What Are Stretch Marks?
As we all know, stretch marks mostly occur at the time of pregnancy. With all the stretching/tearing in the body, it is quite evident. But pregnancy is of course not the only reason for stretch marks.
There are a variety of reasons stretch marks occur, for instance, gyming, leading your way to obesity, ergo, gaining weight, growing spurts A.K.A, the growing age for teenagers resulting in height and growth increase. All these reasons lead to stretch marks because let’s face it, that is a lot of stretching we doing!
Stretch marks vary in color, from purple to light pink to grey or faded hue. They appear either on your stomach, muscles, hips, breasts, or anything that increases in size and causes the skin to stretch.
Stretch marks aren’t harmful in any sense but are the outcome of body changes. What we do tend to miss out on is, stretch marks are the outcomes of natural body functions except for obesity. What I’m trying to say is stretch marks disappear just as naturally as they come or at least most of the time!
If they don’t go naturally, seldom cases but can, of course, be avoided or reduced in certain ways which we are going to talk about in this topic ahead. This was brief as to what stretch marks are, and how they are caused. In this topic, we will particularly focus on stretch marks that are caused while pregnancy.
HOW TO PREVENT STRETCH MARKS?
Stretch Marks In Pregnancy
Our abdomen expands beyond our thinking when we’re pregnant. No kidding we grow like a balloon and it is no joke, we are growing a new baby inside of us! In pregnancy, it is not just our stomach that grows big but almost everything.
We are eating double our diet because come on we need to keep our bodies fit to support the baby and the big balloon. Now, pregnancy stretch marks are too much because there are two factors behind it, first, pregnancy, duh, and second “gaining weight”!
These first, occur when we are 6-7 months pregnant. It is when we actually start growing more than our body hoped for, haha! Now, it is not about how we treat them once they occur but we have to be prepared long back, since the very start! Shall we begin our journey to hoo-lah, ho-lah!
Before we start, one more thing, pregnancy can also be caused due to genetics. So, chances are if your mother-to-mother-to-mother-to-mother had it, so will you! But we can cure it. No big-a deal!
Preparing for pregnancy stretch marks involves taking proactive steps to keep your skin healthy and moisturized, which may reduce the severity of stretch marks or help prevent them altogether. While it’s important to note that genetics and individual factors play a role in the development of stretch marks, the following tips can help you prepare and care for your skin during pregnancy:
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin hydrated and supports its elasticity. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
- Maintain a Balanced Diet: A well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and nutrients can contribute to skin health. Include foods high in vitamins C, E, A, and zinc, as they promote healthy skin and collagen production.
- Exercise Regularly: Engaging in gentle, pregnancy-safe exercises can improve blood circulation and promote healthy skin. Consult with your healthcare provider for suitable exercises during pregnancy.
- Use Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products: Choose gentle, pregnancy-safe skincare products to keep your skin clean and moisturized. Avoid products containing harsh chemicals or retinoids, as they may not be safe during pregnancy.
- Moisturize Regularly: Applying a moisturizer or oil to your belly, hips, breasts, and other stretching-prone areas can help keep the skin hydrated and supple. Coconut oil, shea butter, almond oil, and cocoa butter are some natural options to consider.
- Avoid Rapid Weight Gain: Gradual and steady weight gain during pregnancy can help minimize the stretching of the skin and reduce the likelihood of developing severe stretch marks.
- Wear Comfortable Clothing: Avoid wearing tight or restrictive clothing that may put additional pressure on your skin. Opt for loose, breathable clothing to allow your skin to stretch comfortably.
- Protect Your Skin from the Sun: When spending time outdoors, use pregnancy-safe sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Sun exposure can worsen the appearance of stretch marks.
- Stay Positive and Embrace Changes: Pregnancy is a unique journey, and some physical changes, including stretch marks, are entirely normal. Embrace these changes as a sign of the incredible experience of growing a new life.
2. Coconut Oil Pregnancy Stretch Marks
Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that is believed to help prevent pregnancy stretch marks due to its unique properties. While it cannot completely guarantee prevention, many women find it beneficial for their skin during pregnancy. Here’s how coconut oil may contribute to reducing the appearance of stretch marks:
- Hydration: One of the main reasons coconut oil is used for preventing stretch marks is its ability to hydrate the skin. When the skin is well-hydrated, it becomes more elastic and flexible, which can potentially reduce the likelihood of developing stretch marks as the skin stretches during pregnancy.
- Rich in Nutrients: Coconut oil contains essential fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants that nourish the skin. These nutrients can help maintain skin health and support its natural elasticity, potentially reducing the severity of stretch marks.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe and calm the skin. This may reduce the irritation and redness associated with stretch marks.
- Collagen Production: Some studies suggest that coconut oil may aid in collagen production. Collagen is a protein that helps maintain skin structure and elasticity, and promoting its production could potentially assist in preventing stretch marks.
How to use coconut oil for preventing pregnancy stretch marks, follow these steps.
Choose High-Quality Coconut Oil: Look for organic, unrefined, and cold-pressed coconut oil. These types are less processed and retain more of their beneficial properties.
