As I began formulating The Spoiled Mama's pregnancy skincare many years ago, one of the first things I learned about was all the wonderful benefits of vitamin E.
That's because while vitamin E is vital for the proper functioning of our body's organs, it also has amazing topical applications that benefit skin, hair and nails.
What is vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found naturally in foods such as avocado, asparagus, eggs, nuts, seeds and whole grains. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
While vitamin E can be consumed orally through food, supplements and gel capsules, your body delivers only a certain percentage of vitamins to your skin -- no matter how much you ingest.
This is why applying vitamins topically is crucial in delivering maximum benefits to your skin. Used commonly in sunscreens and sun burn relievers, vitamin E is proven to ease dryness and bolster skin’s UV defense. It is also said to even skin tone and soften skin.
Can vitamin E help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy? Can it help fade stretch marks I already have?
According to P. Kim Phillips, doctor of dermatology at the Mayo Clinic, early application of vitamin E is the best way to avoid stretch marks from scarring.
Stretch marks occur during pregnancy when the skin is stretched so rapidly that the dermis, or middle layer of the skin, actually tears. Aside from weight fluctuations, dry, itchy skin and poor hydration also increases the likelihood of stretch marks appearing.
According to "Healing with Vitamins: the Most Effective Vitamin and Mineral Treatments for Everyday Health Problems and Serious Disease," vitamin E oil boosts collagen production, a connective tissue that keeps skin elastic.
With more elasticity, your skin will be less susceptible to tears and stretch marks. To help heal and fade new stretch marks, a topical application of vitamin E supports new skin cell growth and revs up cell regeneration.
To minimize stretch marks and reduce itchiness, choose a moisturizing oil or belly butter that contains vitamin E, and rub it directly to stretch mark-prone areas daily. For pregnant women, these areas include the stomach, breasts, thighs and buttocks.