Beauty and Skin: Stretch Marks

If you have gone through pregnancy, you not only know the pains of labor, but the pains of new beauty concerns that accompany your changing body size. As a new mom, unwanted stretch marks are the last thing you want to be worrying about. Luckily, there are many at-home stretch mark treatments to help remove those stretch marks and maintain your skin’s natural beauty.

Stretch marks can leave permanent marks on the skin in some women. In other cases, stretch marks may fade over time or disappear altogether. Whatever the case, your best option in getting rid of stretch marks is by preventing them altogether, whether through diet and exercise or stretch mark home remedies. But what causes stretch marks? And how can stretch marks be avoided?

What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are the pink, reddish, or brown streaks that most commonly appear on the skin of the abdomen, breasts, buttocks, and thighs of a woman during and after pregnancy. Stretch marks usually appear on the skin during periods of rapid growth such as the weight gain and weight loss associated with pregnancy. This is because your skin must stretch to accommodate your increased size and body shape.

When your skin’s elasticity reaches its natural limit, the production of collagen is disrupted, causing the inner connective fibers of the skin to break. This is what gives the appearance of stretch marks on the skin’s surface.

Who Gets Stretch Marks?

Approximately 80% of pregnant women experience stretch marks as a result of the weight loss and weight gain associated with pregnancy. However, some women are more likely to get stretch marks than others. Factors that contribute to the appearance of stretch marks on a woman’s skin include:

  • Heredity . If your mother and sisters have had stretch marks during pregnancy, your best bet is to take precautions to prevent stretch marks
  • Skin Color. If you have darker skin, you are less likely to develop noticeable stretch marks, whereas women with fair skin tend to get noticeable pink and reddish marks
  • Lack of Exercise. Exercising during pregnancy keeps your skin and body toned, which can prevent stretch marks
  • Scratching. During pregnancy, stretched skin can become irritated, but scratching these areas will only increase the appearance of stretch marks

Preventing Stretch Marks

There are several recommendations for preventing stretch marks in pregnant women. Some of the ways you can prevent stretch marks include:

  • Drinking water. Keep yourself well hydrated during pregnancy to enhance the elasticity of your skin
  • Exercise. Maintain a healthy exercise routine which will not only keep you fit, but will also tone your skin and keep it free of toxins
  • Moisturize. As soon as stretch marks begin to appear, apply a moisturizer containing specific ingredients to get rid of stretch marks such as olive oil or cocoa butter. These will help repair collagen and elastin growth in your skin

    How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks

    If you already have stretch marks, there are several methods that can help you remove them.

    Some women turn to the more extreme option of surgically removing stretch marks by laser surgery. While this treatment will reduce the appearance of stretch marks, laser surgery will not completely remove stretch marks from the skin.

    A new treatment of stretch marks involves the use of chemical compounds called retinoids (retin a). However, mothers who are breastfeeding should avoid this treatment, as it may cause the excretion of chemicals through breast milk.

    Home Remedies to Remove Stretch Marks

    The safest and most convenient stretch marks treatments are natural remedies.

    Massaging stretch marks with oils is one way to try and remove stretch marks. Try using olive oil, flaxseed oil, vitamin E oil or cod liver oil.

    When looking for a moisturizing lotion, choose one containing cocoa butter, wheat germ oil, or lanolin, which specifically target factors that contribute to the appearance of stretch marks.

    Some women swear by egg whites and egg white powder to reduce stretch marks. Others swear by almond oil, castor oil, and vitamin e caplets.

    Whichever topical treatment you choose as your remedy for stretch marks, your best bet is to apply it directly on the skin after a shower in order to improve the appearance of the skin.