Effective Ways to Reduce Stretch Marks

Written by TsangShireen


Posted on September 01 2022

While pregnant women enjoy the joy of conceiving a life and becoming a mother for the first time, they also have to endure all the inconveniences and even pain caused by the changes in their bodies during pregnancy and after delivery. For a mother, the arrival of her baby is the greatest happiness. But this does not mean that we should ignore the troubles that pregnancy brings to us, such as weight gain, stretch marks, postpartum hair loss and so on. Among them, stretch marks are arguably one of the most distressing problems.

According to statistics, more than 70% of pregnant women have stretch marks to varying degrees. At the same time, stretch marks have become a nightmare for many mothers.

Why do you have stretch marks? Can they be treated? Can they be prevented? If you happen to have these questions, this article can help you.

Table of content:

The effect of stretch marks on pregnant women
Reasons for the appearance of stretch marks
Factors that affect the appearance of stretch marks
Can stretch marks be prevented?
What should I do about stretch marks that have already appeared?

The effect of stretch marks on pregnant

Stretch marks appear in 50% to 90% of pregnant women before delivery. Stretch marks mostly erupt in late pregnancy, even close to delivery.

Once they appear, stretch marks basically do not disappear. After childbirth, these patterns will gradually become lighter and lighter, but they will not disappear completely, and the commercially available stretch mark removal products will at most improve them, but it is impossible to eliminate them completely. Therefore, we can fully understand the fear of women in the face of stretch marks.

  • Itchy skin: A propped-up belly can lead to itchy conditions if you don't take care of moisturizing and hydrating it.
  • Sagging skin: When the skin is stretched thin and fine it can lead to sagging and folds.
  • Emotional effects: The inability to get rid of stretch marks is enough to cause negative emotions in pregnant women.

It is safe to say that stretch marks have a certain impact on the physiology and psychology of pregnant women. In this case, only by giving more support and love, comfort and understanding to pregnant women can they face the existence of stretch marks more comfortably.


Reasons for the appearance of stretch marks

In all the literature it is mentioned that the exact cause of stretch marks is still unclear, but it can probably be imagined as an overstretched rubber band. The dermis is a network of collagen and elastin that gives the skin its stiffness and resilience, maintaining a certain tension and stretch, just like a rubber band.

During pregnancy, due to changes in hormone levels, this net of skin becomes more brittle, and as the belly gets bigger and bigger causing stretching of the skin, when it exceeds a certain limit, it causes the net to break (like an overstretched rubber band covered with tiny cracks). The rupture surface then appears on the skin as pink or purplish irregular longitudinal cracks, which are stretch marks. After delivery, the cracks on the skin gradually fade and eventually turn silvery white. Stretch marks may grow on the abdomen, buttocks, breasts, and thighs.

Three common causes of formation


During pregnancy, the human body secretes a large amount of glucocorticoids from the adrenal glands, which can inhibit fibroblast function and break down elastic collagen, making it denatured and more fragile. When the stretching of skin elastic and collagen fibers reaches a certain limit, it will cause the breakage of elastic and collagen fibers and form stretch marks.

Tummy too big

At more than 3 months of pregnancy, the enlarged uterus protrudes from the pelvis and progresses towards the abdominal cavity, the abdomen begins to bulge and the skin elastic fibers and abdominal muscles begin to elongate under the influence of the enlarged uterus. This is especially obvious after the 6th month of pregnancy. When a certain limit is exceeded, the skin elastic fibers rupture and the rectus abdominis tendons separate to varying degrees. As a result, irregular pink or purplish longitudinal cracks appeared on the skin of the abdomen.

Hormone, physical factors 

The increased secretion of estrogen and relaxin during pregnancy leads to intrinsic changes in skin structure or function.
If there is a long-term lack of exercise or good skin care habits, it may result in weak waist and abdominal muscle strength and poor skin elasticity. Stretch marks may easily appear.


Factors that affect the appearance of stretch marks

Some studies have found that some special people are more prone to stretch marks, and genetic factors play a very important role in the development mechanism of stretch marks.

Personal factors that influence the appearance of stretch marks are:

Genetic factors Family history of stretch marks
Genetic factors Swelling marks before pregnancy
Hormonal effects  Adrenal glucocorticoids
Hormonal effects  Estrogen
Hormonal effects  Relaxin
Weight gain Pre-pregnancy obesity
Weight gain BMI#>26kg/m²
Weight gain Fetus is too large
Weight gain Multiple births
Weight gain Excessive amniotic fluid
Fertility age Low pregnancy age

Can stretch marks be prevented?

Unfortunately, there is no direct way to prevent stretch marks, but there are ways to reduce the risk of developing them. We mentioned above the factors that affect the appearance of stretch marks, then we can take the corresponding approaches to risk control.

In summary: weight control, diet control, good care and moderate exercise are four ways to effectively reduce the risk of stretch marks.

Step 1: Weight control

This is the most important point in preventing stretch marks. It is best to gain weight at a steady rate throughout pregnancy, especially in late pregnancy when excessive weight gain can cause the skin to pull away quickly and stretch marks to appear.

Step 2: Control your diet

Controlling your diet is a very important step in weight control. Don't indulge yourself in eating, but eat healthy and balanced, which is not only good for the pregnant woman, but also for the baby.

Step 3: take good care

Moisturizing the skin well can make it more elastic and using anti-stretch mark cream at least 2 times a day. It is best to apply it on the abdomen, buttocks, breasts and thighs after bathing and before going to bed to prevent the formation of stretch marks and reduce their severity. Even if stretch marks have already appeared, do not interrupt to maintain enough skin elasticity so that they do not continue to break out. Remember to apply to your stomach, buttocks, breasts and thighs, all of which are high-risk areas.

Step 4: proper exercise

Exercise at least three times a week for half an hour each time. Proper exercise can relieve stress and relieve back pain, as well as control weight, promote healthy skin and avoid stretch marks. Note that you should obtain your doctor's approval before exercising and wear loose maternity clothes when exercising.


What should I do about stretch marks that have already appeared?

Although it is impossible to get rid of stretch marks once they grow, they are a pathological condition of the skin and can be cured if they are a disease, just not at the root. There is no complete cure for stretch marks on the market, but it is possible to improve the appearance of stretch marks and lighten the color of stretch marks.

There are two types of treatments for stretch marks: topical medications and instrumentation. In general there are many ways to improve the appearance and color of stretch marks, but it is almost impossible to completely get rid of them, and if instrumentation is involved, the price is almost always expensive. Many of these treatments have been proven to be effective in improving the appearance of stretch marks, but the results can vary from person to person.

Finally, I would like to say to all mothers: even if you do get stretch marks, there is no need to be too anxious, they will fade and become lighter over time, and no matter what, you will be the best and most beautiful mother for your baby!



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