Pregnancy is one of the happiest moments of a woman’s life, but it is also a difficult phase. As the baby grows inside the womb, you can observe changes in the size of the abdomen. The muscles in the abdomen expand and the skin stretches with the baby growing inside the womb. This finally leads to stretch marks. These stretch marks are not permanent and it will disappear if treated in the right time. Stretch marks are very normal and it can be removed by following simple natural remedies.
Stretch mark occurs when our body suddenly gains or losses excess weight. During pregnancy, our body gains a lot of weight which results in stretch marks.
When the stretch marks in pregnancy appear, it is always advisable to cure them as early as possible. That’s because when the stretch marks are at an early stage, they respond best to the treatment.
There are many chemical and surgical treatments available to remove the stretch marks like vascular laser, fractional laser treatment, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) etc. However these treatments have a lot of risks and are expensive.
Reason Behind Stretch Marks:
Stretch marks happen when the skin can’t keep up with the pace with which the body grows during pregnancy. This causes the elastic fibers just under the surface of the skin to break resulting in stretch marks. Growing fast can leave you with stretch marks on your belly and breasts, since these are the two areas where stretch mark occur the most.
Stretch marks can show up on the thighs, buttocks and upper arms as well. The marks are reddish or purple at the beginning but it fades after pregnancy and it becomes white or gray. When the stretch marks are red, purple or brightly colored they are called striae rubra, during this phase the stretch marks are easier to treat. Once it fades and become silvery white, at this point they are known as striae alba, it becomes very difficult to treat them.
If your mother had these stretch marks you will also get it, since genetics also play a role. You may have skipped stretch marks during adolescence, but you can’t avoid it during pregnancy. Neither there are any preventive measures. All you can do is to treat those stretch marks when it first appears. Those who have light complexion will get pinkish stretch marks but those who have darker complexion will get a stretch mark that is lighter than their skin tone. If not treated they become scars that can bother you later.
The best thing you can do is to keep your skin hydrated always. This will prevent dryness and itchiness during pregnancy. This can minimize the number of stretch marks on your skin.
Simple Home Remedies To Remove Pregnancy Stretch Marks:
Pregnant women fret about stretch marks every time they see the mirror. They are scared to think that these marks will never disappear. Fret not dear ladies for we bring you some easy natural solutions to make those stretch marks vanish forever. Though don’t expect a change overnight, you need to follow these home remedies regularly to notice the difference. These remedies are inexpensive and easy to follow on a daily basis.
1. Use a Good Moisturizer:
Studies have shown that people who use a good moisturizer showed a lot of improvement in skin elasticity and appearance. If your skin is well hydrated then it is less prone to suffer from wear and tear.
You can use moisturizer according to your skin type. Women with dry skin should use a cocoa butter infused skin cream and those will oily skin can use an aloe and clay based skin moisturizer to keep those stretch marks during pregnancy away.
One can also prepare a DIY moisturizer by combining equal parts of wheat germ oil, olive oil and aloe vera. If you have oily skin, then you can add mineral clay to it. This is one of the best DIY moisturizer which is free of any chemicals.
2. Glycolic Acid:
Glycolic acid is known to increase the collagen production in the skin. This helps to increase the elasticity of the skin thus removing the appearance of stretch marks after pregnancy. Glycolic acid is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) which is one of the main constituents of chemical peels.
Glycolic acid capsules or tablets can be bought from medical stores – however one should consult the doctor before use.
3. Vitamin E Oil:
Have you been wondering how to remove pregnancy stretch mark? Not to worry. This is regarded as one of the miracle cures to remove pregnancy stretch marks. You can combine the vitamin E oil in any of your favoritemoisturizer, which acts as a carrier base. Apply regularly over the stretch marks for visible results.
4. Essential Oil Massage:
This is one of the best home remedy used since ages to remove after pregnancy stretch marks. Dilute the oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or almond oil and massage over the affected area. Some of the essential oils which can be used for this purpose are:
5. Castor Oil Treatment:
Castor oil is used in many salons to remove stretch marks and they charge an exorbitant amount. You can indulge in castor massage at home by simply rubbing castor oil over the affected areas. Then wrap it with a plastic sheet and place a hot water bottle over it. The heat form the bottle allows the pores to open up and absorption of the oil takes place easily.
6. Vitamin C Supplements:
Vitamin C helps in collagen production and removes the early stage stretch marks. You can combine vitamin C supplements with glycolic acid for best results. However it is always advisable to consult your doctor before undergoing this treatment.
7. Aloe Vera Gel:
This is also one of the best natural methods to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Squeeze out fresh aloe vera gel from the plant and apply it over the affected areas daily. It promotes healing and shows visible results in a few days. It will work over early stage stretch marks only.
8. Shea Butter:
Shea butter is a rich source of vitamin E and carotene which improves the elasticity of the skin and prevents dryness. Apply Shea butter directly on the stretch marks regularly to reduce their appearance. You can also prepare a mixture of Shea butter and lemon juice by mixing 4 teaspoons of Shea butter and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply over the affected areas and keep till it dries. Wash off with cool water and repeat the procedure regularly.
Adequate amount of water should be consumed which helps to increase the elasticity of the skin. You should drink at least 10-12 glasses of water daily to keep your skin and body hydrated.
10. Healthy Lifestyle:
We all know the importance of healthy lifestyle. Include vitamin C, vitamin E and proteins in your regular diet to reduce stretch marks. These vitamins increase collagen production, improve elasticity and encourage tissue repair and growth.
