Most Women Develop a Stretch Mark During Pregnancy

A lot of women have stretch marks, and everyone wants to know how to get rid of them for smoother skin without the embarrassment. Women who notice a stretch mark during pregnancy can be sure that where there is one, more will follow. But there are steps to take to prevent the scarring and easy ways to diminish the appearance of the marks.

Stretch marks are a type of scarring that takes places due to the changing shape of our bodies. It is typically for younger children and teenagers to develop stretch marks during growth spurts when their skin can’t keep up with the rapid growth of the body. These scars can look different on each person depending on skin color and how long the person has had the stretch marks. Most stretch marks are a pinkish, brown, or reddish brown color when they first form, and the color can fade as time passes to a silver color. Although the scars fade naturally, the silver color can have a sheen to it, making the stretch marks more noticeable, especially in the sun.

Many women will spot a stretch mark during pregnancy, even as early as the first trimester. A stretch mark during pregnancy doesn’t look like a typical scar. They can be several inches long with an irregular, jagged shape. Most stretch marks have a sunken appearance, though more severe scarring can occur in which the scar tissue may be raised above the skin.

Causes of stretch mark during pregnancy

Most doctors will tell you that there are two causes for a stretch mark during pregnancy to appear. The first is the most obvious. The bellies of pregnant women expand rapidly to accommodate the growing fetus, which means that the skin must expand as well. However, the process can happen quickly, in which case the skin does not have enough time to adapt to the expanding abdomen. Therefore, the skin tears while contracting and expanding, causes the deep marks to appear. Sudden weight gain is a common cause of a stretch mark during pregnancy.

The second reason you’ve noticed a stretch mark during pregnancy is because your mom had them, too. According to University of Miami Cosmetic Center Director Leslie Baumann, MD, genetics can factor into whether stretch marks appear or not. If the other women in your family had a stretch mark during pregnancy, you’re likely to develop the marks as well.

Areas that are commonly affected by stretch mark during pregnancy include the abdomen, hips, thighs, waist, lower back and breasts, as these are the places that fat is stored.

How to prevent stretch mark during pregnancy

Since a stretch mark during pregnancy is caused by the over-stretching of the skin, you can help limit the amount of scarring you experience by hydrating your skin a few times a day. Keeping your skin moisturized will allow it to be more elastic than dry skin, which can prevent some tearing. Cocoa butter can be used at least twice a day to hydrate skin as well as minimize the appearance of any existing stretch mark during pregnancy.

Eating for two can be a little overwhelming. Shortly after you finish a meal, the baby is telling you to eat more, which can cause irritability, anxiety, and the whole spectrum of emotions, as well as a stretch mark during pregnancy. Cravings can be your downfall quickly. While it’s better to give in to cravings, keep the portion sizes small and supplement the sugary and salty snacks with some healthy options. By controlling your diet, you’ll help your baby stay healthy in the womb while keeping your weight gain under control and limiting the number of stretch mark during pregnancy. By providing your growing baby with healthy alternatives, you can help mold the type of diet your child will follow when it gets older, providing a good foundation for it’s lifelong diet.

Getting rid of stretch marks that appeared during pregnancy

As mentioned before, cocoa butter is extremely effective at reducing the appearance of any type of scar, especially stretch mark during pregnancy or ones that are noticeable after the pregnancy. Cocoa butter helps eliminate discoloration while smoothing skin so that the stretch marks are more even with the skin’s surface. Bio-Oil, a moisturizing oil, is another common product used to reduce the appearance of a stretch mark during pregnancy and other types of scars. It is recommended for dehydrated and aging skin as well. The product’s website states that it is made from plant extracts, vitamins, and PurCellin Oil, but that the product is not greasy and easily absorbs into the skin.

Wheat germ oil is a rumored solution to stretch mark during pregnancy, especially in the early formation of the scarring. While conclusive results are hard to come by, many people swear by the use of wheat germ oil early in the pregnancy to prevent and eliminate scarring.

One way to treat a stretch mark during pregnancy is to raise the scar to the surface of the surrounding skin. Collagen injections do just that while smoothing the skin, and glycolic acid can be used to promote collagen production in the scarring area. These injections can be administered by your doctor or dermatologist. In addition to taking glycolic acid, a Vitamin C supplement can help increase your body’s collagen production, as well as the many other health benefits of Vitamin C.

Other beauty and skin products abound for getting rid of a stretch mark during pregnancy. It’s easy for a product’s manufacturer to make claims on the box, so don’t fall into the trap of believing everything you read. Repair creams and miracle products generally don’t provide the promised results. And because any corrective cream, oil, vitamin, or moisturizer will take time to produce results, a lot of time can be wasted on the wrong product, meaning a stretch mark during pregnancy can stay with you for a long time. When buying a product you haven’t used before, always check the ingredients. You want to make sure that anything you use will not cause an allergic reaction, and you don’t want to use products with ingredients that may affect your baby. Always check with your doctor before trying any new or unregulated products, and when trying a product for the first time, test it out on a small patch of skin.

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