There are many different changes that a woman will go through when she is experiencing pregnancy. Due to the stretching of the skin, a woman may experience stretch marks as a result of her pregnancy. While stretch marks are nothing to be ashamed of, there may be some ways to help manage them.
What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are a type of scarring on the body. While these scars appear when the skin is stretched quickly, they can also appear when the skin shrinks quickly. Every person has a unique body and how this body will handle different changes can vary from person to person. Development of stretch marks depends on how our body’s are producing collagen, as well as the elasticity of our skin. As our bodies age naturally, we may lose our skin elasticity and collagen production typically slows down. Stretch marks may also be genetic. If you notice people in your family have a history of developing stretch marks, you may be more at risk.
How Do Stretch Marks Form?
Stretch marks can form due to a variety of different reasons. However, these reasons all relate to the stretching or shrinking of the skin. The weight gain or weight loss cannot be supported completely by the skin, resulting in a stretched scar. Stretch marks can be a result of rapid weight gain or loss, growth spurts, pregnancy, and weight training. Hormone levels, as well as genetics, can also play a role in how stretch marks are formed. However, individuals who experience these changes may not develop stretch marks as a result. Common areas for stretch marks include around the stomach, the thighs, and the upper arms.
Why Does Pregnancy Cause Stretch Marks?
When a woman becomes pregnant, her body goes through many changes. One of these changes include weight gain, as well as her body adjusting to the growing baby. As this baby gets bigger, the woman’s stomach will also get bigger and begin to protrude. A woman is pregnant for a relatively short period of time that lasts around nine months. According to their doctor, women are typically advised to gain some amount of additional weight during the pregnancy to support the developing fetus. However, the biggest change is that the skin around the tummy begins to expand rabidly. This can cause stretch marks to form due to the rapid change in the skin.
What is the Life of a Stretch Mark?
When stretch marks first appear on your body, they may appear bright in color and could resemble a scratch on the skin. While the color of new stretch marks can vary, they may appear red, purple, or brown in color. When you brush your fingers over your skin, the new stretch mark may feel raised off the skin. New stretch marks may also feel itchy or uncomfortable when they first developed.
As the stretch mark becomes older, it may appear differently. This depends and not all stretch marks fade in color. This process could take weeks or months. Once the stretch mark reaches this phase, it becomes paler in color. Instead of feeling raised, an older stretch mark will feel depressed.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks from Forming During Pregnancy
When a woman is pregnant and wanting to prevent stretch marks, she will want to seek out the advice of her healthcare professional in order to determine which products are safe for her to do. Many studies have been done trying to find the best preventive measures for stretch marks. However, there are many variables in stretch mark development. While one method may work for one, there is not a universal solution to prevent pregnancy stretch marks. However, researchers advise that staying moisturized and maintaining a healthy diet may help prevent pregnancy stretch marks. Vitamin E oil has very moisturizing and healing properties for the skin, as well as shea butter and hyaluronic acid.
How to Treat New Stretch Marks that Form During Pregnancy
When it comes to treating stretch marks during pregnancy, you will want to consult with a healthcare professional prior in order to find out what products you should be avoiding. Remember that stretch marks have a life cycle. When stretch marks are fresh, they are brightly colored. When they are in this phase of their life, they are much easier to treat. However, once the stretch mark begins to fade, it will be more difficult to treat. While you are pregnant, you will want to make sure that you are keeping your skin hydrated. So, moisturize twice daily to help your skin’s elasticity. Also, get plenty of water to help hydrate your entire body. You may also want to find a pregnancy safe stretch mark prevention cream or oil.
Treatments to Avoid
While pregnant, there are certain treatment options that you will want to avoid. One of these products include retin-A. Retin-A contains vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential to a developing fetus. However, too much can cause defects. Women who are pregnant will also want to avoid essential oils, as they are not regulated by the FDA. While some sunscreens can be very hydrating, chemical sunscreens should be avoided by those who are pregnant to treat pregnancy stretch marks. This is because certain ingredients are not under FDA categories.
How to Treat Old Stretch Marks
Older stretch marks after pregnancy are more difficult to treat and may take longer. It is important to be patient during this process. Make sure that you are exfoliating your skin regularly, wearing proper sunscreen, and keeping your skin moisturized. Look for oils and moisturizers that will be nourishing and beneficial for your skin for stretch marks after pregnancy. Maintain a healthy diet and make sure not to neglect the rest of your skin where there are no stretch marks. Invasive laser treatments are generally only recommended as a last resort.
Stretch Marks Are Nothing to Be Ashamed Of
Stretch marks can be due to many different reasons, including genetics. Although stretch marks during pregnancy can prove to be challenging to treat, they are nothing to be ashamed of. Pregnancy stretch marks are due to the movement of the skin in order for a woman to grow and develop a baby inside of her. More times than not, the development of stretch marks is unavoidable and can happen suddenly. Stretch marks can happen to anyone. Regardless, do not feel ashamed of your stretch marks. Instead, embrace your skin and maintain healthy habits.