Stretch marks are pregnancy symptoms that don’t disappear (at least not easily) after childbirth. Almost all pregnant women get stretch marks, but not all women may take pride in those stripes, which are a beautiful reminder of their pregnancy. Although pregnancy stretch marks do not fade away perfectly, they can be prevented. If you’d like to learn about pregnancy stretch marks and how stretch marks can be prevented, read on!
What Are Pregnancy Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are small streaks that emerge on a pregnant woman’s skin towards the later stages of pregnancy. The elastic fibres under the skin tend to break as the body grows faster than the skin’s ability to cope with. Pregnant women may notice these marks on their tummy, buttocks, thighs, and even on their breasts. Stretch marks can either be pink, reddish-brown, purple, or brown. The colour of your skin will determine the colour of the stretch marks. They eventually fade away over time but do not go away completely. While it may come as a surprise, but these marks are genetic. If your mother had stretch marks while pregnant, chances are you will have these stretch marks too during pregnancy.
Who gets stretch marks During Pregnancy?
There are some common misconceptions about stretch marks and who gets them. The truth is that genetics is the strongest predictor of these marks.
According to the Mayo Clinic, women are more likely to get stretch marks, especially those who are pregnant. Some other risk factors include:
- being on corticosteroid medication
- losing or gaining weight rapidly
- having breast enlargement surgery
Causes of Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
Stretch marks could appear because of one or more of the following reasons.
- Weight gain. Although weight gain is common during pregnancy; if a pregnant woman gains weight rapidly, it may stretch her skin.
- The presence of excess amniotic fluid.
- Carrying multiple babies.
- If the baby’s weight is more than the average weight.
- If the pregnant woman’s mother or sister had to stretch marks while their pregnancy.
- If a woman is young while expecting.
- If a woman had stretch marks in her teens.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks
Here are some measures that you can take to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy:
- Keep yourself hydrated. It is necessary to keep yourself well hydrated during pregnancy to facilitate your increased blood volume and building the water sack for the baby. The lack of water or fluids in the body or dehydration can hamper the elasticity of your skin, making it prone to damage because of the stretching skin. So, you must keep on sipping water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Include gelatine in your diet- The collagen in gelatine aid to improve skin’s elasticity. You could include gelatine in your diet to prevent stretch marks.
- Include vitamin C in your diet-Vitamin-C rich foods in your diet will help in the formation of collagen and cartilage. You can include Vitamin C-rich foods in your diets like guava, kale, and green bell peppers rather than taking supplements.
- Use coconut oil for moisturising- Coconut oil is rich in saturated fatty acids and does not get oxidized easily. Coconut oil provides good moisture to the skin and prevents the occurrence of stretch marks.
- Check zinc deficiency. If you have a zinc deficiency, then it can hamper your body’s ability to produce an adequate amount of collagen and antioxidants. To prevent this, you must include zinc-rich foods in your diets such as eggs, chicken, and nuts in your diet.
- Try different oils to improve skin elasticity – You could use various oils such as castor oil, Vitamin E oil and other essential oils to improve the elasticity of the skin. These oils have antioxidant properties which can help fight free radical damage and prevent from occurrence of stretch marks.
- Use cocoa and shea butter- Shea and cocoa butter are excellent for the skin hydrated and moist by stimulating the skin’s renewal process, and thus preventing damage.
- Use over-the-counter stretch mark serums- You could use serums available in the market to keep your skin moist and hydrated.
- Monitor your weight- Sudden or rapid weight gain during pregnancy also leads to stretch marks, therefore, keep your weight in check and gain healthily to prevent stretch marks.
Some tips For Healing Pregnancy Stretch Marks
- Massage With Oil
Massaging the skin of your belly, hips, and bust is one of the best ways to treat pregnancy stretch marks. A gentle massage increases blood circulation and breaks up the scar tissue that causes stretch marks. We recommend healing oil, like Mustela’s Stretch Marks Oil, to reduce friction during the massage and give your skin the vitamins and minerals to repair itself.
Take some oil to the palms of your hands and then gently massage your belly. Focus on this area for up to two minutes, reapplying oil as needed. When the two minutes are up, move to another area with stretch marks and repeat the same process.
For extra healing, you can also try soaking in a warm bath for ten minutes or taking a warm shower before your massage to soften your skin and open up your pores.
