Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pregnancy Stretchmark Cream Comparisons (aka Obsession)

They say pregnancy stretch marks are genetic. If your mum has them, you probably will too. My mum has them, but she also had 3 kids. This is my first. And even at 6 and a half months, my belly has not expanded as much as 'normal'. I'm measuring a quite few weeks behind in terms of belly size (according to my doctor, who knows this by touch?? Dunno how, but he can feel the size of uterus from outside of belly). But by scan, my baby is measuring right on track. She always looks so squashed (like rolled in a ball and her feet can reach up to her face!) in the scan though... but I think this is also normal.

Anyway... as you can tell, I'm quite preoccupied with not getting stretchmarks, or at least minimising them as best I can.

I started using creams since the last few weeks of the first trimester. And I'm obsessed to the point that, since I don't know for sure which creams are best, there are lots of mixed reviews going on... so I bought quite a few... and now I use them ALL. For instance, in the morning I would use one cream, afternoon I slap on a different one, then at night time I use an oil. That sort of thing... so in case one of them is really shit, the other 2 will stand in and still do it's job. Rather than use just one type of cream throughout my pregnancy, and then realize it doesn't bloody work for me.

By the way, I have no marks or stretches on my belly (yet?)... but only a couple of weeks ago I found 2 small (1cm long) stretchmarks on my right boob (just so you will now know, boob stretchmarks start close to the nipple)!

I've been applying creams to my boobs and hips and back too... since the start... but I always kind of do it half heartedly... my focus has always been the lower belly. But now, I dedicate quite a bit of effort to boobs. I think cos they have been growing more than my belly so far, so they're the first to get stretchmarks. Eek! So far, looks like those two tiny stretchmarks are diminishing, or at least not getting any worse. They are like tiny pink lines, and the line is a bit sunken (like a thin dent) on my skin, so I knew they were not scratches. Hope they go away completely.  :(

So here are the creams I'm using right now, towards the end of my second trimester. There are 2 more which I used in the first trimester and early second trimester, but I've finished those and have not repurchased.
L to R: Elancyl, Coconut oil, GAIA, Biolane Maman, Mama Mio
1. MotherCare It's Your Body Stretchmark Cream (Not in pic because I finished it)
This is the cheapest stretchmark cream I got. I wanted to start applying early, from my first trimester, but didn't think I really needed it yet.. because at that point, my stomach was like non existent. So I just bought this cheaper one for that time. It was about $18-$19 for a rather large tube.

I was slathering it on like nobody's business because the tube was so large. And I found that it absorbed well. Smells nice too (light). Has shea butter which I think is vital. I just didn't repurchase because I had other creams which I bought to try. But otherwise, I think this is a very good choice, esp for early trimesters.

There is also the Palmer's Cocoa butter range which a lot of preggers buy because it is cheaper than other creams. But I prefer shea butter over cocoa butter. Esp during my first trimester, I hated the cocoa butter smell. And I find that cocoa butter creams feel thicker and harder to absorb. Some preggers also have allergic reactions to cocoa butter, like their skin around their belly and chest gets pimply.

2. Mustela Double action ( no pic because finished)
This I bought because many people online raved about it. It was about $70 for a 250ml tube. Again, mainly Shea Butter. Loved it. I did find however, that upon application, after rubbing it in for some time, the cream flaked a bit. It was like dead skin coming off my belly (like an exfoliant). Not sure if it's supposed to do this, or if that's a good thing?

But loved using it. Flakes and all.

Belly felt supple, I used this mainly in my second trimester until I finished it, and didn't repurchase... because expensive!

3. Elancyl Stretchmark Prevention (first from left in pic)
I used this since the start of the second trimester, and it's only just about to finish so it's lasted 3 months plus (it's like 1 litre pump bottle, approx. $40-60? I forget price, but around there).

It has good reviews online. I like it because it absorbs super fast compared to the rest. So I use this when I was a quick application (pump is convenient some more)... and then I can put on my clothes straight away. I must say that my skin doesn't feel as "moisturized" as the Mustella and Mothercare ones after application. But I feel that it's because it's already penetrated deep in. This is overall a good value buy. My doctor did ask me what cream I was using, my belly skin felt and looked good (during a routine scan) and I said Elancyl, and he said ok good, keep it up. (Though I was also using Mustela at that point. But mainly Elancyl).

4. Coconut Oil
I was hesitant to start using an oil. Because I've had some crap experinces with oil before I was pregnant. Oils would usually stick to my clothes, and even after washing my clothes, there would be lingering residue and oily smell.

