What are Pregnancy Stretch Marks??
Pregnancy stretch marks are caused when the dermis of the skin can no longer hold the weight of the fast growing skin during pregnancy. As the skin loses its elasticity and tightness, pregnancy stretch marks get prominent. However, they can be partially prevented and cured by natural remedies.
Stretch marks are the inevitable impact of pregnancy. They are also known as striae. Stretch marks may develop during and after pregnancy, in areas like abdomen, thighs, hips, and breasts. In simple words, all those body parts which lose its natural elasticity, due to drastic gain of weight, are prone to pregnancy stretch marks. Stretch marks are caused by the inability of the tissues to support the excessively expanded skin during pregnancy.
Causes of Pregnancy Stretch Marks :
- Rapid weight gain during pregnancy.
- Sudden loss of weight once the baby is delivered. The excessive fat, that was developed during pregnancy, takes the form of stretch marks.
- The elastin in the dermal layer of the skin, which is responsible for maintaining the tight shape of the body, tears during pregnancy.
- The decrease in the collagen level of the skin makes the skin lose its tight compact structure.
- The increase in the level of the pregnancy hormone, called glucocorticoid, hinders the formation of collagen and elastin fibers. This lack of support in the dermal layer, results to pregnancy stretch mark.
- The bumpy lines within the stretch marks are caused as a result of ruptured veins in the upper layer of the skin.
However, apart from these scientific causes, many other factors also determine the growth of stretch marks and their nature.
- It is genetic in 90% of the women.
- Many woman, who have been fat during their childhood, and got shrunk as they grew up, may witness heavy stretch marks after pregnancy.
- Expansion of skin in the last stage of pregnancy produces heavier stretch marks.
- Dehydration, lack of moisture and nourishment in the skin may intensify stretch marks.
- Harsh medications, like steroid, in the form of cortisone, can cause stretch marks as they hinder the formation of collagen.
- More melanin level in the skin reduces the susceptibility of stretch marks in the skin. Lack of it, means more tendency of stretch marks. Therefore, black women are less prone to stretch marks than white women.
Prevention of Stretch Marks :
There is not much you can do to completely prevent stretch marks. However, its intensity can be reduced by following a few easy steps right from the early period of pregnancy.
- Drink a lot of water to keep your skin well hydrated and moisturized. Water increases the elasticity of the skin.
- Moisturize your skin with good lotions, body oils and body creams to keep it supple. Try to get hold of lotions that contain hydroxy acid. This substance removes unwanted skin cells from its substance and keep it healthy.
- Eat healthy food and avoid junk food in order to avoid fat gain at any point of time; before, during or after pregnancy. Too much of caffeine and cigarettes smoking make the skin too dry. Eat all those food, which will keep your skin hydrated. Eat citrus fruits that have vitamin C, to improve the quality of your skin. Juices and vegetables reduce the tendency of weight gain, yet provide the skin with good moisture. One should also eat a good amount of meal comprising Vitamin C, E, zinc and silica. These support the formation of collagen in the body and help to prevent pregnancy stretch marks.
- Do not over eat. Though there is a myth that pregnant women eat for two the fact is, the extra intake of meal should from good nutritious good and not the junk one. The extra food should also not exceed more than 550 calories a day.
- All those who already had stretch marks from before, should not scratch it during pregnancy.
There are ways in which these marks can be cured after the term of pregnancy. Though not completely effective, these remedies can surely reduce the prominence of these marks.
The following latest and the advanced methods can however heal pregnancy stretch marks to 90%:
- Tretinoin Cream- This cream, derived from Vitamin A, is usually used to treat acne and pimples, but its advanced formula can treat stretch marks too. This cream boosts up cell division, resulting in an increase in cell turnover. The newly generated cells replace the old damaged cells very effectively.
- Laser Therapy- Of all the methods, the most effective way of treatment of pregnancy stretch marks is definitely cosmetics laser surgery. It can completely do away with the deepest and the oldest stretch marks. This technique involves removal, vaporizing and breaking down of damaged skin tissues.
- Retin A or Retinol- This cream is especially designed to cure new stretch marks which have occurred in less than one year. This is an ‘over the counter drug’, and is available without the prescription of a doctor. It heals the redness of the skin and stops it further chances of getting deepened and permanent. However, a few precautions have to be taken before applying Retin A.
The scientific methods may be more effective. However, they are time-consuming and expensive which not everyone can afford. For them, the traditional home remedies can work best. They have no side-effects are easily accessible in the home or markets.
- Massage your skin with olive oil or Vitamin E oil.
- Prepare a massage solution by mixing one ounce of almond or jojoba oil, with five to seven drops of lavender and chamomile.
- Apply cocoa butter of the stretch marks.
- Apply elastin cream on the stretch marks
- Mix half cup of virgin olive oil with quarter cup of aloe Vera gel. Add 6 vitamin E capsules and 4 vitamin A capsules, in liquidated form, into the mixture. Mix up all the ingredients well, and store it in a refrigerator. Apply this cold mixture regularly to get the best result.
- Exercise regularly to reduce weight and stay flexible
- Cellex C Serum and StriVectin-SD can also be used to reduce pregnancy stretch marks, in case, the rest of the remedies do not work out well.
Pregnancy stretch marks cannot be completely cured by natural means. However, the regular use of these natural alternatives can somehow reduce their prominence.