Stretch marks are the one side effect that many of us wish that we could do without when it comes to pregnancy. Oftentimes, they serve as a permanent reminder of the nine months we’ve spent carrying our little bundles of joy, but they don’t have to be.
Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched beyond its ability to snap back, usually occurring during the last trimester of pregnancy, when baby growth is at its peak. Getting rid of them completely will require surgery, but there are things you can do at home to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
First of all, the best thing you can do is to prevent as many stretch marks as possible. Try to keep your weight gain during pregnancy within the normal range per your physician’s directions, moisturize often and drink plenty of water. All of these tips will keep your skin in tiptop shape and reduce the overall number of stretch marks you’ll experience, and their severity.
Next, if you have already developed them, then you should evaluate your stretch marks. New stretch marks will be pink or red in color and have defined ridges. Older stretch marks will be gray or silver and have less pronounced edges. The older the stretch mark is, the easier it will be to reduce or fade.
Go to your local beauty supply store and purchase a stretch mark cream that includes such ingredients as collagen, which will plump the skin, elastin, which will help the skin’s elasticity, pro-retinol and antioxidants, which are designed to remove the outermost layers of skin and reveal the fresh skin underneath. Each of these ingredients will work in combination to help reduce the appearance of your stretch marks. Do not expect your stretch marks to disappear with the use of these creams, but you can expect a marked improvement in their appearance.
Visiting a dermatologist can give you access to additional treatments for stretch marks not widely available to the public. These include microdermabrasion and laser resurfacing. These techniques are used for treating stretch marks similarly to the way they are used to treat wrinkles, lessening the appearance of the stretch marks themselves, while improving the overall condition of the skin in general.
The only way to actually remove stretch marks is to have a surgical procedure called a “tummy tuck” or abdominoplasty. This procedure actually removes the skin with the stretch marks on it and replaces it with skin that has not been affected. This procedure is extremely effective in removing stretch marks, however, it is expensive and risky. Before contemplating this procedure, talk to your doctor about whether or not you are a candidate for surgery and what results you can expect with the procedure.
Before employing any of these techniques, it is important to consult your doctor and develop a plan that will work for you.