Belly love: argan oil, pregnancy, and stretch marks

Pregnancy changes your world. New life and new responsibilities can create a cocktail of equal parts frustration and joy.

To top it off, there are so many new items to buy that are weighed out between safety concerns, durability, and lifestyle choices. But before you dive straight into the abyss of baby superstores, consider taking a slice of time out of your daily routine to consider healthy choices and products, such as the wonderfully versatile argan oil, which will aid your body during this truly exciting time.

Pregnancy presents obvious physical changes. The folktales surrounding pregnancy suggest that your new hormonal state will leave you with glorious and shiny hair, skin that radiates, and an overall sense of health that will leave strangers in complete and utter awe. Although many mothers take their concern for their health to new levels during their pregnancy, this lore still might be only partly true and many of those waiting for the beauty magic of pregnancy are left with confusing and stressful lists of “helpful” specialty products.

It is important to remember that many of the changes you face during pregnancy, whether positive or negative, are temporary. Your body has moved into overdrive trying to grow and protect a new life. Typically, the increase in blood flow and mild fluid retention will result in healthier and smoother skin. Increased estrogen could also turn your skin a shade darker. In rare cases, pregnancy might leave your skin feeling dry. This is particularly problematic in areas where your skin will stretch.

Feared throughout the pregnancy world, stretch marks are a fact of life for many women. The most common places to develop stretch marks occur on bellies, breasts, hips, and legs. After pregnancy many of these marks will completely fade or have the appearance of pale wrinkles. The good news is that there are many creams and oils that you can use to reduce or eliminate stretch marks.

Studies have shown that oils containing ingredients such as Vitamin E, elastin, hydrolusates, and menthol can severely reduce their development. Argan oil is an excellent pregnancy-friendly option for your skin. It is packed with Vitamin E and fatty acids that will combat even the toughest of stretch marks. It is free of harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances or dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs, and triclosan.

It will also keep your cabinet clutter-free as Argan oil can also help moisture dry facial skin and clear up irregular acne without leaving your skin looking or feeling greasy. Simply rub it in on a regular basis for skin that can easily grow with your baby.

Your hair and nails are also going through changes during your nine months of pregnancy. You may find that your hair feels fuller and heavier leading into your second trimester. You are not actually growing more hair- you are just losing it at a slower rate. Normally, 85-90 percent of your hair is growing while the other 5-15% is in a stage of resting. After the resting period the hair falls out and is replaced with new follicle growth. The average woman loses about 100 strands of hair a day. During pregnancy, higher levels of estrogen prolong the growth phase. The result is thicker tresses.

For many women, this is something to be excited about. However, postpartum locks will not look as great. After giving birth, the cycle resets and your hair will fall out. It is important to protect your hair during this time. Excessive brushing and washing could damage your tresses. More importantly, your scalp might begin to feel dry. Argan oil is, again, an excellent remedy. Use it as a deep conditioner following a decent wash in the shower. Use the soak time to relax. If you are a new mom, you will most certainly appreciate the time to yourself.

In general, many pregnant women do not cite many changes to their nail beds during pregnancy. Some pregnant women will develop harder nails while others, for completely unknown reasons, will find their nails to be more brittle or soft. Again, these changes are temporary but it is important to protect your fingers by wearing rubber gloves when cleaning and by having an excellent moisturizer. Argan oil is easy to rub into your hands and fingers. It will not leave your hands feeling greasy or unusable and will offer you the protection you need.

The best part of using Argan oil during your pregnancy is that it is a multipurpose tool. Instead of getting swindled with a full cabinet of sub par products, invest in a purchase that you can use well into your postpartum days.

Sarah Miller
Editor: Beauty

Photo Credits - (Header) CC: 'Pregnant Belly behind the grass' by Beatrice Murch - (Sidebar) CC: 'Pretty pregnant' by Denise Tanton
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