When a woman is pregnant, pregnant stretch marks are one of the most common side effects that will start to appear. Stretch marks can appear not only during and after pregnancy; they commonly appear whenever the body experiences any sudden weight gain, such as at the time of puberty when the breasts start to grow; stretch marks could appear at the site.
Even very rapid muscle gain can cause stretch marks to appear. Whether you get stretch marks after pregnancy or during it, it is determined mainly by one’s genes, and there is little one can actually do to prevent them from appearing.
The stretching of the skin is what causes stretch marks to appear – these are actually a tearing off the skin’s layer called the dermis. An estimated 75 to 90% women develop stretch marks after pregnancy or during those nine months, to a smaller or larger extent.
Also the time when the stretch marks are most likely to appear is from the 6th or 7th month onwards, because it is during this time when the skin is subject to the most stretching.
Opinions are divided as to whether it is possible to prevent pregnant stretch marks. While there is one view that says it is impossible to prevent stretch marks and they will appear no matter what preventive measure you take, the contrary view claims to be able to prevent pregnant stretch marks or at least reduce the chance of their appearing.
While there are certain creams and lotions, that have, under controlled circumstances, shown them to be at least slightly effective in preventing stretch marks, no cream, or lotion will help to get rid of stretch marks once they appear.
This is because a pregnant stretch mark is a tear that occurs in the middle layer of the skin, and this tear cannot be healed by topical applications. To actually get rid of stretch marks after pregnancy, a surgical procedure, dermabrasion, chemical peel, laser treatment may help.
And since there is no topical application that will ‘erase’ stretch marks once they have appeared, it is important to do what you can to minimize their appearance –
Creams, lotions and other formulations for stretch marks –
- There are certain formulations that could, to an extent help to control pregnant stretch marks. Products that contain a combination of Gotu Kola extract, collagen hydrosates and Vitamin E, have been seen to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
- Another formulation that consisted of panthenol, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, elastin and menthol was shown to be effective in letting fewer stretch marks form during pregnancy.
- Although cocoa butter formulations are said to be effective in preventing stretch marks this has not been proved in any clinical trial. So it cannot be said that cocoa butter can either prevent or get rid of stretch marks after pregnancy.
Other ways to prevent stretch marks –
- Try not gaining too much weight in pregnancy; this is important for several other reason also.
- Massage areas vulnerable to pregnant stretch marks.
- Keep skin hydrated by drinking lots of water and healthy eating.
- Take appropriate vitamins as advised.