Stretch marks are a condition that can occur in both men and women as a result of the breaking of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin.
During pregnancy, it is common for women to develop stretch marks in specific areas of the body as the skin expands to accommodate the growing baby over several months.
They are most commonly found on the abdomen or breasts. Stretch marks on the abdomen are due to the growth of the uterus and usually appear in the second trimester of pregnancy.
How can we tell that they are about to appear? It’s simple: the affected area will start to itch. When the skin stretches, it becomes thinner and takes on a pink tone, which causes itching.
Other areas where stretch marks can develop include the lower back, buttocks, or even the vagina. They generally appear in areas where fat accumulates.
Two types of stretch marks are easily recognizable:
Red stretch marks: These are distinguished by their reddish tone and the texture they create on the skin. They do not indicate any health risks.
White stretch marks: White stretch marks are the red stretch marks that have been on our body for a longer period, almost like scars from not treating them in time, making them more difficult to eliminate. They are typical in the later stages of pregnancy when the skin returns to its natural state (stretched and less textured).
Why do they appear?
As mentioned earlier, stretch marks occur when collagen and elastin fibers in the dermis, the inner layer of the skin, tear.
These fibers are elastic to accommodate the skin’s changes in volume. However, when the skin stretches abruptly, as is the case during pregnancy, collagen production is disrupted because there is not enough time to produce it.
As a result, the elastic fibers break, leading to the appearance of these scars on the skin known as stretch marks.
In addition to sudden weight changes, there are other causes of stretch mark formation, such as the use of corticosteroids, dry skin, poor nutrition, or even genetic factors.
How can we prevent stretch marks during pregnancy?
When a pregnant woman seeks treatment for stretch marks, it’s important to remember that these marks are a normal part of pregnancy, signifying the incredible journey our bodies go through.
There are no pharmacological treatments or similar methods to prevent the appearance of stretch marks, only to reduce their occurrence.
However, there are some tips to minimize their appearance or even attempt to eliminate them. Here are some of them:
Nutrition: Vitamins A, C, and E help with collagen production, the fiber that breaks and causes stretch marks.
Exercise: Engaging in moderate physical exercise helps the skin become more elastic and stretched.
Hydration: Drinking water is essential to support pregnancy and keep the body hydrated.
Skin hydration: There are specialized creams for stretch marks, such as belly balm, that help prevent their appearance by increasing the natural elasticity of the skin.
One of the most reliable products in this category is Jess Beauty’s belly balm. Considering the reputation and trustworthiness of the brand is essential when choosing how to take care of ourselves.
Established and reputable brands often prioritize quality and safety in their formulations. Jess Beauty is a highly recommended and reliable brand that prioritizes high-quality, effective, and safe ingredients while producing high-quality products.
Sun exposure: Sun exposure should be avoided as it dries out the skin more rapidly and makes it more sensitive.
Massages: Massages help improve blood circulation and stimulate circulation. It is ideal to apply them to the areas most prone to stretch marks (belly or breasts).
Exfoliating the skin helps with cell renewal and improves collagen production. It is preferable to do it gently and use natural products.
How to eliminate stretch marks
After childbirth, stretch marks begin to fade, although they may not disappear completely.
Truly, treating stretch marks at the earliest opportunity is crucial. As previously stated, eliminating them while they are still red is far simpler than dealing with the marks after they have become white.
Some of the most effective treatments for eliminating stretch marks include:
Cosmetics: Creams containing vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, onion extract, or Centella Asiatica are used to treat new, red stretch marks. Some interesting products include shea butter, rose hip oil, and coconut oil.
Retinol peeling: Retinol stimulates cell renewal and the production of new collagen. It cannot be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as it is aggressive and can irritate the skin.
Laser: Pulsed light therapy is a painless treatment used to eliminate red stretch marks. Fractional laser treatment stimulates collagen production and reduces the texture of stretch marks after several months of treatment.
Dermabrasion: This is a mechanical exfoliation that removes the superficial layers of the skin and stimulates cell renewal.
Carboxytherapy: Injection of carbon dioxide gas into the tissues contributes to oxygenation, circulation, and collagen and elastin production in the tissues.
Stretch marks are usually annoying. We don’t like to see them and feel like they ruin our skin. What we have to understand is that during pregnancy, it is normal for stretch marks to appear. The best thing we can do is to follow these tips to reduce their appearance and enjoy pregnancy.