pregnancy stretch marks

How Do I Get Rid Of Pregnancy Stretch Marks?

One thing that every pregnant woman worries about is stretch marks and how to get rid of them. 

If your growing baby bump has sprouted a network of white, red or purple-hued lines (or you’re suddenly noticing them across your hips, bum or breasts), you’re not alone. 

Stretch marks are a common occurrence for pregnant women. 

They usually start to appear between 13 and 21 weeks and are caused by tears in the tissue under your skin as it stretches to accommodate your growing baby

Anyone can get them, but stretch marks are often more visible on fair-skinned moms, and you’re more likely to get them if your mom had them, too. 

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to diminish and even prevent the appearance of baby beauty marks.

What Are Stretch Marks? 

Stretch marks, known as “striae gravidarum” in pregnancy, are a type of scar.

They look like indented streaks on your skin. They can be pink, red, black, blue, or purple. It all depends on:

  • how they’re caused
  • where they are on your body
  • how old they are

Sometimes, when stretch marks first appear, they can feel slightly raised, but eventually, they’ll feel like slight depressions in your skin.

When they first show up, they might also be itchy.

What Causes Them?

Like their name implies, stretch marks develop as your skin stretches quickly.

This stretching tears the supportive structures in the middle or bottom layer of tissues of your skin, creating the scar.

Stretch marks usually happen during growth spurts, rapid weight gain, or, of course, pregnancy. 

In fact, up to 90 per cent of pregnant people will get stretch marks by their third trimester.

  • Usually, they’ll appear on your:
  • belly
  • buttocks
  • breasts
  • thighs

Still, not everyone gets stretch marks, and not everyone gets them with the same severity level.

A large but self-reported 2013 study suggests that some people are genetically more prone to getting stretch marks than others. 

So, if your mom or your grandmother got them during their pregnancy, there’s a good chance that you will, too.

Cortisone, a hormone made by your adrenal glands, can weaken your skin’s elasticity, creating stretch marks more likely to form. 

This is why you may also get stretch marks more frequently if you use corticosteroids or have certain conditions, like Cushing’s syndrome or Marfan syndrome.

Research, including a 2017 review, suggests that during pregnancy, you’re more likely to get stretch marks if you’re younger or if you gain weight too quickly. 

Hormone levels during pregnancy can also play a role.

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Is It Possible To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks After Pregnancy? 

Well, this is the bad news: Like any scar, stretch marks are permanent. You’ll never be able to get rid of them completely.

We know this might be not very pleasant. 

It can be hard to accept that your body has changed forever, even if the change occurred due to something as unique as childbirth.

But here’s some good news: Most stretch marks will fade naturally on their own after your baby is born. 

Not only that, but you can make them even less noticeable with different treatments.

pregnancy stretch marks (3)

Preventing Stretch Marks

Indeed, there is a lot of talk about preventing stretch marks in pregnancy

While you can take steps to minimise stretch marks in pregnancy, proper prevention is technically not possible for every mother. 

Some of what will determine whether or not you get stretch marks is genetic.

Do you have a family history of really awful stretch marks? 

If yes, you may be fighting a tough battle, but there are things that you can do that may help you avoid severe stretch marks.

  • Watch the weight gain. Try to gain weight slowly and steadily. It would help if you also avoid excess weight gain.
  • Eat well. Healthy skin has fewer stretch marks. Good nutrition is a part of that process.
  • Use creams and lotions. This is partly an old wives tale and partly a comfort measure, but keeping your belly lathered up is never a bad idea.

If you’re pregnant, always check with your doctor before using any products that claim to treat or prevent stretch marks.

So, What Are Some Ways To Fade Stretch Marks?

In general, it seems that treating early stretch marks is more effective than treating older ones, according to another 2017 review. So, if you can, try to start your treatment early.

Don’t get discouraged if you didn’t know, though. It’s not too late to start.

Not every treatment will work the same for everyone. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk with your dermatologist or doctor. 

They can discuss the different options with you and help you figure out what might work best for you and your skin.

