Tips to prevent and reduce the appearance of stretchmarks

Pregnancy can be stressful enough without having to contend with the prospect of stretch marks. Morning sickness, aching feet, a sore back and feeling exhausted are just a few of the delightful side-effects of starting a family – and you also have to prepare for your body shape to change drastically.

A recent survey revealed that more than 50 per cent of moms-to-be worry about the effects of stretch marks.

These angry lines are caused by the skin contracting and expanding faster than usual, without time to adjust. As the body grows – even during the early stages of pregnancy – skin can tear and leave a scar known as a stretch mark.

However, this can be prevented by using the right product as soon as possible:

Bio-Oil is a favourite among stars such as Kim Kardashian and Helena Christensen. The special formulation maximises the skin’s elasticity and it is packed with oils such as vitamin A and E with calendula, lavender, rosemary and chamomile. It also boasts a unique ingredient called PurCellin Oil, which means the non-greasy formula won’t come off on your clothes. Perfect for those busy ladies who don’t have time to wait for lotions and potions to dry.

The important thing about stretch marks is to try and prevent them as early as possible. Even though they can begin forming in the first trimester, they aren’t always visible until the later stages of pregnancy, when the belly becomes more swollen. So for the best results, apply your chosen product twice daily from the first trimester.

Clarins have been working on their anti-stretch mark formula since 1956. It is now known as Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil and many pregnant women swear by it. The oil preserves skin suppleness and elasticity, but if you would rather try a cream, then Clarins also offer Stretch Mark Control, a rich fragrance-free lotion that boosts the body’s resistance to over-stretching. This product contains nourishing olive, coconut and palm oil and claims to not only prevent stretch marks forming, but also minimise the colour and visibility of any that may already have appeared.

Don’t assume it’s just the tummy that needs attention. You should also rub creams or oils into the thighs, hips, breasts, butt and lower back to ensure your skin remains hydrated and flexible.

Mama Mio is popping up in many baby stores on the high street, and from looking at the attractive pastel packing it’s easy to see why. Mama Mio Goodbye Stretch packs a powerful punch of peptides, fruit extracts, nourishing oils and algae extracts. Don’t worry if you can already see some angry purple lines developing – this promises to improve the texture of any existing stretch marks and is safe to use throughout pregnancy.

For those expectant mothers looking for a natural approach to combating stretch marks, Burt’s Bees have just the thing. Their Mama Bee range includes Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter, a creamy lotion that is bursting with cocoa butter and vitamin E – perfect for keeping expanding skin smooth.

Deborah Mitchell’s Heaven Firming and Stretchmark Oil is another sensitive offering. The treatment helps to even skin tone, increase elasticity and reduce scar formation. And it boasts vitamins A, C and E as well as calendula, mandarin and orange – so it not only fights scars, but it smells great too.