Stretch Marks 101

Stretch marks are almost synonymous with pregnancy. We’ve all been warned against them and been offered all kinds of tips and tricks to prevent them. Here’s a closer look at what exactly stretch marks are, what causes them, and how to prevent them.

What Are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are a kind of scar that develops due to the rapid stretching/shrinking of your skin. Essentially, your skin can’t match its production of collagen (which keeps skin elastic) to the speed of weight gain and the amount of stretching (of the skin) needed. The result is thin, long, rippled marks.

As you gain weight during pregnancy and then lose it after the baby arrives, your skin goes through this kind of stretching and shrinkage over a relatively short time. When your skin starts to heal, it leaves behind scars in the form of stretch marks.

What Do Stretch Marks Look Like?

Stretch marks are typically reddish, pink, purple, dark brown, or reddish-brown - the colour varies based on your skin tone - when they first appear. At this stage, they might feel like they’re raised and are often quite itchy. They eventually begin to fade and what remains are narrow, slightly depressed bands beneath the skin.

You could develop them on your belly/abdomen, breasts, buttocks, thighs, and hips. Some women also get them on their arms, back, and shoulders - it depends on where you’ve gained weight during your pregnancy.

Who Can Get Stretch Marks?

Anyone who is rapidly losing or gaining weight could potentially develop them. What’s more, fluctuating hormone levels have also been linked to the risk of developing stretch marks, making pregnancy a time where you’re very likely to develop stretch marks.

That said, not everyone is equally likely to get stretch marks. Some women may get away with relatively milder instances. Those with a family history of stretch marks are at greater risk of developing them. Stretch marks tend to show up in month 6/7 of pregnancy.

Can You Prevent Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks have no harmful effects and are not linked to any medical issues. However, the itchiness and discomfort, as well as visible discoloration they cause to the skin, can be an irritant or cosmetic concern. Which is why most pregnant women try and do their best to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Here are some tips to protect your skin against stretch marks:

  • Discuss healthy weight gain for pregnancy with your doctor. The addition of weight should be gradual and phased during pregnancy. 
  • Try and eat healthy to prevent gaining too much weight too quickly. Foods rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, as well as omega 3 fatty acids are good for the skin. Try and have more of them - they’re present in nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables, and fish.
  • Exercise regularly to enable healthy and controlled weight gain. Always check with your doctor before you begin any exercise regimen.
  • Always keep your skin well moisturized and hydrated with a rich cream or lotion - a good quality stretch marks cream can help too. It will ease itchiness and leave your skin feeling smoother and looking better.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated on the inside and out.

The Best Stretch Mark Remedy

In addition to home remedies and other care, you can also use a stretch marks cream to prevent the lines from appearing. Mamaxpert Stretch Marks Cream is a topical care treatment for stretch marks. This paraben-free, irritant-free product is safe for use during pregnancy. This stretch marks cream contains shea butter, vitamin E, zingiber extract, and other ingredients that help maintain your skin’s elasticity, soothe irritated/itchy skin, and reduce the appearance of scars and marks.  Simply apply to the area with stretch marks in a circular motion until it is completely absorbed. It will leave your skin feeling nourished and supple.

Learn about other new mom concerns and pick up pregnancy-related tips on the Mamaxpert Blog to make sure your journey in this phase of your life is as comfortable and fulfilling as it can be. Or find out more about Mamaxpert Stretch Marks Cream to tackle this problem first!