it is important to understand why and how pregnancy causes them. Pregnancy stretch marks are no different than the regular stretch marks that you get at any point in your life. Stretch marks usually appear when your body gains or loses excessive weight.  During pregnancy, the baby is continuously growing in the womb causing the skin to stretch beyond its normal capacity.
Ultimately, excessive stretching leads to the tearing of the middle layer of the skin (known as the dermis) as it is not able to keep up with the required growth rate of the baby. This tearing causes the deeper layers of the skin to become visible. This results in ugly looking stretch marks, particularly on the breast and belly areas.
People normally recommend going through several surgical and chemical treatments to remove these pregnancy stretch marks. Some of these treatment options include abdominoplasty, fractional laser treatment, vascular laser and more. However, there are a lot of problems associated with these options. Not only are they expensive but also have a lot of risks associated with them.
The best option is to opt for some popular home remedies to prevent stretch marks which as equally effective, safe and cheaper. Keep reading to know more about them!
Home Remedies for Stretch Marks
- Use Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is known for its amazing benefits on skin and hair. It is one of the best and all natural way of keeping the moisture level of your skin and hence, is known as one of the best home remedies to prevent stretch marks. 
Using coconut oil is quite easy. Take the oil in a moderate amount and rub it generously on the areas where you are most likely to develop stretch marks i.e. belly and breast. Massage the area properly and keep doing it until the oil gets absorbed into the skin. Repeat this remedy thrice every day to reduce your chances of getting pregnancy stretch marks.
- Pile Up on Vitamin E
The effects of vitamin E on skin do not require any long debates. It is a powerful antioxidant that supports the collagen fibres present in the skin and protects them from harmful effects of free radicals.  In this way, vitamin E actually maintains and improves the elasticity of your skin. For this reason, it is considered among natural treatment for stretch marks.
So, all you have to do is get as much vitamin E in your diet as you can. Find out which food items have the highest levels of this important vitamin and start incorporating them into your diet. You can use almonds, sunflower seeds, olives, avocados, spinach and pumpkin for starters.
Additionally, you can take vitamin E oil and massage it directly into the highly vulnerable areas of your skin a few times every day. Vitamin E is also available in the form of oral supplements but take them only after consulting with your doctor first.
- Eat Healthy
The way you eat is extremely important in order to improve the elasticity of the skin. You would already be eating healthy meals to make sure that your baby gets all the nutrients required for growth. However, you need to adjust your food intake a bit to serve the needs of your skin. Incorporating food that particularly improves your skin is the best way to enhance elasticity and prevent pregnancy stretch marks. 
So, the question that arises is what exactly do you need to focus on while deciding the best food items for yourself? There are plenty of nutrients, vitamins and other minerals that your skin can benefit from. Some of these foods are mentioned below:
- Consume food enriched with antioxidants which protect the skin. Try eating lots of strawberries, blueberries, and spinach for this purpose. Blueberries are also an excellent home remedy for postpartum depression.
- Food rich in vitamin E for protecting cell membranes of skin cells. Such foods include broccoli, avocados, nuts and seeds. Make sure that you eat locally grown and fully organic vegetables.
- Foods with lots of vitamin A can help repair the damaged skin tissues. So, eat sweet potatoes, carrots, red bell peppers and mangoes.
- Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids makes the skin glow and keep the cell membranes intact. Get omega-3 fatty acids by eating eggs, walnuts, fish oil, oysters and fish. Remember to cook oysters and fish properly. Avoid eating fish with high mercury levels as it can lead to brain damage and developmental delays in the baby.
Eating healthy and nutritious does not only count among the home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks but is also important to regulate the health of the baby.
- Try Castor Oil Packs
If you are an expecting mother, you must have come across people who would have advised you to use castor oil every day. This is because castor oil is among some important home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks. In general, this oil is often used by people to get rid of wrinkles, fine lines, blemishes, spots and other skin issues. It is said to work like a humectant and helps the skin retain moisture and elasticity.
