Pregnancy Stretch Marks
Stretch marks during pregnancy are very common. Between 50 to 90 percent of mothers experience stretch marks during their pregnancy. Stretch marks appear as a result of rapid growth or stretching of the skin. Most of these marks will be found on the tummy area, however they might also appear on the hips, thighs, buttocks, and breasts.
Over recent years, the body positive movement has reclaimed the idea of stretch marks, renaming them sweeter things like tiger marks, strength marks, and angel marks.
These marks are somewhat inevitable in a woman’s life. They can start during puberty when young girls grow into womanly hips and breasts. They can happen as a result of the infamous freshman fifteen. But the most commonly shared experience, however, is pregnancy stretch marks.
Doctors say stretch marks most commonly appear during the 6th or 7th month of pregnancy. These marks can become more visible after giving birth, while the body is contracting back to its original state.
For some women, stretch marks are the most upsetting part of pregnancy. While most of the changes a woman goes through during pregnancy are temporary, stretch marks can be permanent scars.
Does genetics play a role?
The determining factor when it comes to getting stretch marks or not
is largely based on genetics. The elastin gene (ELN) provides the body instructions for making a protein called tropoelastin which helps to form the protein elastin. Elastin fibers in the skin offers the ability to stretch or contract.
The popular genetic testing company 23andMe reported gene mutations of the ELN gene was strongly associated with stretch marks during pregnancy.
Having a lack of tropoelastin (skin elasticity) because of a genetic mutation can increase the risk of stretch marks. If you have a lack of skin elasticity, when the body grows, the connective tissue of the skin can breakdown, resulting in a scar.
Preventative measure mention: Shea butter cream
The most natural and affordable treatment is the use of Vitamin A/E enriched shea butter cream.
Harnessing the power of Vitamin A, this cream may help improve the amount of collagen in your skin (helping with elasticity).
Many mothers have found using this on their tummies throughout the duration of their pregnancy helped with preventing stretchmarks.
These are 3 industry-leading treatments that help to reduce the appearance of pregnancy stretch marks.
While we can’t change our genetics to prevent these marks altogether, we can treat them. If you are hoping to reduce (and even erase) your stretch marks, consider these three treatments.
- Topical Vitamin A (Retinoids)
Retinoids are a part of a host of compounds derived from Vitamin A. Two amazing compounds found in the retinoid family are Retinol and Tretinoin.
The topical use of Vitamin A increases cell turnover rate and works to boost collagen production. When used as a scar treatment, retinoids can resurface your skin, revealing smoother, more even skin. Retinoids are often used in anti-aging products as they help boost elasticity and collagen production — making for younger-looking skin.
These benefits can be enjoyed by many. Retinoids are often used on surgical scars, acne scars, and stretch mark scars.
These products should not be used while pregnant or while breastfeeding. If you are interested in using a topical Vitamin A cream, hold off until you’ve both given birth and are no longer breastfeeding.
- Prescription scar healing formulas
Seeing a doctor about treating your stretch marks has never been easier in the age of telemedicine. There are prescription scar formulas that are specifically designed to help flatten scars, reduce scar tissue growth, and brighten the skin.
Choosing formulas that incorporate tretinoin, topical steroids, and Vitamin C can help heal, reduce, and lighten the appearance of scars. These types of scar gels create the ideal healing environment for scars.
These formulas are prescribed under the care of a medical doctor. It should be noted that pregnant mothers or breastfeeding mothers should not use these creams, but can use these ingredients on stretch marks once those stages are over.
The most costly procedure on this list, microdermabrasion, is a popular treatment for scars. Microdermabrasion treatments last around 30 minutes to an hour and focus on the exfoliation of your skin. This has been proven to help the appearance of stretch marks as well as fine lines and wrinkles.
This treatment also encourages skin regeneration and helps boost the elasticity and collagen production in the skin.
Stretch marks lighten naturally over time
Over time, the red, pink, or purple color of new stretch marks will change to white or silver. Stretch marks generally turn into a lighter shade of your own skin tone.
To aid your healing further, if you’re spending time sunbathing remember to wear sunscreen over your stretch marks to avoid any darkening of the marks.