Thursday, December 14

Pregnant? Combat Stretch Marks

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You are rewarded with the greatest gift – a newborn baby but the stretch marks that you are also left with are not so great. Given that stretch marks are easily acquired but difficult to remove, prevention is definitely better than cure.

Stretch marks are formed when the skin stretches beyond its elasticity. Through this, the fibres in the dermis (middle layer of the skin) break and collagen is produced as a coping mechanism. This leaves behind purple scarring when the skin returns to its normal size. It is therefore understandable why the sudden growth pregnant women experience form stretch marks. However, stretch marks can be made worse if your skin is dry or if it is not elastic.

There are many ways to help the skins elasticity in order to prevent stretch marks, as well as combatting them afterwards, although the latter is much harder to achieve.

PREVENTION

*Moisturize*

Regardless of how dry or moist your skin is, sudden weight gain will inevitably create stretch marks. Therefore, moisturizing the area/s is an excellent, cheap and easy prevention method.

Types of products that are better to use are thick creams, like cocoa butter and alike. Also, oils are fantastic in increasing the elasticity.

*Diet*

It is always advisable to maintain a healthy diet and to drink plenty of water, but it goes without saying that it is even more important for pregnant women. As well as keeping you and your baby healthy, it also improves the condition of your skin.

Caffeine and external elements such as smoking, affect the skins condition in a bad way as they can cause dehydration and reduces the oxygen levels in the blood.

Vitamins A, C and E are powerful antioxidants which mean that you should incorporate lots of fruit and vegetables into your diet.

In ensuring that you have healthy and supple skin, you have a better chance of preventing stretch marks from forming.

*Exercise*

Exercising and massages helps with blood circulation which in turn, provides nutrients for your skin. Combining massages with massage oils will not only have the benefit of healthier skin, but will also make your skin more supple, thus preventing stretch marks.

CURE

*Patience*

If you are patient then, there is a free and hassle-free way to remove stretch marks – give them time. Like all types of scarring, they do fade over time but, it depends on your skin as to how long this actually takes.

*Retin A (Tretinoin)*

This is a chemical based formula that can be acquired through your doctor (advisable) and some dermatology studies have shown proven results. However, it is not advised to use whilst you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

*Stretch mark creams*

There are many creams on the market which help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, commonly, cocoa butter, rose hip oil etc. These help maintain good condition but mainly, work alongside the ‘give it time’ process.

*Medical Procedures*

There are many medical treatments that can be undergone to remove stretch marks although, they can be expensive and time consuming – often more than one set of a treatment needs to be taken in order to see the results. Such procedures are ones like laser treatment and cosmetic surgery.

Overall there are many ways to prevent stretch marks from forming, or at the very least, reduce the amount and/or severity. Whilst there are ways to get rid of them after they have formed, it is much harder to do so and does not always work. Therefore, the key to avoiding stretch marks created by the sudden stretching, is to take the steps in creating healthy, radiant and supple skin.

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