8 Tips to Minimize Stretch Marks During and After Pregnancy

Sep 30 2016 Tags: Beauty Tips, Pregnancy, Skin Care

Pregnancy Stretch Marks

Lots of things change after having a baby. Along with a changing schedule, there are also many physical changes on your body. Among these physical changes include stretch marks.

You may have noticed that your belly was so itchy when you were pregnant or saw the stretch marks as your tummy grew. These often start out reddish or purple, but after pregnancy they will slowly fade to white or gray.

Whether you get stretch marks depends a lot on genetics and how quickly you gain weight. Most pregnant women get them on their sixth month of pregnancy.  If your mother or sister had stretch marks, then you’re more likely to have them too. Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to prevent stretch marks but there are some things you can do to minimize them during pregnancy and after pregnancy:

  1. Gain Weight Gradually - Stretch marks result from excessive stretching of the skin. As the body gets bigger, the skin has to get bigger, too. During pregnancy or major weight gain, the skin is forced to stretch too much and too quickly. This breaks the elastic fibers under the surface of the skin resulting in pink, red or purple stretch marks. Stretch marks often appear on the belly in the third trimester but they might also show up on the breasts, upper arms, hips, buttocks or anywhere with heavy concentrations of fat cells. If you are at a healthy weight, try to gain about 25-35 pounds slowly and steadily.

  2. Moisturize the Area with a Rich Lotion - using a rich lotion, cream or other thick moisturizing agents such as vitamin E oil or coconut oil will make your skin look smoother and minimize itchiness. You can also use aloe vera gel to soothe and moisturize your skin or a do-it-yourself stretch mark cream using few natural ingredients from your kitchen to save money. Women who regularly moisturize their skin will tend to get fewer stretch marks compared to those who don’t. Just make sure to choose products that are organic and proven safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

  3. Drink More Water - During pregnancy, your body has an increased demand for hydration. Your skin also needs more water for optimal skin elasticity. Try to drink 8 to 12 glasses of water every day. You should also pay attention to how you are feeling. If your lips or throat is dry, that is a sure sign of dehydration. Tiredness, headaches or lack of concentration are also signs of dehydration.

  4. Exercise to Fight Stretch Marks - Doing exercises that target the muscles of the areas with stretch marks help tone the skin and regenerate tissues.

  5. Eat a Skin-Nourishing Diet - Consuming foods that are beneficial for the health of your skin can improve your skin’s elasticity and prevent stretch marks. Foods rich in vitamins A, C, E, omega 3s and antioxidants should be included in your diet.

  6. Fade Stretch Marks with Topical Treatments - The best time to treat stretch marks is while they’re still new and reddish. Choose products with hyaluronic acid to fade stretch marks after 12 weeks of daily use. You can also ask your dermatologist to prescribe retinoid which speeds up cell turnover and stimulates new collagen growth for smoother and healthier skin. Other exfoliating products like tretinoin and glycolic acid can also remove the top layer of skin cells to stimulate fresh skin formation and can reduce the severity of stretch marks. Tretinoin is most effective on newer, red marks BUT you should steer clear of tretinoin and other retinoids if you are pregnant or nursing.

  7. Renew Skin with Dermabrasion - Dermabrasion can treat older stretch marks and it is also a gentle option to renew the skin and stimulate collagen production. It often takes more sessions to get rid of stretch marks so you couldn’t expect a big change on your skin right away. However, compared to laser therapy in terms of cost, dermabrasion is cheaper.

  8. Remove Stretch Marks with Lasers - Laser light is used to burn off the scarred skin in order for new skin to grow in its place. This procedure boosts collagen growth and shrinks dilated blood vessels. When it comes to stretch marks, laser treatments, particularly pulsed dye laser and fractional ablative lasers, work much better than dermabrasion. These two laser therapy may give noticeable improvement on your skin but they are very costly. You should see a certified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon for this procedure.

Stretch marks will fade drastically over time. They will start out red but they will lighten (usually one or two shades lighter than your skin tone) within a year. The earlier you treat your stretch marks, the better your chance of fading them.


Read our additional Beauty Tips for Pregnant Women: What Beauty Treatments are Safe and What to Avoid?

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