Stretch mark or striae is a fact of pregnancy for more than 80% of pregnant women. Pregnancy stretch marks appear mostly on the tummy, bum, thighs and breasts (the fleshier parts of the anatomy) and the color depends on the skin tone. Stretch marks are thin pinkish, reddish or purplish streaks on light skins and brownish lines on darker skins. Usually pregnancy stretch marks appear in the second half of pregnancy when your expansion becomes more obvious.
What Causes Pregnancy Stretch Marks..
The hormone relaxin causes collagen levels in skin fibers to drop and this makes skin more prone to developing these lines. The development of pregnancy stretch marks cannot be stalled. This is because skin stretches a lot and rapidly during pregnancy and second because of the excess weight gain. Why some skins don't get these marks or don't get as many lines is largely to do with the skin and body type. If the weight you gain is excess and rapid and your body doesn't have enough elastin and collagen to combat these changes, then you become a sure target for stretch marks.
So can stretch marks go away? No. At first they are reddish or brownish in color from the growth of tiny blood vessels (color depends on skin tone). Gradually these lines become shiny and pearl white and narrower after delivery but they do not entirely vanish. Pregnancy stretch marks cannot be stopped and they cannot be made to disappear through special lotions and diet. A more intensive approach will be required to reduce its appearance (discussed below).
Who gets it..
- If you gain weight rapidly
- If your skin is not elastic enough
- If you are carrying a big baby
- If you carrying multiples
- If you have excess amniotic fluid
- If you are fair skinned; it appears less frequently in darker skinned women
- Usually makes its appearance in the second half of pregnancy when your expansion becomes more obvious
You cannot prevent it but you can minimize it..
- Drastic weight gain is one culprit you can control; try and gain weight gradually since healthy weight gain is a natural part of pregnancy. You will still get them but with gradual weight gain, the skin will stretch without tearing so the number and severity of this problem is lessened
- A diet rich in protein and vitamin C helps to promote and maintain healthy skin
- While many people swear that vitamin E creams, expensive oils, salves and emollients does wonders, many women who use such products still get these pregnancy marks. So it is really a question of you being predisposed to this problem or not. Genetics and weight gain have a heavier role to play in whether you acquire pregnancy stretch marks or not.
- These creams at best moisten your skin, keeps it well conditioned and this in turn will keep itchiness at bay. (Stretched skin feels itchy rather easily)
Can Stretch Marks go Away..
Pregnancy stretch marks appear prominent while you are pregnant but with time, after you have delivered, these marks tend to lighten and fade into silvery lines that are lighter than the surrounding skin. If you are not happy or comfortable with the sight, make an appointment with a dermatologist who will diminish the scars through microdermabrasion or laser treatment. Alternatively, you can resort to treatment with Isotretinoin gel (Retin-A), which you should only try after pregnancy and if you are not breastfeeding.
Note: this treatment is most effective when the streaks still have their dark pigments.