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Postpartum

The Truth About Stretch Marks

By Tracey Montford

May 06, 2021


Stretch marks. We have all had them or will have them in our lifetime. Whether you love them or hate them, they are just a normal part of life and an especially normal part of pregnancy and becoming a mother. 

This is probably one of the most feared external pregnancy symptoms that women face, and with this comes some myths about what causes them and how you can prevent them. But the reality is, stretch marks are often heredity and cannot be prevented completely. 

Stretch marks are a very important topic to touch on, especially in today’s society where everything is retouched and edited on social media, making us feel even more insecure than ever about our own appearances. 

In our eyes, stretch marks represent battle scars. Going through pregnancy and labour is no easy task, in fact it’s arguably one of the most painful and testing times of a woman’s life. That’s why we believe stretch marks should be viewed as a sign of this huge accomplishment. 

In saying that, it’s much easier said than done and feeling insecure about stretch marks is still a huge issue among women alike. 

In today’s blog post we wanted to delve into the truth behind stretch marks, including what they are, what causes them, whether you can get rid of them or even prevent them in the first place.

What are stretch marks?

During pregnancy, our hormones weaken the elastic fibres in our skin. As your belly expands, these fibres continue to stretch and snap, just like a rubber band, ultimately leaving stretch marks. Therefore, the faster your belly grows, presumably, the more stretch marks you will get. 

But like we mentioned earlier, heredity plays a huge role in how your skin responds to stretching which explains why stretch marks differ greatly from woman to woman.

What causes stretch marks?

Pregnancy is one of the most common reasons many women will get stretch marks. Since the belly expands at such a rapid rate, the skin is often stretched significantly. 

Whether or not you will experience a lot of stretch marks during your pregnancy has a lot to do with your genetics and the elasticity of your skin. So you can thank your mum for your abundance or lack of stretch marks. 

Another important factor in pregnancy and getting stretch marks is the amount of weight you put on during your pregnancy. It is totally normal to gain weight during pregnancy, if you are anything like me you had a huge craving for Indian food, which meant at the end of my pregnancy I was definitely tipping the scales more than I should have. 

This weight gain can greatly contribute to the addition of some new stretch marks. The faster your skin stretches, the more likely it is to leave a mark. 

Other factors such as rapid weight gain, rapid growth, puberty, rapid weight loss, and genetics can play a role.

Can you get rid of stretch marks?

The age old question everyone is dying to find out the answer to. Can you actually completely get rid of those stretch marks? Unfortunately there is no proven way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. It is simply a natural part of pregnancy that cannot be predicted or prevented. 

Now in saying that, this doesn’t mean there aren’t methods that can help minimise the appearance of stretch marks for those who are willing to pay the price tag, which can often be quite hefty. 

We have to preface this by saying you don’t need to prevent, remove or reduce the appearance of stretch marks. As we have said and will continue to say, stretch marks represent the amazing journey you went through. These are battle scars.

Laser Treatment

Laser treatment is a more abrasive option that can be used to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. It can quite often be a painful experience that isn’t pleasant but you will see the quickest results compared to other less expensive methods. 

Laser treatment involves using tiny micro needles and radio frequency to create micro wounds which naturally triggers the body’s healing response. This means new skill cells are generated and will replace the damaged ones, visibly reducing the appearance of stretch marks. 

Although this method is not guaranteed and it may not completely get rid of your stretch marks, it dramatically helps reduce the appearance.

Home Remedies

There are many natural home remedies that can help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

These include:

  • Castor oil
  • Aloe vera
  • Egg whites
  • Lemon juice
  • Sugar
  • Potato juice

Bear in mind, these haven’t been scientifically proven but they are thought to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Creams

There are many creams available on the market that claim they reduce the appearance of stretch marks and even prevent them. While this sounds great, it is often an empty promise. In fact, there is very little proven effectiveness that these creams work. They may help to slightly reduce the appearance if you use them extremely consistently. If your stretch marks are new, they’re easier to treat which means creams may actually come in handy if you want to reduce the appearance. 

But the bottom line is, these creams are not a miracle product despite how some brands market them. If you’re searching for an affordable, low-risk, potential solution, they may work for you.

Stretch Mark Myths

Myth #1 — Applying cocoa butter creams during pregnancy can prevent stretch marks.

When a woman is pregnant, no amount of cream or oil rubbed into the skin can prevent the formation of stretch marks. It really all depends on the woman’s genes, skin elasticity and collagen levels. Creams and oils are great moisturisers, however they cannot be absorbed deeply enough to stop the marks from occurring. 

Myth #2 — Pregnancy stretch marks will spread to other body parts.

Stretch marks will develop due to the strain on the elastin fibres of the skin. While they can occur in other parts of the body during pregnancy, this is only if that particular area is undergoing rapid growth.

Myth #3 — Only overweight women are prone to stretch marks.

This one is completely false. Yes, weight gain can increase the amount of stretch marks you get but it is natural for all women to get stretch marks during pregnancy. It is pretty much all down to genetics when it comes to stretch marks. As a matter of fact, over 90% of women will get stretch marks during pregnancy and body weight has absolutely nothing to do with it. 

Myth #4 — Stretch marks last forever.

Another false myth. Many people believe that pregnancy stretch marks will last forever. But the good news is that after having your baby, regular exercise and drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated can help reduce stretch marks significantly over time. This won’t happen overnight, this is a long-term result that you will see over the next few years.

Stretch marks are often viewed as a problem or something that needs to be “fixed”, but we believe the contrary. They’re beautiful reminders of the journey we went through to become mothers.

Carrying our children for nine months is far from easy, so it’s important to remember what our bodies can do and look at our stretch marks with pride.

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