Refer a Friend and Earn Offers! - Beli Prenatals are HSA/FSA eligible!

Can Collagen Prevent Stretch Marks?

Up to 90% (1) of pregnant women will end up with stretch marks—call it a maternity souvenir. That’s why the internet is full of creams and lotions and potions that promise to prevent these completely harmless but largely undesirable scars. By and large, stretch mark prevention products are largely anecdotal (and definitely unproven). But what about collagen? There’s a big body of research that supports oral collagen supplementation during pregnancy, thanks to its beneficial impact on skin elasticity and hydration plus its key role in all the major growth that’s taking place. But the million-dollar question is this: can collagen prevent stretch marks? Here’s what the research says.

Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

can-collagen-prevent-stretch-marks-beli-baby-prenatal-collagen-boost

As the name implies, stretch marks are indeed a type of scarring that appears after the skin quickly, well, stretches. During pregnancy, it’s common for them to appear on that rapidly-expanding belly, but they may also appear on the breasts, thighs and hips. When stretch marks make their grand debut, they can be a little shocking, resembling an irritation or an outright wound. Depending on your skin tone, they can range from reds and pinks and purples to dark browns (2). In time, stretch marks fade to a lighter shade of your natural skin color, just like regular scars.

But these marks aren’t just a discoloration. They’re actual fissures created by the skin stretching beyond the point of its own elasticity, so they have a slightly raised, swollen feeling at first. As time passes and the inflammation fades, stretch marks flatten out slightly but still feel different than the surrounding skin.

So, is collagen the key to avoiding them entirely, especially during pregnancy? To answer that, we have to take a close look at what collagen does for your skin.

The Role Collagen Plays in Your Skin

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and it’s found quite literally from head to toe. Think of it as the glue holding everything together, and you’ll have a general idea of the role this important protein plays. Your body is whipping this stuff up constantly, and much of it goes to maintain skin health. As we get older, our ability to synthesize collagen slows. During pregnancy, our needs for collagen increase. In both cases, oral collagen supplementation (3) can help ensure you’re getting enough collagen to meet your needs. In the case of pregnancy, that includes supporting hydrated and more elastic skin structure, which makes it stronger and healthier during and after your pregnancy. Growing babies, meanwhile, require plenty of protein for important work like growing new tissues, supporting their tiny little immune systems, ensuring proper muscle function, making hormones, and the list goes on.

Collagen & Stretch Marks

Clearly, collagen is good stuff while you’re pregnant. But does that hydrated, elastic skin mean a reduced risk of stretch marks? Well, it might! At this time, there are no clinical studies to confirm the claim, just because it’s a tricky thing to test when everyone reacts to pregnancy so differently. But by consuming higher amounts of collagen protein before the tummy-stretching business of pregnancy, it stands to reason that you can boost skin elasticity in anticipation of what’s to come. In that case, collagen protein may really be able to minimize or even prevent stretch marks, which, again, are caused by skin stretching too quickly for its elasticity level.

Unfortunately, no oral collagen will change existing stretch marks. The scars themselves are the repair your body executed once the skin was stretched. There are options for making mature stretch marks less noticeable, with varying degrees of success, but nothing truly gets rid of them. Again, collagen can help improve your skin’s general elasticity over time, which is no small thing.

The Bottom Line

Oral collagen supplementation, ideally before a pregnancy, is one of the very best ways to support your skin's elasticity and hydration (among other benefits), which could be helpful in the prevention of stretch marks. But there are a few other sensible steps that are worth taking. Remember that rapid weight gain is the biggest culprit, so doing your best to gain weight at a steady pace to support your baby’s development and growth is wise. That means eating a nutritious diet and making time for regular exercise. Prioritize hydration from the inside out—smearing butters and creams into your tummy may be relaxing, but the idea is hydrating the skin and that’s best done with plenty of water every day. And to hedge your bets, up your protein intake with a high-quality collagen protein like Beli Collagen Prenatal  Protein Boost (and check out 7 easy collagen powder recipes right this way!). Whether or not it collagen prevents stretch marks, you can be confident that it’s supporting you and baby in all the ways that matter.