- Patch Test: Before applying coconut oil to a larger area, do a patch test on a small portion of your skin to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions or allergies.
- Apply Regularly: Massage a small amount of coconut oil onto your belly, hips, breasts, and any other areas prone to stretch marks, at least once or twice daily. Applying it after a warm shower when your skin is slightly damp can enhance absorption.
- Combine with Other Practices: While coconut oil may be helpful, it’s essential to combine its use with other preventive measures, such as maintaining a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and doing gentle pregnancy-safe exercises.
We tend to miss out on our diet and weaken our skin’s quality and that leads us to many problems, one of them is stretch marks. So start nourishing from the inside. The outer cover might break away but if you are strong from the inside, no one can touch you, girl!
Look for a diet that nourishes your skin. Mostly we cover it with our normal pregnancy diet but still keep a note if you are forgetting to add something. The list must be Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and lots of protein. Vitamin C is a great source of Collagen. And Protein is a very good source of Elastic fiber in our skins.
Hearing it can be a real shocker considering how ironic it sounds whilst pregnancy at hand. But it is actually true and quite possible. Balancing weight is very much important in pregnancy. Obesity is never an answer to any healthy cell lines. But many a time, we tend to ignore it with the thought process that it doesn’t matter. It matters, it matters a lot.
A healthy, non-obese body is good for the baby and yourself, and given the benefits of it playing a major role in treating stretch marks. I say it’s a win-win situation. Now, how to turn it into reality. It can be hard to tell if you are obese or not for obvious reasons. But there is a weighted call for pregnancy in regulation to your body.
Visit your gynecologist right away, and talk about your body and weight limit. With that done, ask for a healthy diet plan, too. Your gynecologist knows your body way better than me and they can give you a better-planned diet that would support your body, your baby, your pregnancy, and your forthcoming postpartum.
2. Devil’s arrival.
It’s a dramatic phrase for stating the arrival of Stretch marks. Please don’t mind me. As I mentioned above, stretch marks first show up in the 6th-7th month of pregnancy. Studies show stretch marks can be cured better when fresh. It’s like killing cancer in the starting stage. These can be very nasty when it comes to leaving like acne.
Resilient! Once treated fresh, they almost fade back to normal. It can be hard to remove stretch marks once they have lived quite a few months but depending on the skin type and genetic history, we can always give it a shot.
There are a number of ways to get rid of Stretch marks but first, you need to map down your body/skin type. It’s simple, sit down with your gynecologist and dermatologist and let them tell you what is good and not in anyways harmful for you or your baby!
3. Laser For Pregnancy Stretch Marks
Laser treatment helps your body to produce collagen and elastin, the building elements for the skin. An increase in collagen and elastin helps your skin to heal faster. Consult your gynecologist and Dermatologist before getting one. Ask them if it is completely safe for you and the baby.
Stretch marks therapy includes cream formulas that heal cracked/stretched skin. There are multiple good products out there for stretch marks. Best known Bio-oil, Mederma Therapy, etc.
One highly effective product is Retinoid cream. Retinoid is a derivative of Vitamin A and functions in the making of Collagen. Disclaimer: Retinoid is proven very dangerous to a pregnant woman. It is safe to say use once you have the baby. Don’t ever use it during pregnancy.
These treatments can be very expensive. With this statement, I would like to enlighten the fact that stretch marks tend to go naturally with time, and depending on your skin type they can also stay forever. Either one is equally possible. So spend carefully.
4. Pregnancy Stretch Mark Removal Surgery
As of my last update in September 2021, there is no specific surgery that can completely remove pregnancy stretch marks. Pregnancy stretch marks, also known as striae gravidarum, are a common result of skin stretching during pregnancy. They appear as long, narrow streaks on the skin and can vary in color and texture.
While there are various treatments and procedures that claim to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, it’s important to note that complete removal is often not possible. Some of the treatments that may be suggested by dermatologists or plastic surgeons include:
- Topical Treatments: There are creams, lotions, and oils available that claim to fade stretch marks. These products often contain ingredients like retinoids, hyaluronic acid, or vitamin C, which can help improve the skin’s appearance and texture.
- Laser Therapy: Laser treatments, such as fractional laser therapy, can stimulate collagen production and improve the color and texture of stretch marks. However, multiple sessions may be required, and results vary from person to person.
- Microdermabrasion: This procedure involves gently exfoliating the skin’s outer layer, which may help in reducing the appearance of stretch marks over time.
- Chemical Peels: A chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layer, which can lead to improved skin texture and tone. However, it’s essential to use pregnancy-safe chemical peels.
- Microneedling: This procedure uses tiny needles to create controlled micro-injuries in the skin, promoting collagen production and potentially improving the appearance of stretch marks.
Some of the mothers cherish these and I’m not even stretching it. Pun intended. My son does all the gym-y things and I saw him being proud of his stretch marks on his chest and shoulder area. So maybe you can find the fun and pride in that or you can get it removed. You are beautiful either way with your choice.
We tried to enlighten as much as we could regarding the topic. If you have any experience or ideas or ways that cured your stretch marks, let us know in the comment section down below. Until then,