- Apply A Specialized Cream
Specialized creams, such as Mustela’s Stretch Marks Serum and Body Firming Gel, are the simplest way to treat pregnancy stretch marks. Their special formulas—which include natural ingredients like avocado, sunflower seed oil, peptides, and beeswax— heal pregnancy stretch marks in the deeper layers of your skin while keeping the upper layers soft and supple.
Apply once in the morning and the evening provides continuous healing for stretch marks.
- Stay Hydrated
The fluids you drink provide your skin with the hydration necessary for it to remain healthy.
When skin cells have an ample supply of water, they’re able to function well and repair themselves more effectively which means your skin is better able to recover from pregnancy stretch marks. Drink at least 8-10 cups of water every day to keep your skin healthy and hydrated!
- Keep Your Skin Moisturized
Moisture is one of the essential components of a healthy skincare routine. It keeps your skin bright and smooth helps maintain your skin’s protective outer layer, and preserves skin elasticity.
Medical experts recommend choosing your skincare products carefully when you’re still breastfeeding. Some moisturizers have ingredients that may find their way into your breast milk. The effect of these ingredients on your newborns is unknown, so it’s best to avoid using these skincare products altogether.
Especially, avoid Retinoid and products with Retinol, Retinol-A, or some other variant of this compound. Parabens are also unsafe. Always choose skincare products made from natural ingredients.
- Exercise To Improve Skin & Muscle Tone
Exercise can be a fun and effective way for repairing pregnancy stretch marks. Exercise, like walking and yoga, can strengthen the muscles of your thighs, hips, and belly. Strengthening those muscles helps to tighten loose, stretch-marked skin and encourage faster healing.
There are so many options, such as swimming, walking, running, weight training, yoga, and pilates. Depending on your fitness level and the exercise(s) you choose, we recommended starting with one day per week and gradually increasing to two, three, four, or even five days per week.
Home Remedies for Stretch Marks
Egg White Peel
Egg whites have a whole host of beneficial nutrients, like protein, potassium, riboflavin, and magnesium. These nutrients are great for healthy skin and can be used to heal pregnancy stretch marks. Here’s how they work:
- Protein maintains tissue repair, skin elasticity, and growth.
- Potassium puts moisture back into the skin and keeps it from evaporating.
- Riboflavin eliminates toxic free radicals in your skin.
- Magnesium delays the ageing process and keeps skin looking youthful.
The easiest way to direct these healing nutrients to pregnancy stretch-marked is to whip up an egg white peel. Here’s how to do it.
- In a bowl, separate 2 egg whites from their yolks. Note that 2 egg whites are sufficient for an area about the size of your face.
- Whisk the egg whites until they’re foamy.
- Clean your face with lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser.
- Apply the whipped egg whites to the stretch-marked area of the skin.
- Let the egg whites dry for 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse off the egg white peel with lukewarm water.
- Pat skin dry with a soft towel.
It is widely known for its sunburn healing properties. But Aloe vera also promotes healing in general and soothes your skin. We’re speaking about fresh gel — the gel from the actual aloe vera plant.
Follow these instructions to treat your pregnancy stretch marks using aloe vera gel:
- Rub the gel directly over your stretch marks skin.
- Leave the gel on for 15 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water.
- Apply twice per day as needed.
Did you know that it has antiseptic properties that are known to reduce the appearance of stretch marks? But for the honey to be effective, it should be raw — meaning unfiltered and unprocessed — and organic.
Steps to follow for a honey scrub:
- Apply honey to a small cloth.
- Place the cloth over your stretch marks skin. Leave it on your targeted area until the honey completely dries.
- Rinse off the honey using warm water.
Make a honey scrub by mixing honey with salt and glycerin. Apply the scrub to your stretch marks skin and leave it on until it dries. Rinse it off using lukewarm water.
Sugar is a great exfoliator for removing dead skin cells and can help lighten your stretch marks.
How to make and use a sugar scrub:
- Mix one tablespoon of sugar with almond oil or other oils such as olive oil and add a few drops of lemon juice.
- Use this mixture as a scrub before shower.
- Do this every day for a month.
Lemons are known for lightening the pigmentation of the skin. As you’ve probably seen, skin discolouration often accompanies stretch marks.
Lemon juice naturally has properties acidic, making it a useful agent in healing acne, pimples, and other skin conditions. It also helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks and speed up the healing process.
Steps to make the most of your lemon juice:
- Rub fresh lemon juice on your stretch marks skin. (preferably use the juice from a freshly squeezed lemon).
- Leave it on for 10 minutes to let your skin absorb the juice.