Using castor oil pack is not rocket science. Start by applying castor oil to your skin in the form of a thick layer. Wrap the area where the oil has been applied with the help of a saran or plastic wrap. Now apply heat to the wrapped area for half an hour. For this, you can use a hot water bottle or a heating pad. For best results, don’t forget to repeat the process every day for a few weeks.
If you feel like castor oil is too thick for you, you can thin it down by mixing one tablespoon of it with two tablespoons of almond oil and applying it.
- Make Your Own Oil Blend
If you are not inclined towards using a particular oil for moisturizing your skin, you can always make an oil blend of your choice. Essentials oil destroy elastase enzyme and keep the elasticity of skin patent.  All you need to do for this remedy to get different essential oils and mix them with base oils in right proportions.
In order to make a perfect blend, consider following these recipes:
- Mix one cup of olive oil with coconut oil of same quantity. Pour 3 tablespoons vitamin E oil and a few vitamin A capsules. Mix it thoroughly and use it as a moisturizer.
- Mix shea butter, cocoa butter and coconut oil in equal quantities. Microwave the mixture to completely melt it and add a bit vitamin E oil in it. Enjoy your personalized belly butter to prevent pregnancy stretch marks.
- For a rather simple recipe, mix vitamin E oil with a few drops of orange oil and use the blend to massage your skin.
Oil blends work like a miracle on your skin and hence, are known as one of the most effective home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks. Oil massages keep the moisture level in your skin high and increase the elasticity. Carrier oils also provide hydration and nourishment while the essential oils provide antioxidants to heal the skin.  Use this remedy twice every day to prevent stretch marks or even reverse the damage already caused.
- Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter and shea butter are among some excellent home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks. They are rich in both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids that easily get absorbed in the skin and keep up the hydration levels.  Moreover, cocoa butter is also known to replenish the lost skin cells. It is a great source of vitamin E and A which are particularly required for improving the elasticity of skin and preventing dryness.  Both of these butters, can blend to form one of the most effective home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks.
To use this home remedy, scoop out sufficient amount of both cocoa and shea butter and mix them together. Apply the mixture to the areas which are more likely to be affected such as chest, tummy and thighs. Massage it into the skin until it is fully absorbed. Repeat the process twice every day.
- Use Egg Whites
Egg whites are a rich source of proteins and are considered among the best home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks. This is because the protein content in the egg whites rejuvenates the skin. It can also reduce wrinkles and blemishes. 
Use this remedy by applying egg whites on your belly and chest on a regular basis. It will prevent the development of stretch marks and will also start fading the ones that are already present.
- Maintain Hydration
Among the easiest and the top rated home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks lies the maintenance of adequate water levels within the body. During pregnancy, your blood volume is continuously on the rise as your body is busy in building a big water sack for keeping the baby. Hence, in these circumstances, the demand for water intake is increased to a great extent.
Your skin, just like other organs in the body, requires water to maintain elasticity. Hence, it is recommended that you drink a lot of water every day throughout the entire pregnancy in order to maintain elasticity and consequently the stretch marks. Water keeps your skin soft and soft skin are less vulnerable to developing stretch marks.
You can keep a check on the hydration level by paying attention to your body. Feeling dryness in the throat or around lips is a classic sign of dehydration. Similarly, you often find yourself feeling tired and are unable to concentrate on different tasks while suffering from dehydration. According to the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily intake of water for women is 72 ounces but it may vary from person to person.
Remember that caffeinated drinks such as a coffee cannot help you in maintaining adequate hydration. Such beverages can, in fact, increase the risk of getting stretch marks, so remember to avoid them. If you cannot survive without your morning caffeine fix, remember to balance your coffee intake with a lot of caffeine-free drinks, water and even herbal teas.
- Keep Exercising
Did you know regular exercising can help in preventing stretch marks due to pregnancy? When you are exercising, you are actually improving the blood circulation in your body which makes your skin more elastic and stretchable. This means that skin is able to adapt to the changes in your body induced by pregnancy. Moreover, exercising can also reduce the risk of developing swelling in feet and varicose veins.