Indulge in daily exercises like walking, jogging, swimming and aerobics. Exercises improve blood flow which reduces the stretch marks.
Retinol can only be used after pregnancy to fade those stretch marks. Retinol if used during pregnancy can cause birth defects. Retinol is the main ingredient in over the counter ointments that remove stretch marks. It works by trying to stimulate collagen production. It can take six weeks for the Retinol to show its results. Don’t expose your skin to sun while treating it with retinol because it might cause burning. So it is a smart choice to stick to these natural remedies to cure stretch marks just when it occurs. Waiting can worsen the condition.
If retinol treatment is causing skin reactions then opt for other over the counter ointments or lotions like:
- Vitamin C
- Hyaluronic acid
- Onion Extract
- Centella Asiatica
These creams can help in your quest to remove stretch marks. However, it is best to consult your doctor before applying them. During pregnancy don’t apply anything without consulting your doctor.
17 Tips to Cure Stretch Marks:
1. Use lotions on new stretch marks or on areas where you think you might get stretch marks. Using lotion on old stretch marks might improve its appearance but it will not be as effective as using them on fresh ones. If the chemicals in the over-the-counter creams are bothering you then make your own moisturizer by blending equal parts of wheat germ oil, olive oil and aloe vera.
2. Add vitamin E oil to any unscented moisturizer and apply it to reduce stretch marks.
3. Massage egg oil regularly from the first trimester since this can prevent stretch marks from appearing. Gently massage egg oil over the abdomen twice a day starting from the 8th week of pregnancy until 6 months after delivery.
4. Increase your vitamin C intake. Dermatologist suggests that 500mg of vitamin C should be taken as an oral supplement to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Use a topical glycolic acid along with vitamin C to reduce stretch marks. Always consult your gynecologist before having any medicines or oral supplements during pregnancy. It is important to know what suits you and what doesn’t.
5. For an older stretch mark you can use SPF 60 directly on the affected areas. The tanning with high SPF lotion conceals the stretch mark.
6. Work out and reduce weight so that stretch marks become less visible. Tummy tuck can help temporarily, if you still gain weight after a tummy tuck stretch marks will appear again
7. Bio-oil (a commercial stretch mark remover) can help to remove stretch marks.
8. You can use Vaseline daily to soothe itching and redness caused by the stretch marks.
9. Remember removing stretch mark is a cosmetic procedure just like liposuction and breast surgery. So think about the pros and cons before going for such treatments. A talk with your doctor can be helpful in this regard.
10. Eat a skin nourishing diet that is healthy and balanced. You must be already doing this for the health of your baby. Also start incorporating foods that can improve your skin’s elasticity. These foods can help-
- Foods rich in antioxidants like spinach, blueberries, strawberries and other fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Foods rich in vitamin E help to protect skin membranes. So have nuts, seeds, avocados, and broccoli.
- Foods containing vitamin A helps to repair skin tissues. So eat carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, squash and red bell peppers.
- Foods containing omega 3 fatty acids make cell membranes healthy and this make your skin glow. So have fish oils, walnuts, eggs and oysters.
11. Stay hydrated by drinking 8 glasses of water. This is what all skincare experts will tell you. Have herbal teas without caffeine to stay hydrated. You can also have fruits and vegetables with high water content like watermelons, cucumbers, fresh bell peppers and celery.
12. Performing exercises during pregnancy like stretch and kegel exercises can improve blood circulation. You can also try a combination of pregnancy yoga and Pilates to maintain a healthy weight. Also prevent the body weight from shooting up suddenly, let the weight increase gradually.
13. Exfoliating your skin using a dry brush improves blood circulation and keeps your skin healthy. Dry brushing is a preventive technique and always use a brush made from natural fibers. The bristles should be stiff but not tough. Start brushing from the bottom of the legs and move upward towards your chest. Focus on areas where stretch marks can appear, but don’t rub hard on the skin of the breasts since they are sensitive .After brushing take a shower to remove the dead skin cells.
14. Don’t use harsh chemicals on your skin. Many commercial body washes contain sulfates, this make the skin dry and reduce the elasticity. So choose a cleanser that has natural oils in it which can hydrate your skin. Coconut oil can act as a healthy skin cleanser. Rub it over your skin and rinse with warm water. Pat your skin dry. If your skin is prone to becoming dry avoid the cleanser. Just wash your skin with warm water and pat dry.
15. Moisturize your skin in those areas where skin appears stretched and itchy. Apply a light moisturizer just after bath in the morning and again at night.
16. If you spending some time outdoors during pregnancy keep your skin protected with a good sunscreen. Apply in those areas where stretch marks can occur.
17. Don’t lose your weight drastically post-delivery. Make sure the weight loss is gradual and no crash diets. Ramp up exercise post-delivery to tone up the skin andthis will naturally make stretch marks less visible.
- Always check the ingredients list before applying a new skincare product. This is very important when you are pregnant or nursing.
- Some treatments such as cream solutions may not be hypoallergenic and can induce allergies.
- Most treatments are partially effective. So set your expectations realistic as stretch marks are permanent in nature.
There are various treatments and over the counter creams that can help fade those stretch marks. Some women accept the new skin they are in, but most complain about the stretch marks. It is best to act on the stretch marks when they are red in color, a soothing salve can do wonders. Don’t neglect those stretchmarks and flaunt a flawless skin throughout your pregnancy.
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