Stretch marks are basically tiny tears in the supporting layers of tissue under the skin that gets pulled tight during pregnancy. The elastic fibres under the skin surface tend to break, resulting in stretch marks. They occur most commonly after the 6th month, when the rate of growth in the mother’s body happens at a frantic pace to keep up with the growing uterus.
They are more prominent around the belly and breasts – two parts of the female body that experience the largest growth.
Rapid weight gain or increase in the circumference of the mother’s tummy makes stretch marks more visible and prominent.
Pregnancy stretch marks are a common occurrence and are more like necessary evils that cannot be avoided. And they generally disappear or become hard to notice after pregnancy. After pregnancy, they gradually fade to white or gray.
However these handy tips would help you lessen them:
- Moisturize the region with Cocoa butter. There are other stretch mark creams available in the market. Moisturizing daily would also help fighting dryness and itchy skin associated with pregnancy.
- Foods rich in antioxidants like strawberries, blueberries and spinach help protect and nourish your skin.
- Increase intake of foods rich in Vitamin A as they repair the tissues of the skin. Sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, and mangoes are good options.
- Vitamin-C-rich foods in the pregnancy diet would keep the skin toned and subject it less to stretch marks.
- Practice dry brushing – a process of brushing the skin using a dry brush. This helps to peel the skin keeping it healthy. It is also recommended for the reduction of stretch mark appearance and also as a preventative technique.
- Stay away from body washes which have sulphate, it dries out the skin and reduces its elasticity. Use cleansers made with natural oils
- Try to maintain a close eye on weight gain. Although this sounds easier said than done, but if the weight gain is gradual, then stretch marks would not occur or at least occur less prominently.
- After delivery, one can resort to Retin-A or laser therapy to get rid of the marks, after consulting with a dermatologist, though.
Dermatologists may also advice using a retinoid. This speeds up cell turnover and stimulates new collagen growth filling up the crevices, and creating plumper and healthier skin.