Bio-Oil_002_Teen Reflection (Aimee)

You look at yourself in the mirror and you look at all your imperfections and it really degrades your self-confidence. Aimee – 15 years old

All photos by Karin Schermbrucker

Growing up, I had a pretty good self-image. The one thing that really bothered me though, were my stretch marks. Because I grew really quickly, I developed them almost overnight at around 12 years of age. I clearly remember being unreasonably preoccupied with them and thinking how awful they were when I looked at them. Even getting into a costume became an issue, as I felt so embarrassed. This was not something I shared with my mom, or even my friends.

Fast-forward 25 years and I’ve gained and lost weight, had a pregnancy and finally come to terms with my ‘marks of change’. They’ve now faded to silver grey and are barely visible. In fact, I hadn’t thought of them in years.

That was until I attended a very interesting workshop by Bio-Oil that focused on this topic. Also, I have an almost 11-year-old daughter who will hit puberty soon. I want to empower her with knowledge about stretch marks – like why they occur and how to prevent them.

Stretch marks are a kind of scar tissue – basically a tiny tear in the dermal layer that results in scar formation. They are most common during adolescence, pregnancy and when there is rapid weight gain and loss. They can affect both sexes. Interestingly enough, in male adolescents, bodybuilding can be a factor as a sudden gain in muscle mass can lend itself to stretch mark formation.

According to renowned dermatologist, Dr Ayesha Moolla, adolescent stretch marks are related to sudden and dramatic growth spurts. They tend to occur between 12 to 18 years of age, although they can be seen in children as young as ten. According to the literature, approximately 70% of teenage girls and 40% of teenage boys get with stretch marks.

Bio-Oil_005_Teen Leg (Sam)

My first reaction to my stretch marks was, “oh my gosh, what are these? How am I meant to walk out confidently in a bikini with these defects!” But I had to accept that these stretch marks weren’t a defect, they represented me growing and maturing. They were my little steps into womanhood – Sam, 17 years old

So, how best can parents talk to children about theses physical changes, without highlighting flaws they may feel self-conscious about?

Clinical psychologist, Maropeng Ralenala says that it’s vital that adolescents feel heard, acknowledged and understood. “The parent’s most important role is to provide a safe and secure environment where the child feels free and safe to ask questions,” says Dr Ralenala. She goes on to explain that it’s imperative to give information in a loving and educational way.

Accept your child totally and help them to express negative emotion. Don’t dismiss their feelings, or say, “it’s no big deal, you’ll be fine”. Acknowledge what they are going through, because it is a real crisis for them. Understand, listen, give information, accept them as they are and help them to love themselves.

She also says that during adolescence, there may be what seems to be an irrational preoccupation with appearance. As children develop into womanhood or manhood, there is a lot of focus on physical appearance and comparison. There is often very little understanding of what’s happening to their bodies. The increased body focus combined with lack of understanding can lead to dysfunctional feelings. In the most extreme cases this can even lead to the development of body image disorders like anorexia and bulimia nervosa.

Bio-Oil_010_Teens on Stool (Kayla & Fikiswa)

The boys at school are really judgmental of the girls, it’s all about looks and weight. You need to fit into the crowd and if you don’t, they will make fun of you. Kayla, 15 years old (left)  and Fikiswa -16 years old (right)

So, the million Dollar question…Can you prevent stretch marks?

Dr Moola says you can, by maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet rich in food and nutrients that are good for skin health. Drinking plenty of water is also advocated to keep the skin hydrated from the inside. Twice a day, massage areas that are prone to stretch marks using good quality oils like Bio-Oil, a moisturizer or even an emollient. The massaging action allows the skin to become more pliant and more hydrated.

There are also supplements that can help with the prevention of stretch marks, such as vitamin C and E. Old stretch marks that are no longer pink or red are more resistant to treatment so the old adage of ‘prevention is better than cure’, rings true.

It’s important to remember that as parents, we are our children’s greatest role models. If we stand in front of the mirror and criticize our bodies, or obsess about our eating habits, we are showing our children it’s okay to do this. And it’s not. Lets rather celebrate how we look – flaws and all, and encourage an open line of communication.

GIVEAWAY

Caftan

Tell me about your experience with your stretch marks and you could win a Bio-Oil hamper consisting of 3 bottles of Bio-Oil (60ml, 125ml and 200ml – valued at R250 in total) as well as this beautiful white cotton caftan (pictured above) from Desray Clothing, valued at R800. Leave your comment below this post and be sure to include your e-mail address (only I can see it) so I can contact you, should you be the winner. I’ll announce the winners name on Tuesday 30 September.