Here are a few options that you might look into:

Massage With Oil

Massaging the skin of your hips, belly, and bust is one of the best ways to treat stretch marks after pregnancy. 

A gentle massage increases blood flow and breaks up the scar tissue that causes stretch marks. We recommend using a healing oil to reduce friction during the massage and give your skin the vitamins and minerals it needs to repair itself.

Apply some oil to the palms of your hands, and then gently massage your belly. Focus on this area for two minutes, reapplying oil as needed. 

When the two minutes are up, move to another area with stretch marks and repeat the process.

For extra healing, you can try soaking in a warm bath for ten minutes or taking a warm shower before your massage to soften your skin and open up your pores.

Apply A Specialised Cream

Specialised creams are the simplest way to treat stretch marks after pregnancy. 

Their unique formulas—which include natural ingredients like avocado peptides, sunflower seed oil, and beeswax—help heal stretch marks in the deeper layers of your skin while keeping the upper layers soft and supple.

One application in the morning and one application in the evening provides continuous healing for pregnancy stretch marks.

Stay Hydrated To Treat Pregnancy Stretch Marks

We’re probably not the first to tell you how important it is to drink plenty of water. 

It’s cliché, but it’s true! The water you drink provides your skin with the hydration necessary for it to remain healthy.

When skin cells have an ample supply of water, they’re able to function properly and repair themselves more efficiently. 

This means your skin is better able to recover from pregnancy stretch marks. In addition, we suggest drinking at least eight cups of water every day to keep your skin cells healthy and hydrated!

Keep Your Skin Moisturised

Moisture is one of the most critical components of a healthy skincare routine.

It keeps your skin smooth and bright, helps maintain your skin’s protective outer layer, and preserves skin elasticity. As a bonus, it helps heal stretch marks, too.

Medical professionals recommend choosing your skincare products carefully when you’re still breastfeeding. 

Some moisturisers contain ingredients that may find their way into your breast milk. 

The effect of these ingredients on newborns is unknown, so it’s best to avoid using these skincare products altogether.

In particular, avoid Retinoid and products with Retinol, Retinol-A, or some other compound variant. 

Parabens are also unsafe. Always try to choose skincare products made from natural ingredients.

Using a hypoallergenic soothing cream in the morning and evening is an easy and effective way to ensure your skin is adequately moisturised. 

The healing cream uses potent ingredients like ceramides to strengthen stretch-marked skin, alleviate itchiness, and boost elasticity.

Exercise To Improve Skin & Muscle Tone

Exercise can be a fun and effective method for repairing stretch marks after pregnancy. 

Even light exercise, such as walking and yoga, can strengthen the muscles of your hips, thighs, and belly (the areas where stretch marks most often appear). 

Strengthening those muscles helps to tighten loose, stretch-marked skin and promotes faster healing.

Any exercise will do, so pick the one you enjoy. 

There are many options to choose from, such as swimming, walking, running, weight training, yoga, and pilates.

Depending on your fitness level and the exercise(s) you choose, we suggest starting with one day per week and gradually increasing to two, three, four, or even five days per week.

Rejuvenate Skin With Home Remedies

Egg whites contain many beneficial nutrients, such as protein, potassium, riboflavin, and magnesium. 

These nutrients are great for the health of your skin and can be used to heal pregnancy stretch marks. Here’s how they work:

  • Protein maintains skin elasticity, tissue repair, and growth.
  • Potassium puts moisture back into your skin and keeps it from evaporating.
  • Riboflavin eliminates toxic free radicals in your skin.
  • Magnesium delays the aging process and keeps skin looking youthful and radiant.

The easiest way to direct these healing nutrients to stretch-marked skin is to whip up an egg white peel

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Here’s how to do it.

  • In a small bowl, separate two egg whites from their yolks. Note that two egg whites are enough for an area about the size of your face. Use more or fewer egg whites, depending on the location you need to cover.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they’re foamy.
  • Wash your face with lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser.
  • Apply the whipped egg whites to stretch-marked-skin.
  • Let the egg whites dry for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse off the egg white peel with warm water.
  • Pat skin dry with a soft towel.