Resources

Stretch Marks. (2022). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10785-stretch-marks

Stretch Marks: Why they appear and how to get rid of them. (n.d.) https://www.aad.org/public/cosmetic/scars-stretch-marks/stretch-marks-why-appear

Skin collagen through the lifestages: importance for skin health and beauty. (2020). https://parjournal.net/article/view/3863

Additional Resources

If you’re no stranger to the telltale signs of seasonal allergies—sneezing, itching, nasal congestion, irritated eyes, the works—you’re likely familiar with antihistamines. When you’re actively trying to conceive, there’s more to understand about histamines, seasonal allergies and how it affects your fertility.

Read More

Choline is an overlooked essential nutrient in many prenatal vitamin formulas, and it's a major oversight. Here at Beli, we've been sounding the alarm for years and it's gratifying to see that the market is beginning to catch up. That's thanks in part to articles like "The 7 Best Choline Supplements for Pregnancy, According to a Prenatal Dietitian" from Parents. Spoiler: Beli for Women made the list.

Read More

While PCOS can be a challenging condition to manage, natural supplements like inositol that are included in Beli Preconception Boost offer a beacon of hope. Inositol's ability to improve insulin sensitivity, hormone balance, and ovulatory function makes it a valuable tool in the PCOS management toolkit. 

Read More

The concern that hormonal contraception affects future fertility is making the rounds on social media again. But research continues to show that all that worry is for naught. While birth control doesn’t cause long-term fertility issues, it can mask them by creating an artificial cycle—something that’s important to understand.

Read More

For many of us, our twenties and even thirties are a time when the focus is on pregnancy prevention. And that’s okay! But even when the idea of motherhood is miles away there is tremendous value in understanding your fertility health and what you can do to support it during these young, carefree days.

Read More

We’re thrilled to introduce Beli Women Preconception, a complementary fertility supplement designed to support fertility health by promoting egg quality, supporting ovulation, balancing hormones, regulating your cycle and helping to manage symptoms of both PCOS and PMS.

Read More

Once a month, PMS symptoms make their unpleasant presence known. And while knowing what’s happening won’t make PMS magically disappear, it can help you manage symptoms by balancing hormones and supporting your reproductive health. Let’s review.

Read More

It’s an easy assumption, but you’re much better off thinking that every prenatal vitamin is wildly different in terms of composition, nutrient quality and, importantly, nutrient amount. Not only is that actually true, it puts you in the smart consumer mindset of understanding what matters in a prenatal vitamin—and why.

Read More

If you have endometriosis, you can already recite its lengthy list of pretty terrible symptoms. And the standard options for managing those symptoms — medications, hormone therapy, hormonal birth control, estrogen blockers, surgery —  aren’t always great. But there is evidence that a so-called “endometriosis diet” can help.

Read More

With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

Read More

Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

Read More

Preparing for a baby means doing everything in your power to nourish your fertility health. If you’re totally on board but wondering what that actually means, we’re breaking down the do’s and don’ts for planning a pregnancy.

Read More

There’s a certain magic to the holiday season, whether you’re all-in on the decorations and the family time or a self-proclaimed Scrooge from mid-November to the New Year. But when you’re trying to conceive, it can be a challenging time.  We’re sharing five tips for managing the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.

Read More

Everyone knows that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. But what about before you’re pregnant, during the trying-to-conceive stage? There’s no evidence that the occasional drink—i.e. one or two a week—is going to torpedo your chances of parenthood. But it is true that the more you drink, the greater the likelihood it will have an effect on your health. Here’s what the research says about alcohol and your fertility.

Read More

Choline is an overlooked essential nutrient in many prenatal vitamin formulas, and it's a major oversight. Here at Beli, we've been sounding the alarm for years and it's gratifying to see that the market is beginning to catch up. That's thanks in part to articles like "The 7 Best Choline Supplements for Pregnancy, According to a Prenatal Dietitian" from Parents. Spoiler: Beli for Women made the list.

Read More

Optimal nutrition plays a pivotal role in enhancing fertility and supporting a healthy pregnancy. A diet rich in essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats, lays the foundation for reproductive health.

Read More

Somewhere between the “let’s have a baby!” conversation and seeing those two pink lines, you’re going to end up researching prenatal vitamins. And trust us when we say you’re going to have a ton of options to wade through. Consider this your handy guide to the best prenatal vitamins for men and women in 2024.

Read More