31 comments

With that kaftan (have to have it!), you don’t need to worry about stretch marks! But if you are a little self conscious Bio-Oil is the only way to go!

MY stretch marks have made me unable to wear shorts, when I go to the beach I am always in three quarter pants, would be great to be able to wear shorts again and that Kaftan is absolutely divine!!!!

Im abit over weight okay alot over weight especially at my age which is early 20s I have stretch marks alot everywhere behind my knees on my tummy, on the top of my breast, on my arms which is the one I hate the most!!! I find myself always looking for clothes that are half way sleeves or il wear a cardigan or something that just covers, I wana be able to wear the short sleeve top embrace durban summer especially going beach I would really really really really really love to win this, yaseera.khan@ymail.com

I have had stretch marks since my high school days and they are the ONE thing I wish I could change about myself. I am soooo self conscious about them. I remember about two years ago I spotted one on the back of my knee the one day and I had just bought a cute summer dress which sat just above the knee – I returned it that same day and got a maxi dress.
As much as I hate my own, when I see another women’s, it doesn’t bug me at all, I don’t think that they are ugly or that a woman should be ashamed about them, but for myself they are the scars and reminder of the battle I have with my weight and my self esteem.

with stretch s on my upper legs i feel embarassing to wear short skirts and short and not talk about my favourite costume,would love to wear it and be stretch mark free,and feel like a pretty woman again

zawbotes@gmail.com

While I was pregnant I developed a really bad rash on the bottom of my tummy which turned into a rash all over my tummy, my mom bought me a bottle of Bio Oil as it’s all she uses for her beauty routine. It instantly helped and I used it in both my pregnancie, I also use the it pn my 3 year old son and 5 year old daughter for their eczema, it helps alot and we use it daily, as this is part of my beauty routine as well

Iv always been skinny.over the last year,iv gained weight and lost a little then gained again.i have stretchmarks on my upper thighs.im extremely self concious and absolutely dreading summer.i dnt know wat to wear wen i go to the beach or on a nice summer day.im newly married and my husbans tells me all the time that im gorgeous but it feels like everyone else stares at me when i wear something short:( i love my curves and my body but sometimes yourconfidence gets a knock and its hard to get back up

I couldn’t believe how young some of the ladies in this campaign are! But thinking back, I was around the same age when I started having those same thoughts. I grew super quickly too and had issues with stretch marks behind my knees and on my thighs. Thank you so much for speaking about this ‘taboo’ topic. It’s a great reminder for the type of questions and issues that your children may be facing.

Such an awesome prize! So many women suffer from these horrible stretch marks and honestly I haven’t found a product who can get rid of mine, with summer coming up I will be covering up my thighs at the beach because I am too shy and impressed to flaunt them..Getting rid of those stretch marks will definitely boost my moral and confidence..

Lovely post, Cands – and such great tips for teens! Wish I’d known about Bio Oil when I was 13! Like you, I also hit puberty quite quickly and went from flat-chested to a 34C bra size virtually overnight. As a result, I have stretch marks on my breasts, and I also have stretch marks on my upper thighs. The stretch marks didn’t bother me much when they first developed; to be honest, I don’t think I really knew what they were and my mom had them, too, so I saw them as marks of womanhood in many ways. I was growing and becoming more like my mom, and that was ok by me. I also distinctly remember sitting in my swimming costume beside the pool and noticing that my stretch marks looked a bit like the patterns that the light caused on the bottom of the pool… to me, stretch marks were never a ‘bad’ thing, until I hit my early 20s and started dating, that is. For some reason, boyfriends believed that it was ok to comment on my body and stretch marks, and I started feeling self conscious. Cue many years of crash dieting and slathering stretch mark creams all over my body to help get rid of my marks of change. I used Bio Oil on my chest, tum and thighs throughout my pregnancy, along with a few other targeted stretch mark creams and butters (I used to layer them – Bio Oil first, topped by my butter or cream of choice) and was very happy to find that I didn’t get a single stretch mark, despite a predisposition to them. I believed in the power of Bio Oil so much that I started using it on my c-section scar, but soon realised that, actually, my scars and stretch marks tell a story! I can’t wait to show Noah my c-section scar and explain that that’s where he came from; that he lived in my belly for 9 months and that he was so teeny that he could fit out of that small little cut. So now, as I approach 30, I’m finally starting to forget about all those critics that told me that stretch marks were bad or ugly, and embracing my body – scars, stretch marks, flab and all.