Considered as one of the simplest home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks, moderate exercise can improve the status of your skin cells and tone the muscles. Additionally, it will keep the hormone production in order and cause sweating in order to get rid of harmful toxins from the body. Be sure to consult your doctor about which exercises are best-suited to you and your pregnancy first.
- Get Some Aloe Vera
Why is aloe vera considered as one of the best home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks? This magical herb has effective properties to aid in the healing process and produce visible results only in a matter of days. Moreover, it has soothing properties on the skin. Using aloe vera keeps the hydration levels high as well. 
To use this home remedy, try extracting fresh aloe vera gel from the plant itself rather than getting it from the market. Take the gel in sufficient amount and rub it on the affected area and let it stay for 15 minutes. It is best if you let the gel stay but it can be washed off as per your convenience. Repeat the process twice every day. You can also mix aloe vera with oil taken from vitamin E and A capsules. Apply the mixture on the affected skin and let it absorb completely to get results.
- Make Sugar Scrub
Consider making sugar scrub among other home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks. Mix 1 tablespoon of sugar with some drops of lemon juice. Add a little almond oil and mix the solution thoroughly. Use this mixture on the areas where the stretch marks are expected to disappear. The scrub will exfoliate your skin and keep it in a healthy state.
- Use Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum Jelly is considered as one of the best home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks due to its occlusive nature. This means that it has an ability to lock moisture within the skin and in this way, it can help heal dry or stretched skin. 
All you have to do is scoop out some petroleum jelly and rub it on the risky areas. Massage it gently into the skin for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat this process every night right before going to bed.
- Try Gelatin
Gelatin is among the best home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks because it enhances collagen formation. Formation of collagen is essential to improve the elasticity of your skin. More females are likely to get stretch marks right after their pregnancy mainly because their diet does not contain enough amount of collagen.
So, how can you provide your body with more gelatin? One way to do this is to consume bone broth. Make some for yourself and consume it every day directly. You can also use it for making gravies, sauces, soups and casseroles. Try putting some in your rice to give it an amazing taste. If you don’t want to use broth, try using gelatin powder to your drinks.
Consuming gelatin would not only help improve the elasticity of the skin, it can also cause other benefits to your body. These benefits include improving sleep, aiding in wound healing, enhancing the insulin sensitivity, promoting health, reducing inflammation, and treating joint pain.
- Rely on Vitamin C
Your body needs vitamin C to form cartilage and collagen. It is also an effective agent for fighting free radicals and lessening the damage. Free radicals are dangerous to your body as they can destroy elastin and collagen from the skin and make the skin more vulnerable to developing stretch marks.
Vitamin C is considered among the greatest home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks. If you are considering to try out this remedy, there is some good news. You can get all the vitamin C that your body needs from natural foods. All you need to do is to make sure you eat foods rich in this vitamin. These foods can include guava, turnips, parsley greens, kale, red bell peppers, broccoli and green bell peppers.
- Make Zinc Your Buddy
Did you know that zinc deficiency is one of the most common causes of developing stretch marks during pregnancy?
Zinc is a trace mineral that occurs naturally in your body. In fact, it makes up for one of the most abundant minerals of the human body. Your body requires it in high levels to produce collagen. Additionally, it also has antioxidant properties to keep your skin free from damage.
Include zinc supplementation among other home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks and incorporate zinc-rich foods in your daily diet. You can start off by consuming shrimps, spinach, flax seeds, kidney beans, oysters and pumpkin seeds.
- Try Using Body Brush
Using a body brush can stimulate lymph and blood in your body. It also helps to eliminate toxins and increase the functionality of sweat glands and helps in skin exfoliation. All of these consequently make the skin soft and smooth and prevents the development of pregnancy stretch marks. 
In addition to the above-mentioned home remedies to prevent pregnancy stretch marks, here are some extra tips for all the expecting mothers to follow:
- Limit your intake of corticosteroid medications.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals on your skin.
- Consume a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Follow an active lifestyle and exercise every day.