Who Gets Stretch Marks
If you have them, youre in good company. About 90% of women will get them sometime after their sixth or seventh month of pregnancy, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
If your mother had stretch marks, then you’re more likely to have them too, since genetics plays a role.
If you have a lighter complexion, you will tend to develop pinkish stretch marks. Darker-skinned women tend to get stretch marks that are lighter than their skin tone.
How To Soothe Itchy Stretch Marks
The first method is the hardest. Dont scratch. Your skin is trying to heal, and you risk breaking it further through constant scratching.
Keeping the skin moisturized with a cocoa butter or oil will help keep the itching down and minimize stretch marks in the process. Wahoo! Double win!
Taking a warm oatmeal bath is also very soothing to the skin and can help speed up the healing process.
What Causes Pregnancy Stretch Marks
Interestingly, the cause of pregnancy stretch marks comes down to two factors, one of which is unique to pregnancy. Firstly, there is the physical stretch of the skin that occurs in pregnancy .While the skin adapts to continuous movement by expanding and contracting, during these periods the skin has insufficient time to adjust. As the body expands faster than the skin covering it, the skin tears. The resulting scar that forms from this tear is what we know as a stretch mark.The second factor, which is still a subject of debate among experts, involves the priming of the skin by increased levels of hormones in pregnancy. Together, these hormones attract more water into the skin, which relaxes the bonds between collagen fibers. This makes it easier for the skin to tear when it is stretched and for stretch marks to form.
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When Do I Start Using Stretch Mark Creams During Pregnancy
You can use them as early as you want, in fact, the earlier the better, because even if your skin isnt stretching yet, the creams will still provide your skin with hydration. That being said, when you move into maternity pants and your belly is starting to show, thats a good time to start using the cream to support your skin as it stretches out.
“Stretch marks happen from the sudden weight or volume changes and are not really improved with the more common OTC regimen of a cocoa butter like product that has been touted as preventative,” says Dr. Allenby.
Relax To Help Your Skin Heal
When you get stressed, your body releases hormones that can interfere with your skins natural healing and regulation process. This slows the healing process of your stretch marks after pregnancy.
You can avoid these issues by taking some time each day to relax and unwind. This helps to reduce the hormones that could prevent your stretch marks from healing. Your method of relaxing could be as simple as listening to your favorite music or reading a book.
Meditation is also a great way to relax after a hard day. Find a comfortable position, take deep breaths, and let your thoughts go. A guided yoga class can be an easy way to combine relaxation and exercise to help heal stretch marks after pregnancy.
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Why Do Stretch Marks Form In Pregnancy
The main reason stretch marks form during pregnancy is because the skin isnt able to keep up with the rate your body is growing. As your bump gets forever bigger, the skins elasticity is stretched way beyond what it can deal with. This leads to scarring within the deeper layers of skin.
Youll typically notice stretch marks start off either red or purple in color. They often appear more like scratches when they first develop. However, over time they do fade and turn more of a silver color.
They can appear anywhere on the body which experiences rapid weight gain. However, in pregnancy they largely crop up on the stomach, breasts and thighs.
What Can Get Rid Of Stretch Marks
Like any scar, stretch marks are permanent, but treatment may make them less noticeable. Treatment can also help alleviate the itch.
If youre pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your doctor before treating stretch marks. Some products contain ingredients, such as retinol, that can harm your baby.
Its important to understand that no single treatment works for everyone and many products dont seem to work at all. Heres what researchers have discovered about the many treatments for stretch marks.
Stretch mark creams, lotions, and gels: Researchers have studied many of the creams, lotions, and gels sold to treat stretch marks. While no one product seems to help all of the time and some dont seem to help at all researchers have discovered some helpful hacks.
If you want to try one of these creams, lotions, or gels to fade stretch marks, be sure to:
Use the product on early stretch marks. Treatment seems to have little effect on mature stretch marks.
Massage the product into your stretch marks.Taking time to massage the product gently into your skin may make it more effective.
Apply the product every day for weeks.If you see results, they take weeks to appear.
Home remedies: In studies, popular home remedies have not worked. Researchers found that none of the stretch marks faded when people massaged almond oil, cocoa butter, olive oil, or vitamin E into their stretch marks.
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Creams With Cocoa Butter Or Vitamin E
This is pretty popular advice. Almost all creams that you can buy over the counter or at the drugstore have one or both of these ingredients.
Unfortunately, no large-scale study has yet shown that these ingredients actually help lessen your chances of getting stretch marks or minimizing them once you already have them.
That said, it certainly wont hurt if you want to try using creams with these kinds of ingredients. Theyre safe to use during pregnancy and they can help keep your skin moisturized which also helps with the itchiness!