My stretch marks are a result of losing & gaining weight constantly, I cannot seem to maintain a certain weight & also being really bad at moisturizing my skin, the older I get the more conscious I get about my body & trying to look after it has started to become a priority for me going to gym & trying my best to eat healthy but now these stretch marks are just one of those things that can really influence your self-esteem. Not feeling confident enough about the way most woman look & feel. It’s funny how something so small can effect us women so much.

I would love the chance to win, so here’s my story, short and sweet. I was considered a “senior primi gravida” (old lady pregnant for the first time hee hee) when I fell pregnant with my first child and received a lot of negative ‘advice’ from how tired I would be to all the stretch marks that I may expect etc. This made me determined NOT to have one stretch mark on my tummy/breasts. I started applying bio-oil religiously from very early on in my pregnancy and today, even after a second pregnancy where my son weighed 4.302kg at birth and my tummy was ENORMOUS, my tummy and breasts are stretch-mark free. Bio-oil is fantastic.

Stretchmarks were visible on my legs when i was just a teenager, i never knew what they were, until it became really dark an more visible! i was so ashamed of my legs, that i did not want to wear shorts, or skirts showing the upper parts of my legs, but with time, as i got older, it got lighter with special oils, and when i had my son about 6 years ago i was the lucky mommy to not have a single stretch mark on my belly during pregnancy, still just on my legs, but i must say that bio oil did help a lot, and when i gained more weight during the years, the marks seems to almost fade away, almost like the extra weight fill s up the empty spaces between the stretch marks, and when i loose weight it goes back the to the way they were, but i have learned to live with it, its, part of me!!!!

Before i fell pregnant i had very few stretchmarks. As my stomach started protruding with my pregnancy my stretch marks on my tummy starting getting worse as the months went by, They looked almost blue :(. After giving birth they have not left. They now look like silver zebra stripes. Its really embarrassing when i have to go for check ups and i will never be caught dead in swim wear because of it 🙁 Bio oil i am depending on you. Wishing to bring back my confidence 🙂

Hello. I am 20 years and I have a poor self-image. I look into mirror and yes, I do see all my imperfections. Especially my big thighs covered in stretch marks. I am scared to wear shorts, skirts and swimming gear. I avoid swimming and I dislike shopping for clothing. But I think it’s time for me to become comfortable with myself. Others have bullied me and now I’m bullying myself. Bio-Oil sounds like a great way to start improving my body image, and I’ll adopt a better self image. 🙂

Hi I am currently 30 weeks pregnant and I use Bio oil everyday on my tummy,lower back, thighs and bum. It really seems to help my skin feel more pliable, as I have days like yesterday when my skin feels like it is ripping at my sides. So far so good, I have not noticed any stretch marks on my belly. ( I might just not be able to see them as the belly is getting big) I Love Bio oil and will continue to use it as my skin feels soft and supple and it smells GREAT! As for the beach cover up it is totally beautiful and would be great for this summer as baba arrives end of November and I will not be feeling very confident in my post baby body. Thanks for the great giveaway.

Hi i am so over my stretch marks, i used have a relationship with them where we faught all the time. Was so made they controlled me . After having my two girls a developed stretch marks on my tummy. From a hate relationship we now have a co-operative relationship. I now look at my stretchmarks and remember how i developed them, my girls have left a permanent reminder on my belly where they grew and developed into the most awesome humans being , stretchmarks thank you for leaving your mark i am really so over you.

I’ve always had stretch marks and they never bothered me, cause I viewed them as a sign of growth throughout the years. Until my pregnancy with the twins. My stomach was one metre big and my stretch marks were all over my tummy. I’m a tiger mom now. My hubby says my now striped flabby tummy is awesome cause I gave him two gorgeous boys.

