Pregnancy Stretch Marks

How are pregnancy stretch marks formed?

For most new mothers, just when they thought they were out of the woods and they would not develop stretch marks throughout their pregnancy, they suddenly appear. You may have been massaging a topical oil or cream into your skin as a means of preventing stretch marks and this may have stemmed the tide, however it is understandable to have had other things on your mind.

Skin Health Hub Body Health Pregnancy Stretch MarksStriae gravidarum, or stretch marks can develop in as many as 90% of pregnant women in their second half of pregnancy.

Caused from the separation within the underlying connective tissue of the skin. When the underlying tissue grows faster than the skin layers covering it, small tears develop in the epidermal surface. Scar tissue then proceeds to grow in these tears, creating stretch marks or striae.

These slightly depressed streaks form across areas of maximum stretch such as the abdomen, thighs, buttocks and breasts. The color of striae varies depending on the pregnant women’s skin color so can be pinkish, purple or reddish in color.

While most stretch marks will fade to silver after pregnancy and continue to fade over time the presence of striae can be distressing for many women.

What are the treatment options to reduce pregnancy stretch marks?

Topical Creams and Ointments – research continues on the most non-invasive solution, topical creams to prevent stretch marks developing. Ingredients such as Vitamin E, A & D3 (a natural derivative of vitamin D) and grapefruit seed extract act may be some of the powerful ingredients used to strengthen and stimulate the production of your body’s natural collagen and elastin in the lower epidermis.

Laser Therapy – there are several modalities available to reduce the size of the stretch marks and improve the skin texture of the area. Ablative lasers can be used to resurface the top layer and sub-layer and reconstruct the skin. These lasers are often used to remove deep lines, scars and stretch marks to tighten and smooth the skin’s appearance.

Non-ablative fractionated lasers, instead of removing the skin’s surface, make thousands of microscopic injuries in the skin to stimulate production of collagen in the dermis, to strengthen, tighten and remodel the skin. Treatment costs are moderate with little or no downtime with lasting results with a course of treatments.

Radio Frequency treatments – uses radio frequency energy to re-invigorate your skin’s natural renewal processes. This relatively simple process uses a combination of heat energy to treat deep tissue, and cooling effects, to protect the skin surface and deliver better patient comfort and outcome. Treatment costs are moderate with little or no downtime with lasting results.

Tummy Tuck – the most invasive procedure where skin is surgically removed a tummy tuck can also remove any excess fat and tighten the abdominal muscles at the same time. Although this procedure comes at a hhigh cost and extended downtime the transformation can be significant and long-lasting.

While there are many clinical studies to show that topical ointments and creams can be effective in preventing and reducing the appearance of stretch marks. The only method available for removing existing marks is via more costly treatments and even surgery.

See Also: Reduce Cellulite and Stretch Marks.

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