But I was in Thailand for a holiday, and this pure coconut oil little bottle was cheap (sgd6), so I just thought I'd try. And I loveeeee coconut oil!!!!!!!

Absorbs well. There's no smell at all (pure and good quality coconut oil should not have any odour). I only started using this 2 months ago, and only for my nigh application before bedtime. If you're on a tight budget, you can just use coconut oil, many women swear by it. But I still use other creams during the day, because I'm not 100% sold on the au naturel thing... I do like the science behind some creams, and I think those chemicals can be beneficial too.

When this finishes, I'm planning to buy coconut oil from the organic section at Fair Price Finest, also about $6 for a small bottle. And will probably use it after delivery too, since it's organic and natural, I can still slather it on my boobs even though I'm breast feeding. (Can right??)

5. GAIA Belly Butter
I have heard many good things about GAIA brand for babies. So when I saw this belly butter from GAIA, I just got it without looking at ingredients. Its about $30 for 150ml tube.

Then when I first used it a week ago or so.. I was like ehhhh... this is thicker than the creams I've been using so far, and there was a .. erm.. smell to it.. not sure how to describe it, wasn't awful ... but smelled natural, organic and unmasked. And I checked the ingredients ... and it was cocoa butter based. Aiyah. (it also contains shea butter but I think the cocoa butter is overpowering it)

It's not a bad belly butter, just that I prefer more shea butter based stuff. And true enough, I felt that it stuck to my clothes, and even after washing those tops, when I put them on again a few days after, I can smell that my clothes smell of this cream. Not a big deal. But with non cocoa butter options out there, I would pass on this one.

6. Biolane Maman
I never heard of this brand before, nor do I see it on the shelves at pharmacies. I bought because this lady was selling a new sealed tube of this stuff on Carousell for $10, she had over purchased, and didn't need the extra tubes any more, after delivery. Then I just kept the tube, because I was happily using my other creams... and also because it didn't have shea butter on the ingredient list at the back of the tube (but no cocoa butter either, yay), just a list of stuff like organic argan oil. Plus I got it so cheap, and never heard of this brand before, I thought maybe it's shite, and I'll just keep it as back up... as you know when it comes to stretchmark creams, I'm kiasu like that.

But at my last gynea visit, I was sitting in the waiting room, flipping pages of a pregnancy magazine, and saw a full page ad for this product. So I thought, oh... maybe worth opening and trying.

And I looooooove it!!!!! Fast absorbtion. Feels 'clean' in a sense that it's absorbed well, doesn't smell of anything, there's no residue, doesn't linger on my clothes. Not sure where you can buy it but I googled and it's about $40 for a 200ml tube.


7. Mama Mio Tummy Rub
A friend from the UK sent me presents for the baby, and this was part of a pregnant mummy starter pack. It's thick but not tacky sticky texture. absorbs well, and smells damn nice because has lemongrass (so it's very relaxing and spa like smelling).

So yeah, these are all the stuff I'm using at the moment to preventing stretchmarks. The Elancyl will finish in a couple more applications, it's great but I won't repurchase because I will keep using the rest instead. I apply a different cream each time, and at a minimum I do this 3 times a day, so I rotate the creams. Night application I use coconut oil. Sometimes, even when I wake to pee at night (which is often lol), I'll just squirt one of the creams in my hand, and rub it on my belly as I fumble my way back to bed.

Surely this kind of dedication will pay off right??!!!  Will honestly update you in about 3 months, when I'm post partum.

2 comments:

  1. You needa get a spoiled mama tummy butter cream. Works like magic!

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  2. Anonymous7:18 pm

    Hi Holly..interesting article. I myself am pregnant with second pregnancy and this time with twins, so I'm expecting lots of stretch marks this time.

    I had a few with my first despite her being born small (2.1 kg at birth). I was using Palmers. Just a few stretch marks around belly and sides. they used to itch a bit. Don't be too worried about weight gain and stretch marks. That was my concern with my first too. Until we hit about 34 weeks and she developed IUGR. And then I felt bad, like I hadn't been eating enough or was too concerned about maternal weight gain to worry about baby's size.

    I wasnt very vigilent about stretch mark creams. To my knowledge the skin stretches on a deeper layer and the collagen fibres break and no amount of cream actually stops it. Here's an article from my OB's website on the issue :http://www.obstetricexcellence.com.au/questions-answers/stretch-marks/

    Here's wishing we both have smooth pregnancies. God bless.

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