Pregnancy stretch marks are striated indentations in the skin that appear during and after pregnancy. These are generally red, pink, purple, or brown in colour and mostly develop on the upper arms, breasts, abdomen, thighs, and buttocks.
When Do Stretch Marks Start Appearing?
There is no fixed time period behind when stretch marks appear during pregnancy as it differs among individuals. However, these marks usually appear in the later stages of pregnancy when the skin stretches due to weight gain and also to accommodate the growing foetus in the uterus. Some pregnant women get them during the second semester, some may get them during the last couple of weeks of the third semester, while still others may get none at all.
7 Possible Causes Of Stretch Marks
1. Gaining Weight
One of the primary factors behind stretch marks is putting on weight. If you are carrying more than one foetus, there is a higher scope of you getting more stretch marks. And these stubborn marks generally become more visible when you start losing weight post-pregnancy, irrespective of the types of stretch marks during pregnancy.
2. Quick Growth During Adolescence
Hormone changes that are rampant during adolescence lead to the skin becoming more fragile and more prone to stretching.
3. Applying Certain Ointments
The application of certain medications like corticosteroids cause the thinning of the skin if they’re used too frequently and for a long period of time. Prolonged application of such ointments may lead to permanent stretch marks.
4. Certain Genetic Disorders
Some genetic disorders like Cushing’s syndrome or Marfan syndrome can also cause stretching of the skin.
5. Family History
Your family history plays an integral role in defining whether you’ll get stretch marks and also the extent of it. If your mother has had stretch marks during pregnancy, you too are more likely to get them.
6. Fair Skin
Your fair skin may make your stretch marks more easily visible. This is because the reddish colour of the marks are in contrast with your fair skin. The same cannot be said about darker skin.
7. Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy
The secreation of the chief pregnancy hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, causes widespread changs in a woman’s body. One of this changes is making your skin thinner. This causes your skin to become more susceptible to developing stretch marks.
6 Natural Ways To Reduce The Risk Of Getting Pregnancy Stretch Marks
There is no way to get rid of these stretch marks during pregnancy. However, there are ways to reduce the risk of getting them. Let’s discuss some natural ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy here below:
- Follow a healthy pregnancy diet to ensure that your weight increases gradually and not suddenly. Talk to a nutritionist who can chart out a healthy diet plan for you.
- Hydrate yourself throughout the day.
- Include skin-loving foods in your daily diet. These include lentils, yoghurt, and oxidant-enriched veggies like carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes. Alos, incorporate foods that are rich in the goodness of vitamin E like seeds, nuts, and broccoli, along with plenty of protein.
- Follow your pregnancy exercise routine as instructed.
- Keep away from exposure to the sun as much as possible.
- Wear a well-fitted bra that gives you good support.
5 Ways To Reduce The Appearance Of Stretch Marks After Pregnancy
1. Watch Your Weight
Stretch marks are likely to develop when you’ve lost a lot of weight post-childbirth. Your skin is back to its original state after a long period of being overweight, thus, giving rise to stretch marks. So, make sure you’re losing the extra weight gradually and not all of a sudden.
2. Keep Yourself Hydrated
Hydrating yourself throughout the day is expected to keep your skin soft and supple. And stretch marks appear on dry skin. And “hydrated” does not mean any beverage. It refers to water and avoiding aerated beverages and caffeinated beverages like coffee. Because caffeinated beverages increase the risk of developing stretch marks after pregnancy. If you’re having even one cup of coffee, ensure you’re balancing it with lots of water, herbal tea, and plenty of caffeine-free beverages.
3. Include Vitamin C In Your Diet
Include enough foods that are known to nourish your skin and contribute to its good health. The secret is to incorporate fruits and vegetables in every available colour to make the most of the nutrients that each of these colours offer. Vitamin C foods like oranges and lemons are rich in collagen that reduces wrinkles and even prevents stretch marks.
4. Include Vitamin D In Your Diet
Sources like Vitamin D like sun exposure, dairy products, cereal, bread, and egg yolk might reduce stretch marks. If you’re curious about – “how to get rid of stretch marks during pregnancy?” – this is one remedy you can try.
5. Include Zinc In Your Diet
Zinc is closely associated with reducing inflammation and healing wounds. Including sufficient quantities of zinc-rich foods in your diet like fish and nuts may help you with overall skin health.
5 Treatment Options For Stretch Marks
Are you wondering – how to get rid of pregnancy stretch marks? The answer is – there is no way you can cure stretch marks, but there are definitely ways to reduce their appearance. Below are some of the most effective treatment options.
1. Dermat-Recommended Treatments
See a dermatologist to reduce the appearance of stretch marks through science-backed treatments. These include laser therapy, chemical peel, microdermabrasion, ultrasound, etc.
In laser therapy, the laser rays encourage collagen or elastin to grow in the skin. There are various types of laser therapy and your dermatologist is the best person to guide you through making the right choice for yourself. Glycolic acid and chemical peels, on the other hand, are effective in reducing the appearance of stretch marks, although are comparatively more expensive treatments.
2. Over-The-Counter Medications
You may invest in the plethora of creams, gels, lotions, and oils that are readily available over-the-counter (OTC) at pharmacies. Vitamin E, cocoa butter, and glycolic acid are often an integral part of these medications, since they are known for only only treating them but eliminate them entirely. Start using them as soon as the stretch marks start developing and remember to massage them at the appropriate places.
Pregnancy stretch marks are a part and parcel of life, especially after pregnancy. However, worry not, because there are various steps you can take to reduce its appearance, like we discussed earlier in the article. So, make use of them and you are likely to reduce the appearance of your stretch marks to a great extent.
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