I have twins..they are now 12 years old! My stomach expanded to rather large proportions! I was super lucky to be able to go to exercise classes & stay quite flexible. I also used a roll-on moisturizer consistently on my tummy. I can’t really see any stretch marks, but maybe that is because my stomach never really returned to its pre-pregnancy state, but I did loose nearly all the other weight I put on when my babies started crawling & I was working lots. Its really interesting how I don’t worry too much about the stretch marks on my stomach but I really wish I didn’t have such visible veins on my legs! Pre-teen is a very interesting age for kids. My twins are a boy & a girl so I get to see both sides at the same time! I always have bio-oil & use it for lots of different things. The article made me think about things because I always give it to my daughter to moisturize her body & keep her skin in good condition but not my son, when boys should be doing this too!!

at the ripe young age of 60, need I say more? LIfe has been good, but its hasnt had the consequences – 4 children later ! 🙂

after picking weight with my first child, havent been able to get the stretchmarks to go

I was very conscious of my body during my teenage years and having stretch marks on my hips didn’t help. At a time when I had my best figure, I didn’t have the confidence in myself, and now that I’m older and confident, I don’t have the figure to show off. Two babies later (and a lot of excuses to not get fit and lose the weight) and I have stretch marks on my stomach as well. I keep telling myself it was all for a good cause, that I have two beautiful children and a happy hubby, so why am I complaining? I have to accept my body (or do something about it) and especially not complain in front of my children as I don’t want them to grow up with body confidence issues. They learn from me and if I’m unhappy in my body, there is a good chance they will be too.

I was always a rounder little girl, my mother always says (with a smile) that i was born with 4 fat rolls on the arms. I cannot remember my exact age, perhaps 10, however I do distinctly remember my mother taking me to the doctors as she was worried about the new red marks that had appeared on my inner thighs and upper arms. I remember exactly to this day what he said ‘those are stretch marks, it is because she is fat.’ Even then i burned in shame.

My mother, I remember being awfully embarrassed on my behalf, but my mother had always been lucky with her figure and even through pregnancy had not really had an issue with stretch marks. But although I remember the embarrassment of that consultation, I am proud of my marks now…because they make me who i am.

I now hope I can pass this confidence to my little sister. My little sister has lots of scars and skin bumps due to a skin condition…..whenever she tells me she is embarrassed, I tell her that those little flaws are what make her beautiful, that no one else is like her, they make her unique and if anyone else thinks otherwise…well then they do not know any better.

So stretch marks….they make us who we are. 🙂

I have stretchmarks.
They have been with me for such a long time, I’ve now start calling them by name. Some of these squatters have invited more visitors…this is taxing on my mind, body and soul.
I vow…”EVICTION, EVICTION…STRETCHMARKS, YOU ARE NO LONGER WELCOME!!” ‘Bio-oil do what you are known for….get rid of these unwanted guests’.
BTW the cotton caftan from Desray Clothing is soooo gorgeous.

I have stretch marks on my tummy… and I can honestly say that I have made peace with it( like a white flag for peace…) I see this white caftan as my way of saying I have made peace. I can honestly say that I have found “other ways’ to cope with my stretch marks, firstly they remind me of my 3 beautiful normal pregnancies, secondly has Bio Oil been with me all the way and lastly I wear a one piece swimming costume because I can! Thanks for an amazing giveaway and all your lovely and inspiring posts!

I too got stretch marks as a teenager, I became very self conscious and never wore a bikini. Now that I am a bit older I’ve come to accept them and with my new exercise and strength training routines I definitely see a difference. I’ve recently started using Bio Oil and I am hoping this will help me get the confidence to get into a bikini soon. My advice, start lifting weights, not Barbie weights but real weights at the gym, don’t be scared!

my stretchmarks are a result of enormous weight gain through my pregnancy in my 30’s and fluctuating weight throughout my 30’s and 40’s. I do not like them but I do not let it get me down. I would say that they are about 70% better than they were after using Bio Oil from an early onset, but I am still self conscious especially in summer as they are mostly on my upper thighs so a cover up for the beach definitely helps my confidence. I would love to be able to win this fab hamper to continue to reduce the appearance of these stretchmarks.

When I was pregnant, my tummy grew very quickly. I am but 1.52 metres, can you say tall, maybe not LOL. My daughter was 4000g (4kg), so my skin was marked with many, many stretchmarks. I know at this stage bio oil may not erase it, but I would love to add some lustre back into my skin. It would be lovely to start my 9 year old daughter using bio oil so that her skin may be supple enough to withstand puberty which doesn’t seem that far away.

Wish I could get rid of the stretchmarks on my breasts which I have had since I was about 12 as I am always self conscious about them especially when wearing a bikini. I try not to let them affect me but it does dent my self confidence.

Afri berry’s Moroccan Gold Argan Oil can help with the removing of stretch marks within weeks of every day usage, it also has healing benefits for every scar. Afri berry’s Moroccan Argan Oil is cold pressed and 100% organic. For more info you can visit http://www.afri-bery.co.za

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