My Anti-Stretch Mark Strategy: How I Kept Lines to a Minimum During and Post-Pregnancy

Total Beauty

Posted 08/11/10 at 06:26PM by Total Beauty

I gained 96 lbs. when I was pregnant. Yes. You read that correctly. Ninety. Six. Pounds. Sure, I had twins, but still, I pretty much doubled myself during those TEN months of gestation.

Happily, with breastfeeding them -- they never had a bottle -- (not that I'm pulling a Giselle here) the pounds seemed to literally melt away. Plus, with two babies to nurse, change and put to sleep, who the heck had time to eat?

I did not, however, bounce back a la Kelly Ripa and revert to my pre-preggers, perky breasted, flat tummy'd self. My bikini days are looong behind me, though I must admit considering the fact that I ballooned to the size of a mommy manatee, my skin did a fantastic job at rebounding. I have no discernable stretch marks and the sag is minimal.

To what do I attribute this small miracle? Maybe it's genetic, but I'd like to believe that my avid-if-not-compulsive use of Mustela Stretch Marks Double Action, $39, had something to do with it. I pretty much drowned myself in it -- had bottles on my nightstand, in my car, at my desk, next to the TV -- and was hyper-vigilant about applying it.

Whether or not this product, and ones like it, actually work is up for discussion, all I know is that I'm not a stripey zebra and I really could've/should've been after putting my poor skin through the ringer like that.

One thing that was hard about pregnancy though (apart from creating two human beings), was having to stay away from hair bleach, nail polish, zit fighters and most of my favorite anti-aging products and procedures.

Of course, the Botox was off limits for obvious reasons ("here, baby, want some botulism to help you grow big and strong?"), but retinoids are also strictly verboten when you're preg-o. Found in prescription anti-acne/anti-wrinkle brands like Retin-A and Renova and, in lesser strengths in many over-the-counter products, retinoids in oral form have been liked to miscarriages and birth defects. Although research suggests that topical use doesn't pose the same risks, most OB/GYNs recommend staying away from them (see other prego no-nos here). So I did.

I did happen upon, and use, products from the Belli line -- the only brand that ensures that none of its ingredients are linked to birth defects or reproductive toxicity. I really liked the Belli Specialty Skin Care Eye Brightening Cream, $33 -- it made me feel less bloated and the Belli Pregnancy Specialty Skin Care Solutions Anti-Chloasma Facial Sunscreen, $22,kept my sensitive skin safe and dark patch-free by protecting it from the sun without the reportedly risky benzophenone that's found in most sunblocks.

With this sudden epidemic of celebrity pregnancies, Alanis Morissette, Alicia Keys, Becki Newton, Miranda Kerr, Christina Applegate, Melissa Rycroft, etc. It's going to be interesting to see who bounces back right away (can you say post-C-section tummy tuck?) and who takes a bit of time to revert to their former glory. Most interesting to behold should be Kelly Preston who, at 47, is expecting her baby at the end of the year.

Who do you think will be frolicking on a yacht in an Ashley Paige swimsuit first?
And the survey says...
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