Eat For Skin Elasticity
The way we eat overall is extremely important in our skin elasticity. Eating for skin elasticity would include eating a diet rich in collagen including bone broths and gelatin, vitamin A, C, and E, and keeping a good balance of omega 3:6 ratio. This includes things like eating grass-fed and free range meats and eggs. Drinking raw whole milk from cattle that were grass-fed. Eating organic and locally grown vegetables. Fermented cod liver oil is also very beneficial. Eating in this manner isnt just for skin elasticity but for fertility and healthy babies.
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Avoid Rapid Weight Gain
While weight will creep on during pregnancy at a much faster rate due to the growth of baby and necessary assistance of other organs and fluids, trying to avoid a burst in your weight gain bubble will help your skin adjust to the new changes gradually. Sudden onset of additional weight can cause more tearing.
Your stretch marks may seem unsightly to you, but at the end of pregnancy when your baby is in your arms, you might be able to see the beauty in their appearance as a sign and indication that you became a mother. Wear them like a badge of honor and know that they will fade over time with the same care you gave them!
Is Prevention Possible
Unfortunately, theres no way to prevent stretch marks. Theres not a cream, lotion, or mommy balm that can do that — and if thats the claim on the bottle, dont be fooled, Lupo says.
It’s always a good idea to keep your skin hydrated with a rich lotion or cream, Lupo says, especially if it makes your skin feel better, look smoother and more toned, and helps the itchiness that can come with your growing belly.
It also helps to keep your body hydrated with water, says Anne Chapas, MD, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
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What Are Stretch Marks
Stretch marks, known as striae gravidarum in pregnancy, are basically a type of scar.
They look like indented streaks on your skin. They can be pink, red, black, blue, or purple. It all depends on:
- how theyre caused
- where they are on your body
- how old they are
Sometimes, when stretch marks first appear, they can feel slightly raised, but eventually theyll just feel like slight depressions in your skin.
When they first show up, they might also be itchy.
Wear Sunscreen And Avoid Direct Sun
The suns ultraviolet rays damage the skins collagen and elastin, which can make stretch marks more likely to form.
People should seek shade, wear UV-protective clothing, and apply sunscreen daily. It is essential to allow the sunscreen to absorb for before sun exposure and to reapply it at least every 2 hours while spending time in the sun.
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Nourish Your Skin From The Inside
Keep taking your prenatal vitamin, which helps ensure youre getting enough of a variety of nutrients that support both your babys development and your skin health.
Eating plenty of vitamin C-rich foods like peppers, citrus and strawberries may also make your skin less subject to stretch marks. Vitamin C promotes collagen and tissue production, which helps keep skin strong and elastic.
While its far from proven to work, getting enough vitamin D in your diet may also help with stretch marks, and it certainly cant hurt. Load up on fatty fish, fortified dairy or dairy substitutes, and eggs, all of which are chock full of vitamin D, plus other pregnancy-friendly vitamins and nutrients .
Laser Stretch Mark Removal
The most effective way to minimize the appearance of stretch marks is with cosmetic lasers. Depending on the severity of the stretch marks, different or multiple types of lasers may be necessary.
Fractional lasers are the typical approach, used to fade marks and texture. While pulse dye lasers can help remove red colouration from darker stretch marks.
Laser stretch mark removal is non-invasive and can show visible improvements even after a single session. They are, however, not recommended during pregnancy.
This recommendation is not strictly a safety concern.
Your body will continue to adjust during pregnancy and more stretch marks could appear. That means you may undo the work the lasers have done if you get the procedure too soon. As well, since the marks begin to fade postpartum, waiting until after means fewer treatments and better results.
All-in-all, waiting helps you stay safe, save cash, and keep your skin looking its best.
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Treat The Stretch Marks At Its Early Stage
The fresh stretch marks can be identified due to their pinkish red or purple colour. At this stage, the stretch marks can be treated easily since they are fresh and they might even disappear when handled carefully. When these stretch marks turn white, it means they have been there since long and they do not disappear completely but they become lighter in the long run.
How To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks With Laser Removal
Laser treatments are considered the most effective for stretch mark removal, and theres a good reason why: They force healing. Doctors use a microfine laser to reach deep into the skins sublayers. This kick-starts the bodys natural healing process, removing damaged tissue and rebuilding it using fresh collagenand revealing fresh, smooth skin in the process. That collagen will improve both skin texture and skin color, making stretch marks slowly disappear.
While laser treatments are the best way to get rid of stretch marksor more accurately, to help them fadeneither doctor relies on laser removal treatment alone. Fractional resurfacing lasers with microneedling can build collagen and improve the texture of skin, making it a little thicker, MacGregor says. Stretch marks will never resolve , but they will be less noticeable if the color and texture are blended to look more similar to the surrounding skin.
Imber adds: The most effective treatment we use is the use of platelet-rich plasma with microneedling or just injecting PRP directly into the area. As Imber explains, PRP is a high concentration of cellular elements from your own blood that promote cell growth, tissue repair and collagen production.
