Parent Time

Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy: Causes and Home Remedies

Weight gain or rapid growth causes stretch marks as the skin expands to accommodate more fluids, widening hips, or the bulge caused by a baby. Some women get stretch marks on their breasts at puberty, when the Breast Fairy arrives with an overnight B-cup: the skin doesn’t have time to grow before the increase in tissue, and the collagen fibers in the skin break, causing what we know as stretch marks. Most women get stretch marks on their abdomens during pregnancy, and many also get them on their breasts. Stretch marks are a normal part of pregnancy—but that doesn’t mean we have to like them!

Avoiding stretch marks is practically impossible, but some women have found ways to prevent them. The accepted wisdom is that keeping the skin hydrated also keeps it elastic. Hydration has everything to do with how much water you drink, so if you’re sick of pouring in 64 ounces a day, encourage yourself to new heights of liquidity by reminding yourself that you’re also hydrating your skin.

Home Remedies to Get Rid of Stretch Marks

Stretch marks probably have a lot to do with heredity, but you can also make an attempt at prevention by using creams or lotions rich in Vitamin E. Some experts are recommending alpha-hydroxy lotions, but it’s hard to understand why a chemical used to thin and peel skin would be useful for something happening inside the skin: it may be a fad. Vitamin E is the most tried-and-true remedy for most skin issues: take it internally and rub it into your skin, too. Don’t fall for cures or creams that say they “contain” Vitamin E, along with a dozen other trendy ingredients. You can buy pure Vitamin E capsules at any drugstore: if you get them as dietary supplements, you can break them open to use them externally, too. Olive oil is fairly high in Vitamin E; grapeseed oil isn’t.

Cocoa butter has been used for ages and some people swear by it. Rubbing the skin with any sort of emollient may help avoid or lessen the impact of stretch marks, or help them heal more evenly once you have them. It may be the massage itself that does the job, but natural massage oils of almond, coconut or sesame certainly won’t hurt.

Can Stretch Marks Go Away?

Let’s start with the bad news first: stretch marks, once created, don’t entirely go away. That said, let’s quickly follow up with some good news: stretch marks, which start out as red, angry-looking streaks, eventually fade all by themselves, usually into silvery, much less-visible streaks. Time itself will reduce the look of stretch marks; unless you’re a Playboy Bunny, you may find that the small, satiny scars on your abdomen don’t get in your way in the least.

Hide and Reduce Stretch Marks

There are a million stretch mark “cures”—herbs, creams and procedures—promising stretch mark removal, claiming to eliminate stretch marks. They don’t work. Don’t waste your money on hype: if there were an actual cure for stretch marks, we’d all know about it.

Once you’ve had your baby and lost your pregnancy weight, laser therapy can fade the redness or reduce the wrinkling of faded stretch marks. Even then, be careful about the medical professional you consult. Really good doctors will do a small test treatment for free, because not all skin responds to laser therapy the same way. Some people get fine results; others won’t. A smart doctor won’t waste patients’ time and money with an uncertain treatment.

If laser therapy doesn’t interest you and your stretch marks are only occasionally on display when the right bathing suit goes to the pool, find some waterproof makeup in just the right shade, and cover those little lines up. That’s right—hide them.

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