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Almost every mother earns her stripes, but rarely is one proud of hers. Stretch marks are one of the few pregnancy symptoms that carry over into a woman’s postpartum life. Although they never completely fade, there are several ways to prevent them, and if that does not work, treat them. Read on for some simple solutions to the problem
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are depressed, small streaks that appear on the skin of a pregnant woman towards the later stages of pregnancy. The elastic fibres under the skin tend to break because the body grows faster than the skin’s ability to cope with. You may notice these marks on your tummy, buttocks, thighs and even on your breasts. They may appear pink, purple, reddish brown or brown on your skin. The colour of your skin determines the colour of the marks. They eventually fade away with time but do not completely go away. These marks are also genetic, which means if your mom had stretch marks, then there is a good possibility that you will have them too.
Causes of Stretch Marks in Pregnancy
These tiny tears in the skin may be caused by various reasons. Some common causes of stretch marks in pregnancy are following:
- Gaining weight is very normal during pregnancy; however, if you gain weight rapidly, you may get stretch marks on your skin.
- Having excess amniotic fluid.
- Carrying multiple babies
- If your baby’s weight is more than average.
- If your mother or sister had stretch marks during their pregnancy, you may have them too.
- If you are a young expecting mother.
- If you have had stretch marks in your teens.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks?
Following are some of the measures that you can take to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy:
- Keep yourself hydrated. It is very important to keep yourself well hydrated during pregnancy in order to facilitate your increased blood volume and building the water sack for the baby. The lack of water in the body or dehydration will hamper the elasticity of your skin, making it prone to damage because of stretching skin
- Include gelatine in your diet. The collagen in gelatine helps improve skin’s elasticity. You may include gelatine in your diet to prevent the marks.
- Include vitamin C in your diet. You may take vitamin C rich diet, as it is very effective in the formation of collagen and cartilage. It is recommended to include foods rich in Vitamin C, such as guava, kale and green bell peppers, rather than taking supplements.
- Use coconut oil for moisturising. Coconut oil is an excellent source of saturated fatty acids and these do not get easily oxidized, thus it provides good moisture to the skin and prevents stretch marks.
- Check for a zinc deficiency. If you have a zinc deficiency, then it hampers your body’s ability to produce adequate collagen and antioxidants. Therefore, you should include zinc-rich foods, such as eggs, chicken and nuts to prevent the marks.
- Use oil treatments. You may use various oils such as castor oil, vitamin E oil and other essential oils to improve the elasticity of your skin. These oils have antioxidant properties which are helpful in free radical damage and in preventing stretch marks.
- Use cocoa and shea butter. Shea and cocoa butter work wonder to keep the skin hydrated and moist by stimulating skin’s renewal process, and thus preventing damage.
- Use over-the-counter stretch mark serums. You may also use serums available on the market to keep your skin moist and hydrated.
- Eat foods that improve your skin elasticity. It is recommended to include food rich in gelatine, vitamin A, C and E to help improve the elasticity of your skin and keeping the marks at bay.
- Monitor your weight. Sudden or rapid weight gain in pregnancy also leads to stretch marks, therefore, keep your weight in check and gain in a healthy manner to prevent them.
Home Remedies to Remove Stretch Marks
Stretch marks cannot completely go away; however, some home remedies are effective in fading them, such as:
- Use alfalfa leave. These leaves have detoxifying and antifungal properties. The paste made of alfalfa leaves and chamomile oil can be applied to the affected area twice a day for results.
- Use sandalwood and turmeric. You may apply a paste made from equal amounts of sandalwood and turmeric, on the affected area. Scrub off the paste to get a brighter and even skin tone. You may apply this paste for 5 to 6 months to see an improvement.
- Use potato juice. You may apply potato juice on your stretch marks and wash it off with warm water. Apply for a few months to see them fade.
- Apply apricot paste. Make a paste from the apricot fruit after deseeding it. Apply to the affected area for a few minutes and rinse off. You may repeat it on regular basis to get rid of the marks completely.
- Apply lemon juice. You may apply lemon juice on your stretch marks and let your skin soak it for a few minutes. Rinse with warm water and repeat regularly for best results.
- Apply sugar scrub. Make a scrub with sugar, lemon juice and almond oil and apply before bath every day for a few months to lighten.
- Use eggs whites. You may apply egg whites on the affected area and let it dry. Wash with cold water and apply olive oil. Use this treatment for a few weeks to fade away the stretch marks.
- Apply honey. You may apply honey on the affected area and wash it off after a few minutes with warm water. This helps reduce the marks
- Apply aloe vera. You make apply aloe vera regularly on the affected area to get rid of the marks. It also soothes and heals your skin.
- Use oil treatments. You may use various oils, such as castor oil, Vitamin E oil, Olive oil etc to massage the affected area. Massaging with these oils help improve the blood circulation, which is very effective in removing stretch marks.
Apart from various preventive and home remedial measures, there are many medical treatments such as laser therapy, chemical peels, glycolic acid etc. You should consult your doctor before opting for any treatment to get rid of stretch marks.
Also Read: Skin Care During Pregnancy