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Ask any woman who had a baby in the last one year, as to what was one of her major complaints post pregnancy and the answer would be “stretch marks.” And, if you think of the belly as the only affected area, you are wrong! Even the breasts, calves and arms are affected.
The skin stretches beyond its limits in a short period of time and so these stretch marks appear. It is more common with women who have had excessive weight gain and with multiple babies. It is also hereditary and women with oily skin are less likely to have them. Also, women who regularly apply moisturizer have fewer stretch marks. However, there definitely are ways to both avoid and reduce the stretch marks.
Prevention is definitely more effective.
- Stretch mark creams can be used from day one of pregnancy, which can help reduce the formation of these marks.
- A good cream could also help eliminate existing stretch marks from earlier pregnancies, in addition to preventing new ones from forming.
- It is best to use the cream both during day and night after a warm shower. This will help the skin to absorb the cream optimally, making it more effective.
- Preventive lotions have a combination of cocoa butter, shea butter, honey, aloe vera and various oils including almond, castor, olive, vitamin E, and other essential oils. Each of them has their own effective way to control stretch marks.
- Other preventive measures include exercise, exfoliation using a scrubber and eating a diet which is low in zinc.
But treatment is the solution if prevention is not possible.
- Soon after pregnancy, try and use creams that contain cocoa butter, glycolic acid, various oils like almond, vitamin E, castor, and olive which will help manage the stretch marks.
- A good massage using these oils has proved to be one of the best ways to manage stretch marks on the belly and breasts.
- There are various on-the-shelf products nowadays for treating these marks, but use the one prescribed by your doctor. The way these chemicals get absorbed and excreted may not be clear to you and if you are breast-feeding, it is safer to consult a doctor before using such items.
- In addition to the creams, exercise and sufficient hydration are also essential to help stretch marks disappear.
- Laser surgery is another option which can do any of these 3 things – produce pigments in the lighter areas, improve collagen production in the depressed areas, or reduce the color of the darker areas in a stretch mark. Though offered widely, this is best avoided given the side effects.
Stretch marks are an integral part of pregnancy and it is best to let nature run its course after doing everything to prevent it or treating it safely. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.