Homemade All Natural Belly Butter
Every woman looks for that miracle cream that will prevent stretch marks from forming. I'm here to tell you that it doesn't exist. But, there are ways to help prevent the severity of stretch marks if you are predisposed to having them. Women often get them during their last trimester of pregnancy on their belly, but sometimes on their breasts, thighs, hips and butt. Because of the tearing of the dermis, stretch marks are actually scars that represent a weakening of the skin's supporting structure. They often first appear red or dark purple in colour and eventually fade to a light pink, white or hypopigmented, so although they will never fully disappear they will fade over time. There are also differing levels of severity and that is affected by many factors such as your genetics, degree of stretch on the skin and cortisone levels (this is a hormone that weakens elastic fibers).
There is a light at the end of the tunnel though! The best way to prevent or reduce stretch marks from developing is to ensure your skin maintains it maximum elasticity by keeping it well hydrated.
Maintaining a healthy weight and healthy weight gain is important for you and your baby. Most women who were at a normal weight for their age and height prior to pregnancy should expect to gain anywhere from 25-35 lbs during the course of their pregnancy when you add up the extra blood volume, the weight of the baby, placenta, extra fat storage (for starvation mode, in case your body needs to nourish the baby). Ensuring you aren't drastically increasing your caloric intake will help you maintain a healthy weight gain. Don't fall for the "eating for two" saying. It's not true, you don't need to eat double your normal meals to nourish your growing babe.
Exercise has so many benefits but for pregnancy in particular, it helps improve circulation. With improved circulation, the skin stays more elastic and better able to stretch as it grows.
Staying well hydrated and drinking the recommended 8 - 12 glasses of water per day will help to increase the elasticity of your skin and is helpful in both prevention and the fading of existing stretch marks. Regular intake of water will also help your body to remove toxins out of your system and flush out the free radicals which are partly responsible for making your skin dry. Water not only helps to keep your skin well moisturized to keep new stretch marks from forming but it also helps in controlling weight gain.
Skin food is important in maintaining healthy, supple skin. Collagen and elastin fibers in the skin help to keep rapidly growing skin stronger and less likely to weaken and break, leaving scars. It makes sense to eat foods rich in collagen forming ingredients such as Vitamin E, C, zinc, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin). These all promote and help maintain healthy skin. Maintaining well hydrated skin is tough, especially in the winter months. It's especially important during your third trimester as your skin is stretching to it's limits. If you are experiencing particularly itchy skin it's important that you DO NOT SCRATCH. Simply apply some moisturizing cream, drink water and do something to distract you from scratching.
I made an all natural belly butter that deeply hydrates my skin and leaves it feeling and smelling amazing. I apply it 3-4 times daily all over my belly, hips and lower back! It's super simple to make, cheaper than store bought "stretch mark" creams and made from 4 simple all natural ingredients. Coconut oil and shea butter are deeply moisturizing, while Vitamin E and citrus essential oil helps promote collagen formation and lavender essential oil helps with inflammation. Follow the simple instructions below to make your own!
1. In a small pot on low to medium heat, melt all of the ingredients.
2. Pour into a glass jar. Let it sit overnight to harden.
3. Rub a small handful over belly, hips and boobs to moisturize skin and help with stretching & inflammation. Apply 1-4 times daily or as needed.
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Shea Butter
1-2 tbsp Vitamin E Oil
5-10 drops Lavender & Citrus Essential Oils