Stretch marks are small, irregular and patchy lines that can appear on the skin's surface. Depending on the tone of your skin, they could be pink, red, purple, or even brown. They affect about 8 out of 10 pregnant women, making them widespread. As your pregnancy advances and your bump starts to grow, they typically start to form on your abdomen, or occasionally on your upper thighs and breasts. The timing of stretch marks varies from woman to woman.
- Quick weight gain.
- After the skin is stretched, such as during puberty or when gaining weight, they might occur. Pregnancy hormone changes can have an impact on your skin and increase your risk of developing stretch marks.
- They develop when the dermis, the skin's middle layer, is partially stretched and damaged.
- Your skin type will determine whether you develop stretch marks or not because some people have more elastic skin.
Who gets stretch marks?
An estimated 50% to 90% of women have them, but men can get them, too. It’s also common for teen girls (breasts, thighs, hips, or buttocks) and boys (lower backs or hips) to get stretch marks during growth spurts.
Stretch marks don't all look alike. They vary depending on how long you've had them, what caused them, where they are on your body and the type of skin you have. Common variations include:
- Streaks or lines on the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks, or other places on the body
- Pink, red, black, blue or purple streaks
- Bright streaks that fade to a lighter color
- Stripes covering large areas of the body
How to prevent stretch marks?
You can’t do anything that guarantees you won’t develop stretch marks. But a combination of hydration, diet and exercise can help reduce your risk.
- Drink plenty of water. Water helps keep your skin soft, so you’re less likely to develop stretch marks.
- Drinking caffeine can also increase your risk of developing stretch marks. If you drink a lot of coffee, tea or soda pop, it’s a good idea to drink as much — or more — water.
It’s also a good idea to eat foods that promote healthy skin, including foods:
- Rich in zinc, such as nuts or fish.
- High in vitamins A, C, and D, such as carrots, citrus fruits, and milk.
- Rich in protein, such as lentils, beans, broccoli, lean beef, and chicken.
- Exercise increases circulation and helps your body produce collagen.
- Increased circulation and collagen help your skin stay strong and stretchy.
PRE-CARE - Preparing for your procedure
- Avoid Smoking beginning 4 weeks before appointment.
- Avoid antibiotics beginning 4 weeks before appointment.
- No Alcohol and Caffeine 24 hrs before procedure.
- No Aspirin or Ibuprofen 2 days before the procedure.
- Avoid Sun Tanning and spray tans beginning 4 weeks before the appointment.
- Drink plenty of water to hydrate.
- Do not wear serums, toners, creams, or other products the morning of the procedure.
- Shower the day of your procedure and gently exfoliate the area to be treated.
- Do not shower for 12 hours. Use a fragrance-free cleanser.
- Do not take Advil or any other anti-inflammatory medicines 24hrs following your procedure.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing for 2-3 days.
- Apply aftercare 2 X day or as required to keep area hydrated.
- Avoid Sweating for 8 full days (No gym, no working out, etc.)
- Avoid tanning, beach, pool, jacuzzis, and direct sun exposure for no less than 30 days
- Do not use any other ointments, creams or antibiotics until fully healed.
- Redness, Swelling, Tightness, and Sunburned feeling are all normal for the first 5 days.
- Area will become dry, flakey, and possibly a small amount of scabbing (DO NOT PICK) - reapply aftercare ointment.
- Apply balm or gels prescribed by the doctor.
- Use sunscreen when treated areas are exposed to the sun.
Do stretch mark creams work?
There isn't much you can do to avoid stretch marks. However, certain stretch mark creams work better than others in terms of treatment.
- Most OTC choices offer a lot of moisture (and not much else). That's OK, but once more, it won't do anything other than hydrate your skin.
- Retin-A is the only form of a cream that has been proven effective in tests to reduce redness and even stop or reverse certain scarring by stimulating collagen regrowth. Although less effective than Retin A, products containing retinol, less strong retinol available over the counter, may also be helpful.
But If you're pregnant, you definitely shouldn't use anything with retinol since it's not safe for the fetus.