Your skin will feel tighter and more radiant, and the nutrients will penetrate deep to heal stubborn stretch marks.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is widely known for its sunburn healing properties. But it’s not just for sunburns. Aloe vera promotes healing in general and soothes your skin. 

And we’re not talking about the kind of aloe vera gel you typically find at your local store. We’reInstead, we’re talking about fresh gel — the gel from the actual aloe vera plant.

Follow these instructions to treat your stretch marks using aloe vera gel:

  • Rub the gel directly over your stretch marks.
  • Leave the aloe vera gel on for 15 minutes, and then wash it off with lukewarm water.
  • Apply twice per day as needed.

Honey Scrub

Honey is a product you want to have on hand. But did you know that honey has antiseptic properties that are known to reduce the appearance of stretch marks? 

But for the honey to be effective, it needs to be raw — meaning unfiltered and unprocessed — and organic.

Here are the steps to follow for a honey scrub:

  • Apply honey to a small cloth.
  • Place the fabric over your stretch marks. Leave it on your targeted area until the love dries.
  • Rinse off the love using warm water.

Another option:

Prepare a honey scrub by mixing honey with salt and glycerin (a natural compound in the form of a liquid found in animal- and plant-derived fats). 

Apply the scrub to your stretch marks and leave it on until it dries. Then, rinse it off using warm water.

Note: You can buy glycerin at your local grocery store.

Sugar Scrub

Sugar! Who would have known this product can be used for stretch marks? We’re sure you have it sitting in your pantry as you read this. It’s an excellent exfoliator for removing dead skin cells and can help lighten your stretch marks.

Here’s how to make and use a sugar scrub:

  • Mix one tablespoon of sugar with almond oil (or another carrier oil, such as olive oil) and add a few drops of lemon juice.
  • Use this mixture as a scrub before you take a shower.
  • Do this every day for a month.

Lemon Juice

Try this home remedy next since you now have some lemon juice on hand after making your sugar scrub. 

Lemons are known for lightening the pigmentation of your skin. But, as you’ve probably noticed, skin discolouration often accompanies stretch marks.

Lemon juice is naturally acidic, making it useful for healing acne, pimples, and other skin conditions. 

These acidic properties also help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and speed up the healing process.

Follow these steps to make the most of your lemon juice:

  • Rub fresh lemon juice on your stretch marks. (Again, not the lemon juice you’ve bought in a bottle, but preferably the juice from a freshly squeezed lemon).
  • Leave it on for about 10 minutes to let your skin absorb the liquid.
  • Rinse off the lemon juice using warm water.
  • Apply every day for optimal results.

Ice Stretch Marks To Reduce Inflammation

As you know by now, stretch marks are tiny scars that form as your skin stretches. 

As they heal, these tiny scars can cause inflammation and swelling, making stretch marks look even worse. 

Rubbing ice on stretch-marked skin can help relieve and reduce this swelling and inflammation.

A reusable ice pack stored in the freezer makes it quick and easy to apply cold whenever the opportunity presents itself. 

If you don’t have an ice pack, try putting some ice cubes in a Ziploc bag.

Wrap the cold pack in a dish towel or pillowcase so that the ice doesn’t come directly in contact with your skin. 

Start with your belly. Hold it on your skin for up to ten minutes, then move to your thigh and hold the cold pack on your skin for another ten minutes. 

Repeat this process for all areas of your body that have stretch marks.

Exfoliate Once Per Week

Your skin does a great job of repairing and rejuvenating all by itself. You can help the process, though, by exfoliating stretch-marked skin once per week. 

Exfoliating helps remove the top layer of dead skin cells and promotes growth and healing in the deeper layers of skin where stretch marks form.

We suggest a natural product like baking soda or witch hazel. Both products are gentle on your skin so that they won’t cause dryness, irritation, or inflammation. 