As for anything more serious, like surgery? While Imber isnt against the idea entirely, he does note that surgery will inevitably lead to additional scars, small as they may be. So keep that in mind while deciding which stretch mark removal route is best for you.
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When Do They Start Developing
Stretch marks tend to appear more during the third trimester, although they can start in the first trimester. Your breasts are typically the first things which start to grow at a somewhat alarming rate. So, you may first notice them developing in the breasts.
When the stomach starts to grow, stretch marks can also start to appear pretty quickly. However, you will typically notice theyre worse near to the end of the pregnancy.
When To Seek A Dermatologists Expertise
Stretch mark treatments that you can buy at a store or online can be expensive. If you find yourself spending a lot of time and money without getting any results, seeing a board-certified dermatologist can be helpful.
The in-office procedures have proven more effective than the creams, lotions, and gels. Dermatologists can also tell you about any new product or procedure that may help.
Are all dermatologists board certified?
No. See what it takes to become board certified.
ImagesImage 1 used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
ReferencesHague A and Bayat A. Therapeutic targets in the management of striae distensae: A systematic review. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 77:559-68.
Stier MF and Hirsch RJ. Rejuvenation of scars and striae. In: Hirsch RJ, et al. Aesthetic rejuvenation. McGraw Hill Medical, China, 2009:224-9.
UdDin S, McGeorge D, et al. Topical management of striae distensae : prevention and therapy of striae rubrae and albae. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2016 30: 21122.
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Ice Stretch Marks To Reduce Inflammation
As you know by now, stretch marks are tiny scars that form as your skin stretches. As they heal, these tiny scars can cause inflammation and swelling, which can make stretch marks look even worse. Rubbing ice on stretch-marked skin can help relieve and reduce this swelling and inflammation.
A reusable ice pack that is stored in the freezer makes it quick and easy to apply cold whenever the opportunity presents itself. If you dont have an ice pack, try putting some ice cubes in a Ziploc bag.
Wrap the cold pack in a dish towel or pillow case so that the ice doesnt come directly in contact with your skin. Start with your belly. Hold it on your skin for up to ten minutes, then move to your thigh and hold the cold pack on your skin for another ten minutes. Repeat this process for all areas of your body that have stretch marks.
How Should You Sleep In Early Pregnancy
Pregnancy hip stretches
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Best Overall: Burt’s Bees Mama Belly Butter With Shea Butter And Vitamin E
Thick texture takes time to rub in
Requires three applications a day to see results
For something sensual and hard-working, check out Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks. Another Amazons Choice product, this crowd favorite is made with a special skin-strengthening formula thats safe for all skin types and has the results to back it up. Let the vitamin E work its magic while you enjoy a massage that smells great, thanks to shea butter and cocoa extracts.
Formula Type: Lotion | Quantity: 8.5 oz
Is There A Way To Eliminate Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
Pregnancy and stretch marks go hand in glove. Of a fact, women who are expectant ranks the first category of people who are likely to have stretch marks, than any other person.
This is because the thread responsible for keeping the body firm, also known as fibres are stretched more than necessary, due to the bulging state of the tummy. And as a result of this, stretch marks form on the belly and other parts of the body that is increasing in size.
This is not to say that there are no ways to prevent having stretch marks during pregnancy. Far from it, despite the stretch marks tendencies in pregnant women, some women dont have it, that is they find ways to prevent their skin from reacting to the growth happening in their bodies.
So if you are an expectant mother who is scared and bothered about having stretch marks during and after pregnancy, you dont have to worry about it. This article has got your back, and we would be sharing three tips through which you can prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, and after you deliver your bundle of joy remove pregnancy stretch marks, easily.
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Other Skin Changes During Pregnancy
- The areola, or area around your nipples, may darken in the second trimester of pregnancy.
- A dark line on the skin between your navel and your pubic area may appear. Linea nigra fades after pregnancy.
- Dark patches may develop on your face. This is known as the “mask of pregnancy,” or chloasma, and it usually fades after delivery.
These skin pigment changes are not totally understood. It is thought that high levels of pregnancy hormones cause the pigment-producing cells in the skin to make more pigment.footnote 1 To help keep these skin changes from being too obvious, use sunscreen and avoid sun exposure.
Some women develop redness on the palms of the hands during pregnancy. Sometimes the red areas are also itchy. Palmar erythema is thought to be caused by increased levels of estrogen during pregnancy. The problem is not serious and usually disappears shortly after delivery.
Tiny, red elevated areas on the face, neck, chest, and arms affect some women during pregnancy. Like palmar erythema, angiomas are not serious and usually go away after pregnancy.
Other normal skin changes that occur during pregnancy include blotchy skin and acne. Acne may either increase or clear up during pregnancy.