Nothing is more special for a woman than being pregnant. You give birth to a new life inside you. However, pregnancy brings with it millions of changes that a woman’s body has to go through. Stretch marks are one such change that may not appeal to all women. These “white tiger stripes” happen with almost 90% of the women during pregnancy due to excessive stretching of the skin. Some women wear them confidently while others wish to reduce their appearance due to cosmetic issues. However, these stretch marks are preventable, or at least you can minimize their impact. If you are wondering how you can reduce their appearance, then you are in the right place. This article will answer all your questions and give pointers on how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Let’s get to the point and finally know how to reduce stretch marks!
What Are Pregnancy Stretch Marks & What Causes Them?
Pregnancy stretch marks are narrow streaks that appear on the surface of the skin. They are the most common consequences of pregnancy.
A woman’s body undergoes additional hormonal changes during pregnancy. The hormones reduce the production of collagen in the skin and make it vulnerable to stretch marks. These marks do not represent a medical condition and happen with 75-90% of pregnant women. They often appear in late pregnancy when the skin stretches to accommodate the growing uterus and the baby. Your belly grows faster than your skin can keep up with causing the skin fibers to break and therefore, stretch marks. Most often, women experience stretch marks in their second or third trimester.
Stretch marks in pregnancy usually appear on the abdomen, buttocks, upper arms, upper thighs, and breasts. These are different for each woman. They can be red, purple, brown, or pink, depending on the skin color. They will be more visible if you have fair skin. The first sign of stretch marks is the itchiness around an area where they are likely to appear. They usually appear due to one of the following reasons:
- If your mother or any other family member has experienced them during pregnancy, you are most likely to get them. The marks are running in your family’s genes.
- Putting on weight too quickly during pregnancy, or if you are expecting twins, results in excessive stretching of the skin than normal. This leads to stretch marks.
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy soften the skin’s fiber; make it more susceptible to break which causes stretch marks.
- Fair-skinned women are more prone to stretch marks than darker-skinned. Also, the marks are less visible on dark skin.
How to Reduce Stretch Marks during Pregnancy
Frankly, you cannot prevent stretch marks in pregnancy completely. The most powerful way and the answer to “how to reduce stretch marks” are to treat them even before they appear.
It is rightly said “prevention is better than cure” and for stretch marks, we cannot agree more than this. No miracle cream will help you but there are ways by which you can either prevent them or at least reduce their appearance. Find some tips that you can practice to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy:
- Moisturize your skin twice daily. Applying some cocoa butter, moisturizing oil or a daily lotion will do all the good.
- Vitamin C helps in skin toning, improving skin’s elasticity, and formation of skin collagen and thus, preventing stretch marks. Eat plenty of Vitamin C rich foods including citrus fruits, tomatoes, kiwi fruit, potatoes, green and red peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, and cantaloupe.
- Track your weight gain during pregnancy. Try to put on your extra pounds slowly and gradually. Do not simply eat for two. Ask your gynaecologist for the recommended calorie intake and weight gain.
- Keep yourself hydrated and drink plenty of water or other fluids like cucumber water, lemon water, or fruit juices. Keeping hydrated inside out helps to treat skin problems and keeps stretch marks in pregnancy at bay.
- Apply a specially formulated stretch marks cream or oil. Several such products are available in the market that are not only effective on stretch marks but also make your skin soft and supple. However, these products should be made from natural ingredients so you can use them during your pregnancy without any worry. They improve the skin’s elasticity making it stretchable and help prevent the marks. These also help in minimizing the appearance of existing marks. We have listed the best all-natural oils for stretch marks in India that you can easily use to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
- Massage your skin. While applying your moisturizers or stretch marks cream/oil, always massage it at least for 10 minutes. This results in deep penetration of the products into the skin, making the skin extremely soft and shiny. Massage will help in breaking the stretch marks and also improves blood flow which improves the skin texture.
- Exfoliate once a week. Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells and allows the moisturizers or oils that you use to seep in the skin layers. The process helps in the formation of new skin cells which keeps your skin soft and stretch mark free.
- Stay as much active as possible during and after your pregnancy. This will help you to gain weight as per the recommendations without excessive skin stretching and later lose the baby weight easily. Exercising tones the body and tightens the loose stretch-marked skin.
- If nothing works for you and your stretch marks are adamant to go away, then you can opt for a laser treatment. The treatment is effective but quite costly. Microneedling treatment is also available to generate skin collagen and tissues. But do consider the pros and cons of these methods before you opt for them. The latter treatment is considered less likely to cause hyperpigmentation of the skin than the former one.
- Eat a healthy and rich skin-nourishing diet. Your diet should be packed with antioxidant foods such as spinach, or carrots, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, C, D, and A enriched, and includes plenty of proteins.
- Apply sunscreen if you are constantly exposed to the sun or whenever you step out of the house. Consider buying a sunblock with SPF 15 or higher.
- Be patient with all the treatments you take for your stretch marks. Whether you apply a stretch marks cream/oil or undergo an invasive treatment, do not expect the results immediately. You should know that stretch marks do not disappear overnight.
Stretch marks are just one of the results of the miraculous process of pregnancy. Follow these tips on how you can prevent pregnancy stretch marks or use a stretch marks oil or stretch marks cream. But always remember to be patient and love and accept yourself the way you are. You are beautiful and so is the life growing inside you. Bringing that tiny creature to the work is not easy after all!