The best time to exfoliate is in the morning, after your skin has had time to complete its natural reparative process. 

Pick one day each week to help heal pregnancy stretch marks by exfoliating the skin on your belly, hips, thighs, and bust.

Eat Well

Keeping a healthy diet is a crucial component of your overall well-being. It helps you keep your body slim, your mind sharp, and your skin healthy. 

This includes repairing any stretch marks caused during pregnancy!

Wondering what changes you need to make to your diet? Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is always a good place to start. 

Avoid junk food, fried foods, and anything processed. Eat meat and fatty foods in moderation. Keep an eye on your sodium intake.

Finally, cut sugary drinks, like soft drinks and colas, from your diet, and try to replace them with green tea or water. Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to healthy eating habits!

Of course, eating well isn’t just good for getting rid of stretch marks. It’s also essential when you’re breastfeeding. 

Try to stick to the healthiest breastfeeding diet possible to ensure your loved one is getting all the nutrients they need.

It can seem challenging to get all of your daily nutrients from your regular diet, so you may be considering taking supplements or a daily vitamin pill. 

That’s perfectly fine! Just make sure that you choose the right one. You may continue taking your daily prenatal supplements, or you can switch to a postnatal vitamin, which is packed with vitamin D.

If you’re looking for an ordinary daily nutrition supplement, pick one that has 100 per cent of your daily recommended values of each vitamin and mineral, but no more than that.

Some supplements have, for example, 500 per cent of your daily amount of certain nutrients, and you should avoid those if you’re breastfeeding.

Just continue eating lots of fruits and veggies, and you’ll be as healthy as can be! And if you have questions about which supplements are safe to take while you’re breastfeeding, talk to your doctor right away.

pregnancy stretch marks

Relax To Help Your Skin Heal

When you get stressed, your body releases hormones that interfere with your skin’s natural healing and regulation process. 

This slows the healing process of your stretch marks after pregnancy.

You can avoid these issues by taking some time each day to relax and unwind. This helps to reduce the hormones that could prevent your stretch marks from healing. 

Your method of relaxing could be as simple as listening to your favourite music or reading a book.

Meditation is also a great way to relax after a hard day. Find a comfortable position, take deep breaths, and let your thoughts go. 

A guided yoga class can be an easy way to combine relaxation and exercise with helping heal stretch marks after pregnancy.

Give It Time!

We know how eager new moms can be to get rid of their pregnancy stretch marks after birth.

Unfortunately, it takes some time! 

Stretch marks don’t simply go away—your skin slowly repairs the tears that your pregnancy caused, and, over time, the effects begin to fade. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen!

Lasers For Stretch Marks

As with many things, the more influential the treatment, the more costly it, laser stretch mark removal falls into this category. 

It is the most effective but the most costly. This should be reserved for when you are done having children. 

Different types of lasers can be used; this is determined by the stretch marks you have: rubra or alba.

These laser treatments to get rid of stretch marks can cost $400-800 per visit. So you may need to visit the dermatologist three or more times to see results. 

This is not something that your insurance company often covers, so the costs are out of your pocket.

Another option is micro-needling, which uses radio frequencies to help reduce skin problems like acne and stretch marks. 

Compared to laser therapy, micro-needling typically has a shorter recovery period and may be less likely to lead to hyperpigmentation of the skin.

Timing Is Everything

Stretch marks have a life cycle. At first, they are red, purple, and brightly coloured. At this point in the life cycle of a stretch mark, they are called striae Rubra. 

During this phase, they are easier to treat. This gives you more flexibility in how you can deal with them.

After time has passed, the stretch marks change. They become fainter in colour, an almost silvery white. 

At this point, they are known as striae alba. Once they have reached the alba phase, they are much harder to treat. Therefore it is essential to treat them as soon as possible for the maximum benefit.

The Bottom Line

Having a baby is a big deal. Remember: Your body just went through a lot, bringing your little one into the world. 

Those stretch marks are a testament to what you went through — and you have no reason to be ashamed of them.

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