Stretch Marks in Pregnancy

What You Need to Know and How to Prevent Them

Stretch Marks in Pregnancy: What You Need to Know and How to Prevent Them

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are the streaks, scars, or colored lines that appear on distinct parts of the body and occur as a result of overstretched skin.

In medical terms, these marks are also called striae, striae distensae, striae atrophicans, and striae gravidarum.

Stretch marks are most commonly seen in pregnant women but can affect any person. They happen when a person’s skin is stretched and cannot return to its normal form after a period of intense growth. Most people get these marks after pregnancy, puberty, rapid weight gain, and weight loss.

 What are the common areas for stretch marks?

Stretch marks can appear on any part of your body. The following are the most commonly affected body areas for stretch marks:

  • Abdomen
  • Breast
  • Hips
  • Flank
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs

Common Areas for Stretch Marks in Pregnancy

Are stretch marks dangerous for your health?

Stretch marks are not harmful or painful. But people dislike them because they affect their physical appearance.

Generally, they do not cause any kind of medical problem. But in some cases, these marks can become a medical issue and need treatment.

Signs of Stretch Marks:

Your body will show some signs before the appearance of stretch marks. The skin can turns pinkish in color and you may feel thinner. Some people also experience irritation or itching in the affected area.

Initially, stretch marks develop as a red-purple, pinkish, or reddish-brown wrinkled. The wrinkles will flatten over time and turn into silvery colors.

How long stretch marks will take to go?

Your stretch marks will slowly become less noticeable over time but it can take years to completely fade away.

What causes Stretch Marks to Appear?

Stretch marks are caused by the sudden stretching of the skin which as a result of excessive or rapid growth. The following are the major causes of skin stretching:

  • Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the leading cause of stretch marks. Up to 50 percent of pregnant women show signs of these marks during or after their pregnancy. Pregnant women can get these marks on their belly, breast, hips, butt, and thighs.

What Causes Stretch Marks in Pregnancy

  • Puberty

Puberty is the growing process in which a child’s body develops and changes into an adult body. Stretch marks from puberty mostly affect young people.

  • Rapid weight gain

Rapid weight gain in a very short period stretches out the skin which causes stretch marks.

  • Certain medical conditions

Sometimes people get these marks because of medical conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome or Marfan syndrome.

  • Corticosteroid use

The use of corticosteroid creams and lotions for a long period of time reduces the levels of collagen, which supports the skin. This reduced amount of collagen makes it easier for the skin to stretch and as a result, your body can show these scars.

Risk factors involved with Stretch Marks:

Studies have shown that there might be some risk factors associated with the development of stretch marks. According to some research, we can say that stretch marks could happen because of some reasons that are as follows:

  • Family history of the affected person
  • Some chronic diseases
  • BMI (Body Mass Index) before the pregnancy
  • The birth weight of the child in pregnant women

Diagnosing Stretch Marks:

Stretch marks can be diagnosed easily after a complete skin examination and by observing the medical history of the affected person.

Treatment and Prevention of Stretch Marks:

Stretch marks may often fade gradually and become less noticeable. But it will take a long time. Pregnancy stretch marks become less noticeable at around 6 to 12 months after childbirth.

Treatment for Stretch Marks:

Treatment for the stretch marks is available but there is not much evidence that supports their effectiveness. Generally, creams, gels, lotions, oils, and topical treatments are used to get rid of stretch marks. Pregnant women can minimize the chance of getting these marks if they start to apply stretch marks creams from the first month of pregnancy.

Treatments for pregnancy stretch marks

There are also some cosmetic surgeries for the treatment of these marks. And makeup is frequently used on exposed areas of skin to conceal the stretch marks.

Prevention from Stretch Marks:

Stretch marks cannot be prevented. But still, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of their occurrence. The following steps will help you in this regard:

  • Eat a balanced diet

You should consume food rich in Vitamin A and C and Minerals like zinc and silicon. These vitamins and minerals are very important for healthy skin.

Eat a Balanced Diet to Avoid Stretch Marks

  • Maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight according to your age and height helps to prevent stretch marks.

  • Avoid yo-yo dieting

Try to avoid yo-yo dieting. Yo-Yo dieting is a weight cycling process in which a person loses weight then gains it and then again loses it.

  • Drink a lot of water

You should try to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water daily.

Best Products to Use:

Currently, there is no treatment available that can completely remove stretch marks. But the use of some products can help to make the scar less noticeable. This is the easiest and safest way to get rid of stretch marks.

Best Products for Stretch Marks

Many wonderful products are available in the market that consumers found effective. You can choose the products that include the following ingredients:

  • Vitamin A and E
  • Aloe Vera
  • Coconut oil
  • Argan oil
  • Peptides
  • Nut butter

We have compiled a list of some of the products that give promising results and seem amazingly effective for stretch marks.

The following are some best-reviewed products for stretch marks:

Mustela Stretch Mark Cream

Earth Mama Belly Butter

Glow Organic Belly Butter

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter

 Bio-Oil Skin Care Oil

Mommy Knows Best Stretch Mark Vanishing cream

Munchkin Milkmakers All-Natural Belly Balm

Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion For Stretch Marks

Final thoughts:

Stretch marks do occur.  They are definitely not pleasing, and with everything else that you're adjusting to in pregnancy, not welcome! However, there are steps you can take to minimize or reduce the effects and duration of their appearance.

All of the above-mentioned products work differently on different skin types. As with any topicals, you may have to  try a few of them to find the best one for your skin.

 

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