- Rinse off the lemon juice using lukewarm water.
- Apply every day for optimal results.
Use alfalfa leaves
- Alfalfa leaves have detoxifying and antifungal properties. The paste made of its leaves and chamomile oil can be applied to the affected area twice a day for results for optimal results.
Use sandalwood and turmeric
You may apply a paste made from an equal quantity of sandalwood and turmeric to the affected area of the skin. You could apply this paste for 5 to 6 months to see an improvement.
Apply the apricot paste
Make a paste from the apricot after deseeding it. Apply to the affected area of your skin for a few minutes and rinse off. You may repeat it regularly to get rid of the marks completely.
Use oil treatments
Apply oils like castor oil, Vitamin E oil, olive oil, etc., to massage the affected area of your skin. These oils help improve blood circulation, which is very effective in removing pregnancy stretch marks.
Applying virgin coconut oil to your stretch marks skin each day might take away some of their red appearances. Unless you’re allergic to coconuts, this oil is safe.
Take vitamin C
Vitamin C is very helpful when it comes to treating pregnancy stretch marks, as it helps to boost collagen. Collagen plays a vital role in keeping the skin tight and elastic. Fruits that are rich in vitamin C should be consumed regularly.
Apply tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is the best remedy to remove any kind of skin scars, and it helps to treat stretch marks as well. Its anti-inflammatory and healing properties work well to fade stretch marks to a great extent.
Apply olive oil
Certainly, olive oil is one of the best and most easily available that can be used to remove stretch marks. It is rich in vitamin E, and this skin-nourishing property helps to fade away the scars easily.
Ice Stretch Marks To Reduce Inflammation
Rubbing ice on stretch-marked skin can help relieve reduce this swelling and inflammation.
A reusable ice pack that is stored in the freezer makes it easy to apply cold whenever the opportunity presents itself. If you don’t have an ice pack, put some ice cubes in a Ziploc bag.
Wrap the cold pack in a dish towel or pillowcase to not come directly in contact with your skin. Start with your belly. Hold it on your skin for up to 10-12 minutes, then move to your thigh and hold the cold pack on your skin for another 10-12 minutes. Repeat this process for all areas of your skin that have stretch marks.
Exfoliate Once Per Week
Your skin does a substantial job of repairing and rejuvenating all by itself. You can help the process, though, by exfoliating stretch-marked once per week. Exfoliating helps to remove the top layer of dead skin cells and promotes growth and healing in the deeper layers of skin.
We advise natural products like baking soda or witch hazel. These products are gentle on your skin, so they won’t cause dryness, irritation, or inflammation. Try to exfoliate in the morning after your skin has had time to complete its natural reparative process. Pick one day each week to heal pregnancy stretch marks by exfoliating the skin on your belly, hips, thighs, and bust.
Keeping a healthy diet is an essential component of your overall well-being. It helps you keep your body slim, mind sharp, and skin healthy. This also helps to repair any stretch marks caused during pregnancy!
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is always the best choice. Avoid junk fried foods food, and anything processed. Eat meat and fatty foods in moderation. And keep an eye on your sodium intake.
Finally, cut sugary drinks, like soft drinks and colas, from your diet, and replace them with green tea or water.
Of course, eating well isn’t just good for getting rid of pregnancy stretch marks. It’s also important when you’re breastfeeding. Try to stick to the healthiest breastfeeding diet possible to ensure your loved one is getting all the nutrients they need.
It can seem difficult to get all of your daily nutrients from a normal diet, so you may be considering taking supplements or a daily vitamin pill. But make sure that you choose the right one. You may continue taking your daily prenatal supplements or switch to a postnatal vitamin, which is packed with vitamin D. Before taking any supplement consult with your doctor.
Relax To Help Your Skin Heal
When people get stressed, the body releases hormones that can interfere with the skin’s natural healing and regulation process. This slows the healing process of your stretch marks.
You can overcome these issues by taking some time each day to relax. It helps to reduce the hormones that could prevent your stretch marks from healing. Your way of relaxing could be as simple as listening to your favourite music or reading a book.
Meditation is also the best way to relax after a hard day. Try to find a comfortable position, take deep breaths, and let your thoughts go. A guided yoga class can be an easy way to combine relaxation and exercise to heal stretch marks.
Give It Time!
Unfortunately, it takes some time! Pregnancy stretch marks don’t simply go away—your skin slowly repairs the tears that your pregnancy caused and, over time, these marks begin to fade.