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.
If you take a look at the ingredients for our cocoa butter for stretch marks, pregnancy acne serum, and pregnancy stretch mark oil, you'll find vitamin E is an important component in these organic formulas.
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 sunburn 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.
Does vitamin E help with stretch marks?
While there are people blessed with resilient, stretch-mark immune skin, most women suffer from these unsightly marks during pregnancy. In fact, according to studies, 50 to 90% of women are affected by stretch marks during pregnancy. Stretch marks are a normal occurrence and they can show up in various parts of the body.
We know you have a lot of questions when it comes to pregnancy skin care, especially when it comes to stretch marks and what vitamin E can do to help, so we have prepared a couple of stretch mark-related frequently asked questions and their answers to help you out!
Which vitamin is good for stretch marks? Can I use vitamin E for stretch marks?
Yes, you can use topical vitamin E for stretch marks. 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 increase 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 vitamin E oil for stretch marks 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.
Is vitamin E good for early pregnancy?
You may have vitamin E oil pregnancy concerns especially if you’re in your first trimester, but using vitamin E for stretch marks is generally safe.
While there are concerns about high doses of oral vitamin E during pregnancy especially when taken with vitamin C (according to the WHO, excessive doses of vitamin E may lead to pre-labor rupture of membranes in pregnant women), the topical use of vitamin E, whether in oil form or in pregnancy skincare products, won’t be harmful to your baby.
However, if you’re having a sensitive pregnancy or are still concerned about vitamin E oil use during your 1st trimester, make sure to talk to your dermatologist and OB-GYN for medical advice.
How do you control stretch marks? Does vitamin E oil help stretch marks?
The adage “prevention is better than cure” is true, even for stretch marks. While stretch marks are common during pregnancy, you can prevent stretch marks from fully forming on your growing belly or on other parts of your body. And yes, including vitamin E oil in your skincare regimen is one of the natural ways that can help control stretch marks.
There are other natural remedies for stretch marks you can try besides using topical vitamin E oil. To avoid having stretch marks during pregnancy, you can:
- Stay hydrated - Make sure that you’re getting enough water in the course of your pregnancy, because this may help your skin stay well-hydrated and soft. As opposed to well-hydrated skin, dry skin tends to develop stretch marks easily.
- Include healthy food in your diet - Including vitamin and mineral-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet (and avoiding processed foods) will help make your skin healthier. Healthy skin is less susceptible to stretch marks, so it’s important to make sure that your skin is getting all the nutrients it needs.
- Supplement - You can also add vitamins and minerals to your diet through supplementation. You can ask your doctor which supplements are good for skin elasticity and safe to take during pregnancy.
- Gain weight slowly - Stretch marks are a result of rapid stretching of the skin which happens during a period of excessive weight gain (or loss). Gaining weight slowly in the course of pregnancy may help the skin stretch slower and may help control stretch marks.
- Natural stretch mark creams - In some cases, you really can’t prevent stretch marks from happening, but you can treat the marks with pregnancy safe stretch mark prevention products as soon as they appear.
Is vitamin E oil for stretch marks alone? What other ways can I use vitamin E during my pregnancy?
Aside from keeping stretch marks at bay by keeping skin supple and moisturized, vitamin E can also help prepare you for vaginal birth and reduce the chances of an episiotomy. Starting around 34 weeks, perineal massages can help stretch the skin between your vagina and anus, and greatly reduce the chance of tearing during delivery. Experts recommend choosing a toxin-free massage oil with vitamin E to help increase the skin's elasticity in this delicate region.
Now tell us: How do you use vitamin E in your daily beauty routine?