Stretch Marks

Stretch MarksWhat are stretch marks?

First of all, what exactly are stretch marks?

Stretch marks, or striae, are small, uneven stripes in the skin that occur when your body is growing too fast for your skin to keep up. This phenomenon causes your skin’s elastic fibers to break, resulting in unsightly lines and marks. While anyone can undergo stretch marks due to a sudden and rapid weight surge, pregnant women usually see them appearing on the abdomen towards the end of their pregnancy when their skin is stretching to accommodate a growing baby. Although, while the tummy is the most common, they may also appear on the breasts, upper arms, buttocks, thighs and hips.

Depending on your skin color, stretch marks may appear pink, reddish-brown, dark brown or purple; and while they will later fade, they will never completely disappear.

Will I get stretch marks?

Many women stress over the possibility of stretch marks when nearly 90% of women will see them appearing around their sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. Expecting mothers may try as many prevention techniques as they like but the fact remains that the majority of women will get them.

Over the years, research has begun to suggest that genetics play a significant role in striae. Ask your mother and keep an eye on your sister: if either one has stretch marks chances are you will have them as well.

Additionally, the more your skin is forced to quickly expand during pregnancy, the more likely you are to develop stretch marks. This is why mothers carrying multiples, or mothers with an excess of amniotic fluid, will usually see them.

Can I prevent stretch marks?

Unfortunately, all the prevention creams, lotions and oils claiming to thwart stretch marks have never been proven realistically effective. Your body will continue to grow and your skin will stretch with it accordingly. However, expectant mothers can attempt to stay within the recommended amount of weight gain, usually between 25-30 pounds, and gain it slowly rather than hurriedly. If your skin is given enough time to catch up with your growing body, there is a slim chance you can reduce the amount of stretch.

If I do get stretch marks, what can I do to get rid of them?

No matter what practices or products you try, your stretch marks will never entirely vanish. But, if they are still bothering you after you’ve given birth, there is no harm in setting up an appointment with your dermatologist to discuss your options.

It’s important to note that stretch marks are considered a cosmetic matter, so your insurance probably won’t cover any costs associated with a cosmetic treatment option, such as laser treatment to fix the skin’s elasticity and color.

Expecting and new mothers should remember that some topical creams and lotions may not be healthy to use while breastfeeding your child.