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Ten Skincare Stretch Mark Creams

Ten Skincare Stretch Mark Creams

Whether we are currently expecting; or thinking about it or have been through it, stretch marks are one of those ‘ things’ we hope to be able to avoid. Easier said than done, even with an amazing diet and plenty of exercise before, during and post, you might not be able to stay clear of them.

Naturally we all look to the cosmetic market for a miracle answer, the one potion that will keep these little nasties well away; However if only it were that simple. For one mother nature has a lot to do with it, and by that I mean the genetic shuffle your parents will have passed on to you, plays an important part. My mother had some, not a huge amount but some. Having played sports my entire life, I considered myself relatively fit. When I came to expect, I was very much hoping that I could somehow maintain my skin’s elasticity whilst it inflated like a balloon, and defeat the stretch marks.

Cream & Oils

There is a plethora of creams and oils out there, however to be quite frank none of them really told me, how their ingredients actually worked. It had the usual suspects, with almond oil, with avocado oil, with this and that, however nice they may sound…How would they actually help me with stretch marks. And then clearly there were other ingredients in there, mostly mentioned in the INCI, however I did not carry my latin dictionary everywhere I went shopping, so needless to say, I was often none the wiser.I took the unusual step of creating my own skincare range. I am not talking of making one in the remote confine of my kitchen or garage with experimental vials. Not quite! I was in the lucky position to actually run a business, and still am, that is involved in medical and healthcare. All we needed was a partner,I trusted to perfect some useful formulations. Stretch marks were on the agenda as you can well imagine. A great deal of research and reading ensued, during which I learnt a great deal on key ingredients and their benefits, what works and what does not. However, I really wanted a range of products useful for mums and little ones, a range that would share its knowledge and science, and not keep us, consumers, in the dark. What also came to light was that the quality of the raw ingredients and how well they worked together was also essential. Some ingredients cancel each other out, in terms of benefits. It was also clear that we were victims of a marketing ploy, with some key ingredients ‘thrown at us’ as part of the packaging were actually in the smallest quantities, and unlikely to have any impact. This journey was a rewarding one, as the range is launching in Boots this June 2014. A boutique range for mums and babies, TEN®. However, the crux of this blog is really to give you some advice on stretch marks. I was lucky, I did not get any. Genetics had its part I am convinced, and perhaps I owe this to my dad then! The rest to my mum (winks).

Pregnancy

The one thing however I did, religiously, was moisturise morning and evening. I never missed an application during my entire pregnancy and I started very early. As our skin expands, it becomes tight and thin, and it needs all the help it can get. I had a few bath during that time, soaking in lovely oils, whichever took my mood. I am only mentioning this because this was an unconscious decision, however it may have helped. From my reading and meeting with mums, it was clear that the number one complaint was ‘ my tummy is so itchy’; I heard that one so many times at the Baby Show in London! Well, one word of advice keep your nails and fingers well away from your skin, it will really do some damage. Your skin is tight, flaky sometimes, if you are not prone, or even if you are prone to stretch marks, your nails will simply make it worse. Instead, when I felt that my skin was tightening, I would apply more cream. So I would always recommend a cream that actually has an ingredient aimed at reducing inflamation and irritation.

Here comes some sicence, for those of you so enclined! I listed some ingredients which are quite good in a stretch mark cream to help prevent their appeareance or prevention.

Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus amygdalus dulcis):

What is the difference between sweet almond oil and almond oil. Quite simple really there are two parts to the almond plant. One that produces white flowers and grows sweet almonds, and the other which grows pink flowers and produces pure, bitter almonds. Almond oil is rich in oleic and linoleic acids, vitamins such as vitamin E and minerals such as magnesium. It softens and nourishes the skin.

Shea butter

Shea butter is fat extracted from the African Shea tree. It is a complex fat extract which contains many unsaponifiables bioactive components ( substances that cannot be turned into soap). They include anti-oxidants such as tocopherols (vitamin E) and catechins (also found in green tea). Other compounds such as triterpene alcohols, are known to reduce inflammation;

Phenolic compounds found in shea butter, number 10 according to a recent study *, 8 of these were catechins, a family compound being studied for its antioxidant properties. The phenolic profile of shea butter is similar to that of green tea, and the total phenolic content of shea butter is comparable to virgin olive oil. (* Maranz, S., Z. Wiesman and N. Garti. 2003. Phenolic constituents of shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) kernels. J Agric Food Chem 51: 6268-6273.)

Shea butter is used in our formulation due to its anti inflamatory, humectant and emollient properties.

Avocado oil

Avocado oil is widely used in skincare as it has so many beneficial compounds. It is rich in essential vitamins such as vitamins A, D and E, lecithin, as well as potassium. It also contains proteins, lecithin, beta-carotene and more than 20% essential unsaturated fatty acids. The fatty acids contained are palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic. So it has a lot in it, however what are the benefits? For one avocado is one of the fruits with the highest content of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. It is an emollient, and promotes soft and supple skin. Then you have the fatty acids, the good fats, which are amongst other things good to promote cell function.

Golden Jojoba Oil

Golden Jojoba Oil.Whilst it is called an oil, it is in fact a wax ester which is very similar to the structure of human skin oil. Because its chemical composition and physical properties are so similar to the skin’s sebum, it forms a thin non greasy film when applied. it is non-toxic, non-allergenic and non-comedogenic ( which helps hydrating the skin without blocking the pores). Jojoba oil is a very stable compound. It has unsurpassed oxidative stability and very high thermal stability. Jojoba oil reduces waterloss whilst allowing the skin to breathe, quickly absorbed, it is an excellent moisturising agent.