If you’ve ever dealt with stretch marks before pregnancy, the chances of you having to deal with stretch marks after pregnancy are even higher. Over 90% of mothers develop striae distensae during pregnancy and are left to deal with it after birth.
For women who have never had them before, experiencing and accepting stretch marks can be difficult. Although they are normal and cause no damage to your health, many women find themselves worrying about them and searching for remedies.
Before we jump into how you can minimize their appearance, we’ll start with the basics.
What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks after pregnancy, also known as striae distensae, is exactly what the name suggests. In essence, they are indentations that are ‘marked’ into your skin from tears that occur in the middle or bottom layer of tissues of your skin. Depending on how they’re caused, where they are on your body, and how old they are, stretch marks can appear pink, red, black, blue, or purple. Stretch marks are usually present on the belly, buttocks, breasts, and thighs.
What causes them?
In the majority of instances, striae distensae is developed due to genetic predisposition. If you want to check your chances of developing stretch marks, refer to your mother or grandmother.
In addition to the role genetics play, bouncing hormones, rapid weight gain, certain health conditions, and age can determine if you are more likely to get them. Also, if you’re using corticosteroids, it is almost certain you’ll develop them. Stretch marks are more likely when your skin loses elasticity due to cortisone, a hormone released by your adrenal glands.
Can you get rid of stretch marks?
You can improve the appearance of stretch marks after pregnancy through various treatments. However, this largely depends on when you start to take care of them. For example, if you are dealing with mature stretch marks (which are older than a year), it will be a little more difficult to fade. On the other hand, if you tackle the stretch marks as soon as you start to notice them, the chances of healing will be immensely greater.
6 ways to heal stretch marks
No matter what kind of stretch marks you are dealing with, there are certain measures you can take to minimize the appearance of them. Keep in mind that the best time to start treating them is as soon as they become apparent. If you know you are prone to them, you can even start treatment before the skin starts to rapidly stretch.
Creams & Oils
Gently massage creams and oils to the affected area. Massaging helps promote blood flow and breaks up scar tissue, while the ingredients found in the product you’re using provide nutrients for the skin. Take into consideration the cream/oil formula, as well as the point in time you’re using them (before, during, or after pregnancy). Certain chemicals may interfere with your health or your baby’s health, therefore, consult with a doctor beforehand.
Hydrate & Moisturize
Proper hydration promotes healthier-looking skin. If you want to speed up the healing process make sure you intake enough water. Skin feels repair themselves and function optimally when they have enough water and are moisturized.
Proper exercise is important for postpartum recovery in general. However, it can also be an effective treatment for stretch marks. While you’re strengthening your muscles through working out, you’re also tightening loose skin.
Aim to exfoliate your skin at least once a week. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin and also promotes blood flow. This combination triggers skin cells to grow and heal from a deeper layer of skin.
Even if you do all of the above, in the end, a healthy balanced diet can be the key to successful healing. If you’re providing your body with the nutrients and micronutrients it needs, your chances of faster body recovery will be higher. Your skin health relies heavily on what you eat, so if you want to minimize the appearance of stretch marks, eat plenty of fruits and veggies. Try to avoid junk food and fried foods.
If all else fails, or if you want to get rid of the stretch marks as soon as possible, you can look into dermatological procedures. Some of the most popular treatments of this kind are laser therapy, light therapy, and microneedling.
How long will the recovery take?
How fast the stretch marks will fade depends on various factors. Age, when you get them, how old they are, and when you start treating them are just some to name a few.
Chances are unless a dermatological procedure in question, you’ll never be able to fully get rid of your stretch marks. Although they might seem like a nuisance at times, remember that you earned those stripes through months of carrying a little one inside. Think of them as a roadmap of your love!
Stretch marks naturally occur during pregnancy. They are caused by the stretching of the skin and can happen to all women. Women whose mothers and grandmothers experienced stretch marks have a higher chance of developing them during their lives and pregnancy. Stretch marks can become less visible with proper nutrition, skin treatments, and hydration.