Ad Code



Skincare in Pregnancy: How to Manage Stretch Marks in Pregnancy


Doctor, I don't want stretch marks. Please tell me any cream to apply, however expensive it is, I'm ready to apply. My mom and sister both had bad stretch marks in pregnancy. My salon suggested an expensive skin treatment. Can I get it done? Can I try my face cream, the retinol cream? It is known to prevent wrinkles.

The most common question which we as gynecologists get from our pregnant patients in relation to their skin changes is, can we do something to prevent these stretch marks? So stretch marks affect almost 60 to 90 percent women in pregnancy. Now let's understand what are stretch marks and why do they happen? 

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are medically known as striae gravidarum. They typically appear as tripe like reddish brown or pinkish marks typically coming up on the abdomen, breast, thighs or maybe the upper arms. They are most visible on the abdomen. 

Stretch marks of pregnancy

They typically happen because of the stretching of the skin. We need to understand that skin is a flexible and a elastic organ. It has got collagen and the elastin fibers running there.

When the skin is stretching as the baby is growing the elastin fibers and the collagen fibers are also stretching. Now beyond a particular point these fibers cannot stretch and beyond a particular point when they are stretched even more they break. So wherever these fibers break a mark forms, that is why these are known as stretch marks. 

Like I said in the beginning they start off as the reddish or pinkish marks. They look very angry looking marks, but later on after the delivery of the baby they become very pale and they actually become silvery white and now they are known as striae albicans and they tend to merge with the skin. 

Are stretch marks genetic? 

My sister and my mother both had a lot of stretch marks in their pregnancy. So will I also have a lot of stretch marks? Maybe yes, because the composition of the skin in terms of the elastin and the collagen fibers typically could be genetic. So there is a possibility that you also might develop more stretch marks. 

Does the size of the baby matters? 

Yes very much, the bigger the size of the baby obviously the more will be the stretching of the skin and more will be the stretch marks. That is why in twins you will have more stretch marks. 

Does scratching cause stretch marks? 

Often pregnant women are told not to scratch as this would cause stretch marks. We need to understand that scratching cannot cause stretch marks unless and until you have actually injured your skin while scratching a lot. So go ahead and do whatever it takes to comfort your skin as long as you do not injure your skin. 

Can stretch marks be prevented? 

Unfortunately till date there is no proven scientific method to prevent or treat stretch marks. So when you have no treatment available, you actually have multiple options to try on.

How to manage stretch marks?

So, let's see what can be done to help you there. 

1. Keep yourself toned before you actually become pregnant. Make sure that you are in the optimum weight. Make sure that your skin tone is good before you actually become pregnant. 

2. In pregnancy avoid any rapid weight gain, I know most times this is not in your hand, but understand it's simple physics. Any rapid stretching of the elastin or collagen fibers rapidly will break them while in case it's a gradual stretching they won't break. So make sure that you gain optimum or a gradual weight gain during pregnancy. 

3. Be mindful of what you eat and exercise, exercise has multiple benefits when it comes to your skin and stretch marks too. Exercise increases the blood supply there. It maintains the optimum weight gain and it improves the skin tone and obviously balances your hormones which have a good effect on your skin too. 

4. Then keep yourself hydrated. Drink at least 10 to 12 glasses of water every day. Once again, remember if it's a dry skin, it will break faster than if the skin is moisturized.

5. You can massage your abdomen or the area over your breast, arms or thighs with any oil, with any moisturizer. Remember massaging will help by increasing the blood supply. So when it comes to using topical creams, we have multiple options.

We have cocoa butter, shea butter, bio oil, vitamin E oil, we have wheat germ oil, bitter almond oil and so many options. We have hydrating agents like hyaluronic acid, like aloe vera. So all these creams, they actually help to oil the skin, help to moisturize the skin.

But they do not work to improve the health of the elastin or the collagen fibers. You need to understand they just work to moisturize and just oil your skin. One word of caution, retinol based creams should not be used in the pregnancy because they are not safe for the pregnancy. 

6. You can also try exfoliation or scrubbing of the skin. Scrubbing of the skin is the best way actually to improve the texture of the skin. It also promotes the regeneration of skin cells. 

So you can use things which are as basic as milk cream, that's rich in lactic acid, plus you can add granulated sugar, you can add besan to it or maybe orange peels powder also to it. 

How to treat stretch marks after childbirth 

So post delivery, now what can be done to treat the stretch marks? In most of the cases, stretch marks actually become pale grey and they tend to blend with the normal skin. But in case you are too bothered with the stretch marks and you decide to do some treatment for that, now there are certain options available. 

You can now use a retinol cream, you can go in for microdermabrasion. Nowadays we have fancy lasers available which help to remodel the collagen to heal these scars. We also have eczema lasers available which increase the pigmentation in those scars so that these scars can blend with the normal skin. 

We now have radiofrequency skin tightening also available. But make sure that you discuss all these options with your dermatologist before you actually take a decision to try them. 

Closing Thought 

There is no 100% proven scientific method to prevent or treat these stretch marks. However, certain things might help. There could be many people who would go to any lengths to achieve their youthful skin. There would be also some people who would actually choose to wear the stretch marks as a mark of motherhood.

Remember, stretch marks, wrinkles or other signs of aging are inevitable. So as the old age comes in, it may be just best to love the skin you have. So today like always if you found this information useful and interesting, please do not forget to share and follow Lafiyata.


Print this post

Post a Comment