After laying out in the sun a few times last month, I noticed what I thought could be the start of belly stretch marks. Luckily, they weren’t , but I immediately panicked. Apparently, your likelihood of getting stretch marks depends heavily on whether or not your mom got stretch marks during her pregnancy. So although my mom has skated through life with smooth, scar free skin, I happen to have very sensitive skin that is prone to scarring, thus I’m still living in fear of the stretch mark monster. Maybe it sounds a little superficial to be so concerned about tummy stretch marks, but everyone has their flaws, and I’m willing to admit that the fear of pregnancy stretch marks is one of mine. Hey, no one is perfect. After my little scare, I remembered reading an article about how the sun leads to increased aging because it reduces the elasticity in our skin. So, in my effort to self diagnose and self medicate, I concluded that the same theory could apply to stretch marks. If our tummies don't have enough elasticity, this could lead to scarring during the stretching process, right? My anti-aging trick is to lather my face with Crème De La Mer, especially after sun exposure, so I thought, why not apply the same theory to my belly?
The one problem I came up against when considering La Mer for my belly cream is that most anti-aging creams contain ingredients that should be avoided by pregnant women. As such, I first checked with my doctor regarding the safety of this product during pregnancy. After my doctor read the ingredient list, she said she didn’t see any problems with me using the product on my stomach. So with that issue resolved, I was free to continue with my little experiment. (Note: It is a good idea to check with your doctor before using any products, because we can never be too safe when it comes to our babies).
La Mer, whose key ingredients include sea kelp and lime tree extract, has been hailed by many as some sort of miracle formula. The moisturizer was originally created by an aero physicist who wanted to heal the scars he suffered during a lab accident. While I personally wouldn’t go so far as to call this a miracle cream, I will say that it delivers an almost unbeatable amount of sealed-in moisture to my skin. Although it is not marketed as a stretch mark prevention product, after 3 weeks of consistent use on my belly, my skin has never felt softer and I am still stretch mark free. Actually, one of the La Mer sales women at Bloomingdales had a baby 3 months ago. When I told her I was going to use the La Mer on my baby bump, she said that was her secret weapon during her pregnancy. She even showed me her tummy, which was completely smooth. Of course, I understand that her story has to be taken with a grain of salt. After all, she IS selling a product, and perhaps her skin simply is not predisposed to stretch marks, but never-the-less, this made me feel pretty optimistic.
There are two options for the La Mer product: the Crème De La Mer and the Soin De La Mer The Body Crème. Both products are rather expensive, so it may not be for everyone. The Crème De La Mer is meant as a face cream and costs $230 for a 2 oz jar, whereas the Soin De La Mer is priced at $195 and it is meant to operate as a body cream, so it comes in a 10 oz jar, which I have found to be a better value. The Body Crème is also available in a $130 6.7 oz tube. Although, the concentration of The Body Crème is not as intense as the Crème Del La Mer, so far I have no complaints. Also, I now prefer the Soin De La Mer as my everyday face cream because the lighter formula works better for my skin. The Crème De La Mer was so intense, that I could only use it twice per week. Now, I only have one moisturizer to apply to y whole body, which thankfully takes a few steps out of my daily beauty regimen. I simply apply the La Mer twice per day, once in the morning, and once at night, as so far, my tummy, and the rest of my body is in tip top shape.
My other stretch mark weapon is Shea Butter. I’m not quite as obsessive about applying the Shea Butter, but I keep a container on the coffee table, so whenever I’m on the couch watching TV, I lay there and rub my belly with Shea, which I’m sure the baby also enjoys. Shea Butter is a great all natural, all organic way to keep the belly moisturized. My favorite Shea Butter product is made by L’Occitane. There are no added perfumes or other ingredients, simply good old fashioned 100% Shea Butter. And of course, Shea Butter is considerably cheaper than La Mer. Even the Shea at L'Occitane will only cost you $39, which will likely fit better into most budgets.
My last line of defense is hydration. The recommended water intake for pregnant women is 8-10 glasses per day, and I try to reach or exceed this every day. A hydrated body is always a great beauty tool, and it is essentially cost free. The best way for me to stay on track is to keep a big pitcher or water bottle at my desk so that water is always on my mind. For days when I’m not glued to my desk, I just keep a water bottle in my purse. Also, when I can remember, I try to knock out 2 glasses of water first thing in the morning, thus, I've already accomplished 1/4 of my goal before I even start my day.
Although pregnancy begins a new life of benching narcissism and putting our babies first, I believe it is still important for us mommies take care of ourselves, including our bodies. How can I make another person happy and healthy if I can’t even do that for myself, right? Of course, a few tummy stretch marks is not the end of the world (nor is it remotely the end of happiness), and being a mom is well with the little sacrifice of body imperfections, but I say there is no harm in trying to keep our skin smooth and scar free while we can! Good luck mommies!!