According to studies, 55 to 90% of women are affected by pregnancy stretch marks – nothing rare and nothing new! But each woman experiences them differently: one will want to avoid them at all costs, another will simply want to make them less noticeable, while another will actually take pride in them. It's up to each and every one to decide! But whatever your choice, precious advice can always come handy.
Where do pregnancy stretch marks come from?
Stretch marks – look and feel
Stretch marks are streaks on the skin. Like any scar, they are initially pink and slightly raised, and then fade out somewhat, to leave white marks that can reach up to 10 centimeters in length. They usually appear on the belly, but can also show on thighs, hips or chest. They can appear as early as the second trimester, but tend to show later in pregnancy. They can also develop in the early weeks after childbirth.
The hormone-kilo combo
How exactly do stretch marks appear on skin? Stretch marks result both from weight gain and hormonal changes. And pregnancy surely combines both!
Pregnancy strains the elasticity of the skin, especially in the stomach area. The skin stretches and its elastic fibers and collagen can eventually crack, causing the stretch mark. This phenomenon is emphasized by the fact that during these nine months, the increase in hormones, such as cortisol and estrogen, decreases the production of elastin and collagen, which are essential for skin flexibility and resistance.
How to avoid pregnancy stretch marks
Does the idea of stretch marks upset you? If so, you need to take action early and regularly, because once they’ve set in, it’s more difficult to get entirely rid of them. A few lifestyle habits can help you prevent them:
- Calm your cravings with a handful of almonds or hazelnuts for a change! Weight should not become an obsession, but do try to avoid unnecessary calories. Your body will reward you for this!
- After showering, go by this golden rule: moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! Skin elasticity comes with a little effort and lots of nourishing!
- Once a week, give yourself a scrub. Removing impurities from your epidermis will optimize the penetration of moisturizing active ingredients. What’s more: your skin will recover its super baby-soft touch!
- Massage with a pregnancy-special oil or cream which acts directly on the production of skin-supporting fibers. Make sure you do a real massage with circular motions, it's even better.
- Drink a lot of water: skin is also hydrated from inside.
Remedies to reduce pregnancy stretch marks
Like all scars, stretch marks will fade over time. But if you feel uncomfortable with them, you can also boost this process a little.
Looking for effective recipes? Try ultra-targeted treatments that combine natural active ingredients, vitamins and trace elements. This combination helps to reduce the size and fade the colour of stretch marks. Applied twice a day, preferably with a palpate-roll massage, they offer stunning results. Also try to avoid sun exposure to a maximum, as for any scars.
A step further
If you’re really embarrassed by your stretch marks, you can take it a step further with other solutions such as:
- Microdermabrasion, to renew the epidermis’ layers
- Laser treatments that reduce scars
But keep in mind that stretch marks never disappear completely.
Embracing your stretch marks
There’s also another option: embrace your remaining stretch marks and don’t try to hide them at all costs! Today, supported by the Positive Body feminist trend, many people also promote "natural bodies". The idea is to accept and love all human body types, instead of aiming for an unreachable ideal. Some women even take pride in their stretch marks, via the #stretchmarksarebeautiful hashtag on Instagram. Rapper Kendrick Lamar, in his song Humble for instance, also says that he’s sick of Photoshop, and wants something “natural, like stretch marks”. So, if Kendrick says so ...