Though there is no known cure to stop the formation of stretch marks as your skin is being stretched to its limit during pregnancy, there are a few things that you can do to slow down or limit their formation:
- Moisturize skin: Moisturizing your skin will make it more flexible and pliable and will increase its stretch level. Dry skin will become taut while moist skin will provide more stretch. Cocoa butter is one of the best moisturizers and is safe to use. You can also use any vitamin E cream which can definitely be your skin’s best friend. These moisturizers will penetrate through the skin layers and strengthen your dermis skin layer.
- Eat healthy: You know that your skin gets its food from your body. A pregnant woman might be subject to some vitamins and minerals deficiencies which must be treated under the doctor’s supervision. Maintaining a balanced diet will help your skin stay healthy during the rapid and drastic changes it faces during pregnancy. Eating foods rich in Vitamin E and C will replenish your skin, keeping it healthy and toned.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking 10 to 12 glasses of water per day will keep your skin hydrated. Hydrated skin is more elastic while dehydrated skin is more prone to “breakage”. Avoid tea and coffee as they are dehydrating.
- Oil massages: Olive oil is super rich in Vitamin E, A and D and is a great oil to use during massages. Massaging your skin will increase the blood flow and strengthen blood circulation which will in turn, strengthen the dermis layer of the skin. Apply directly to the skin and massage over the area to let it sit on the skin for half an hour before you take a shower.
- Vitamin E Capsules: As we mentioned before, Vitamin E is your skin’s best friend and it is best used it in its simplest form. Extract the vitamin E oil from generic vitamin E capsules that you can get at any drug store and apply directly to your skin. The oil is a bit hard to absorb, so you can mix it with your regular moisturizer and it will just double the benefits you are getting.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera has been used as a remedy for irritated and dry skin for ages. It soothes and heals cracked skin. You can use the fresh gel by cutting the leaves of the plant. You can also mix this gel with vitamin E oil.
- Honey: Honey is another ancient skin remedy that has been used for thousands of years for its moisturizing and soothing effects. It heals and protects the skin with its antiseptic properties. Mix some honey with glycerin and rub it to your skin. Leave the mixture on until it dries. Rinse off with lukewarm water.
- Exfoliate: Regular exfoliation of the skin promotes skin regeneration and renewal. Use sugar mixed with olive oil to exfoliate every other day so that you don’t irritate your skin. You can also mix some sugar with olive oil and honey and leave the mixture on for 5 minutes after you are done exfoliating. This will also help with the discoloration.
- Use potato juice: Potatoes contain phytochemicals that are known to improve the skin texture and color. Cut a potato in two halves and rub one half over the skin. Let the juice sink in and leave it for 30 minutes or until it is dry. Wash the skin and moisturize it.
Stretch marks are a form of skin scarring that happens due to drastic weight increase or loss as they are caused by the excessive stretching or continuous tugging of the skin. They usually happen during the last trimester of pregnancy and many women find difficulty with dealing with them and treating them.
Pregnancy related stretch marks usually happen on the belly because it tremendously increases in size during pregnancy. They can also appear on the thighs, breasts, upper arms, buttocks, lower back and hips. They usually happen where a great amount of fat is stored. Stretch marks begin as red or purple lesions but as time passes by they begin to lose color until they are almost off white in color. When the skin is excessively stretched it loses its pliability and elasticity. Stretch marks happen in the dermis layer, which is the middle layer that helps skin to retain its shape. When this layer is strong enough, stretch marks don’t happen. They are not dangerous and don’t compromise the functioning of body organs but many women hate how they look and try to get them treated.
What causes pregnancy stretch marks?
With the rapid increase in weight that happens during the pregnancy, 90% of women suffer from stretch marks. Various factors affect the appearance of stretch marks. Lower maternal age increases the tendency of skin scarring. Teenager mothers have the high risk of forming them. The dermis tear and blue or purple streaks start to form on the skin. Some stretch marks disappear with time after delivery. Some remain and change color to stay as permanent discoloration.
There is a correlation between the increase in hormones that happens during pregnancy and the increase in water absorption in connective tissues, which makes them weaker and easier to break. We inherit some of our skin traits from our parents, so if your mother got stretch marks during her pregnancies, chances are you are getting them, too. Mothers who gain more than 33 pounds during their pregnancy are more prone to stretch marks and those who have dark skin are less likely to get them.
Getting stretch marks is sometimes unavoidable but being consistent about maintaining your skin health will definitely help you fight them off!