Got stretch marks? You are not alone. Seventy-five to 90 percent of pregnant women are affected by stretch marks. They usually occur on the abdomen but may also appear on the breasts, butt, thighs and upper arms. Stretch marks are a nasty side effect of pregnancy that sends many a pregnant woman to the beauty cream aisle in search of the solution.

Stretch marks are caused by changes in the elastic supportive tissue that lies just beneath the skin. They start out pink, reddish brown, purple, or dark brown, depending on your skin color. The marks usually fade after pregnancy, but for most women, they never totally disappear.

Unfortunately or fortunately for you, it all comes down to genetics in determining who will develop stretch marks. If you think you might be affected, steer clear of prepared "stretch mark" creams ... most contain dubious if not down right toxic ingredients, and none have been proven to completely prevent stretch marks.

Instead, try using non-toxic coconut oil lotions to help moisturize skin and promote healthy stretching. Tea tree oil may also help to reduce the appearance of blemishes and spots that can occur during pregnancy.

Photo by bjearwicke

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