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Stretch marks are one of the few pregnancy symptoms that don’t disappear (at least not easily) after childbirth. Almost all women get stretch marks while pregnant, 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 completely, they can be prevented. If you’d like to learn more about pregnancy stretch marks and how they can be prevented, read on!
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are 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. Stretch marks can either be pink, purple, reddish-brown or brown in colour. The colour of your skin will determine the colour of the marks. They eventually fade away with time but do not go away completely. While it may come as a surprise, but stretch marks are genetic. If your mother had stretch marks while pregnant, chances are you will have them too during pregnancy.
Causes of Stretch Marks in Pregnancy
Stretch marks may appear because of one or more of the following reasons.
- Weight gain. Although weight gain is normal during pregnancy; if a woman gains weight rapidly, it may result in stretch marks on your skin.
- The presence of excess amniotic fluid.
- Carrying multiple babies.
- If the baby’s weight is more than average.
- If the pregnant woman’s mother or sister had stretch marks during their pregnancy.
- If the woman is young while expecting.
- If the woman had stretch marks in her 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 can hamper the elasticity of your skin, making it prone to damage because of the stretching skin. So, it’s important that you keep on sipping water to keep yourself hydrated.
- 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- Including 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 diet 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 does not get oxidized easily. It also provides good moisture to the skin and prevents the occurrence of stretch marks.
- Check for a zinc deficiency. If you have a zinc deficiency, then it can hamper your body’s ability to produce adequate collagen and antioxidants. In order to prevent this, you must include zinc-rich foods such as eggs, chicken, and nuts in your diet.
- Try different oils to improve the elasticity of your skin- 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 can help fight free radical damage and prevent the occurrence of stretch marks.
- Use cocoa and shea butter- Shea and cocoa butter work wonder to keep the skin hydrated and moist by stimulating the skin’s renewal process, and thus preventing damage.
- Use over-the-counter stretch mark serums- You may also use serums available in the market to keep your skin moist and hydrated.
- 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 stretch marks.
Home Remedies for Stretch Marks
Stretch marks cannot completely go away; however, some home remedies are effective in fading them, such as:
- Use alfalfa leaves- 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 the 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 a regular basis to get rid of the marks completely.
- Try 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- Apply honey on the affected area and wash it off after a few minutes with warm water. Honey can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
- Apply aloe vera- Apply aloe vera regularly on the affected area to get rid of the marks. It will also soothe and heal your skin.
- Use oil treatments- Use oils like castor oil, Vitamin E oil, olive oil, etc., to massage the affected area. Massaging with these oils help improve 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. that can reduce the appearance of stretch marks. But you should consult your doctor before opting for any treatment. Better yet, try these home remedies to reduce their appearance if you are not a fan of those stripes on your skin. Most importantly, don’t worry about stretch marks on your skin – take pride in them – they are a reminder of your beautiful pregnancy journey!
Also Read: Skin Care During Pregnancy