Fade those stretch marks with the good oil

STRETCH marks are common after pregnancy, weight loss or any other change in body size and shape.

Wearing a supportive bra and undergarments may help minimise stretch marks but skin also becomes more pliable and better able to stretch when it's well hydrated, says Michelle Vogrinec, owner of GAIA Skin Naturals.

"While at first stretch marks may show up as reddish or purplish lines that may appear indented and have a different texture from the surrounding skin, they often turn lighter and almost disappear over time with daily massaging with a hydrating cream or body oil," she says.

Michelle suggests looking out for products containing the following oils:

Rosehip Oil - hydrating and high in linoleic and linolenic fatty acids, which encourage regeneration and repair of skin tissue, even out skin tone and reduce the redness and appearance of scars.

Jojoba Oil - similar properties to skin's natural sebum, it's easily absorbed with a nice texture and feel. Regenerative and firming, it is useful for improving the tone and condition of skin. It provides important nutrients, ie. Vitamin E and B group, minerals and essential fatty acids.

Wheat Germ Oil - a nourishing oil that contains high amounts of vitamins E and A, as well as being high in essential fatty acids. Useful in healing damaged or scarred skin, reducing the appearance of scars and improving suppleness and elasticity.

Cocoa Butter - softening and protecting and is especially good for dry skin. Helps maintain suppleness and elasticity of skin and minimises stretch marks.

Aloe Vera - a skin nutrient renowned for its soothing and hydrating action, it is used to soothe minor cuts and burns, moisturise dry damaged skin, reduce redness, and provide long-lasting moisturisation.

Vitamin E - provides nourishment and hydration helps reduce redness and smooths scars.

Pure essential oils of lavender, frankincense, mandarin and neroli may also be helpful.

Helen Hawkes is a qualified counsellor and happiness coach. Go to The Feelgood Factor at http://www.thecalmzone.com.au