Pregnancy changes almost everything in a woman – from the way you look to the way to think and feel. One of the common things many pregnant women worry about are stretch marks. Many pregnant women search for ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy while many women cherish those strips as a beautiful souvenir of their pregnancy.
For a majority of mothers, these stretch marks might affect their self-confidence when they wear clothes that reveal those parts (like a sari or a crop top). Stretch marks are one of those few stubborn pregnancy symptoms that continue after delivery.
While personally, I feel they are a mark of a woman’s courage and signify creation of another life within them, yet from aesthetic point of view not everyone may find them pleasing. Even though one cannot make them disappear completely, there are ways to lighten them. Also, there are many natural ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
Stretch Mark During Pregnancy- Let’s Know Them
Stretch marks during pregnancy can be described as the streaks that appear on the skin as the pregnancy progresses to the second or third trimester. They usually appear as bands of parallel lines on the pregnancy tummy. You may also notice stretch marks on your buttocks, thighs, and even on your boobs. Stretch marks are also known as striae.
The color of one’s skin determines the color of her stretch marks. Women with light complexion tend to develop pinkish stretch marks. On the other hand, stretch marks on darker-skinned women will be lighter than their skin tone.
Stretch marks color usually ranges from purple to bright pink and from reddish-brown to dark brown and light gray. It can be itchy at some times. As time passes, even though they tend to fade, they will not disappear entirely.
Rapid weight gain and rapid weight loss can bring about stretch marks on the skin- as we generally know them as. When it comes to pregnancy, stretch marks appear when the elastic fibers under the skin break as the tummy expands to accommodate the growing baby. According to studies, around 55% to 90% of expectant mothers will contract stretch marks during pregnancy.
What Causes Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
Stretch marks happen when the dermal layer of the skin is suddenly stretched out. When this occurs, the inter-connected fibers in the dermal layer which let the skin stretch breaks due to overstretching. This brings about stretch marks during pregnancy.
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When the dermis tears, the blood vessels under the skin will be visible. This makes stretch marks appear red or purple initially. However, eventually, the size of blood vessels get reduce, and the pale-colored fat under the skin starts to show up. Thus the mark gets a silvery-white tinge.
This is how the stretch marks occur. But the reasons that bring about stretch marks during pregnancy are not the same for all mothers. They could appear-
- As a result of excess weight gain during pregnancy
- Due to the presence of excess amniotic fluid (which makes the pregnancy tummy bigger)
- In case you are carrying twins or triplets or more
- If the mother experienced stretch marks during teens(indicating she is prone to stretch mark)
- If mother is too young when she becomes pregnant
- If you are carrying a heavy baby
- If the woman would have a family history regarding the same- like if her sister or mother had stretch marks during pregnancy.
Getting rid of stretch marks is absolutely impractical. However, some home remedies help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy and fade them out quickly.
13 Home Remedies To Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
The best way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy is to put on pregnancy weight little by little at a normal pace rather than quickly. This will put less pressure on the fibers, and hence there will be less damage.
Otherwise, massaging oils and taking such measures to increase the skin elasticity might help prevent the stretch marks to some extent. But there is no 100% guaranty as many factors determine getting a stretch mark during pregnancy.
Even though various chemical-laden beauty treatmentstreat stretch marks during pregnancy, they are not entirely safe during pregnancy. Such treatments can bring about harmful side effects. However, you can rely on natural products that help to reduce stretch marks during and lighten them, even if not make them disappear completely.
Related Reading: 15 Home Remedies For Pigmentation During Pregnancy
So are you keen to know about home remedies for the desired result? Here are 13 home remedies to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
1. Improve the elasticity of your skin with oils
Some oils are highly beneficial in improving the elasticity of the skin. Once the elasticity of the skin is improved, your chances of getting stretch marks will decrease drastically. Many of these healthy oils also help avoid other types of skin damage with their antioxidant properties. A few good oils to start with are:
- Argan Oil – It has many properties that help to treat stretch marks during pregnancy. The Vitamin E in it will improve the elasticity of your skin. It can also be rubbed on stretch marks that are already there to make them fade.
- Castor Oil – Massaging your stretch marks with castor oil for around 15 minutes and then gently applying heat with a heating pad can do wonders for your skin. This provides the skin around stretch marks with moisture and nourishment it needs. It must be done often for good results. Try to do it as much as possible for about a month or so.
- Olive Oil – This famously beneficial oil is a rich source of antioxidants, nutrients, and moisturizing properties. Rubbing your stretch marks with cold-pressed olive oil will make them fade in time.
- Almond Oil – Studies prove that regular application of almond oil over the stretch marks for 15-minute durations will prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
- Bio-Oil – This is a cosmetic oil. It is known for softening wrinkles and healing other skin-related issues. It consists of several herbs like rosemary, chamomile, and calendula. It is also a source of Vitamin E and A, tocopherol, and other beneficial ingredients. So, this can be considered a very helpful oil that helps increase the elasticity of the skin.
- Coconut Oil – This oil has anti-bacterial properties, coupled with components like fatty acids. It is a good moisturizer for the skin and helps heal the opening wounds more quickly. So, despite the lack of studies conducted about this, coconut oil is believed to be helpful in preventing stretch marks during pregnancy.
2. Cucumber and lemon juice
Lemon juice is well-known for its bleaching property. Its acidic nature helps to reduce the visibility of stretch marks significantly. You can either dab lemon juice directly on the marks or rub a wedge of sliced lemon on them. After soaking the marks for some time, rinse off with warm water.
You can also mix cucumber juice with lemon juice. The cooling effect of cucumber juice helps to soothe the itchiness of the stretch marks. You can mix equal parts of lemon and cucumber juice and apply it over the stretch mark. Repeat it every day for the best result.
3. Egg whites to get rid of stretch marks during pregnancy
Egg whites are rich in protein and amino acids. Hence the topical application of egg whites is highly beneficial for the skin. Applying egg white on the stretch marks helps to lighten the marks and aids in tightening the skin.
Apply egg white on the affected area. Allow it to dry. Once dried, wash it off with cold water. After that pat dry the area, apply some olive oil to moisturize the skin. Repeat this remedy for a few weeks to achieve visible results.
4. Potato juice
Potato juice is well known for its efficiency in eradicating dark circles, blemishes, and skin tan. Being rich in starch and other skin lightening enzymes, potato juice can be effectively used to diminish the stretch marks’ visibility.
For this, regularly apply potato juice to the affected area and wait until it dries. Then, wash it off with warm water. Few months of regular application will bring about a noticeable change.
5. Sugar scrub for stretch marks during pregnancy
Sugar scrub is an excellent home remedy to eradicate stretch marks during pregnancy. You can prepare this scrub without much difficulty. To a quarter cup of almond or coconut oil, add one cup of sugar and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Mix well until it gains the consistency of wet beach sand.
Scrub the affected area with this mixture every day before going to bath. Continuing this for a month will give a considerable reduction in your stretch marks.
6. Aloe vera gel
Applying Aloe vera gel to the tummy is an excellent way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Aloe vera can do wonders to the skin. Even though it may not prevent the stretch marks a hundred per cent, it can reduce its intensity. If applied regularly over the exiting stretch marks, you can eventually see the stretch marks vanishing away, and the skin turns healthier.
Related Reading: 11 Easy Tips Glowing Skin During Pregnancy
For this, use fresh gel from the aloe vera leaf. You can easily remove the outer layer of leaves with a knife. Take out the gel and mash it into a paste. Apply it over the affected area. Let it remain there for at least half an hour. Wash off with lukewarm water.
The exfoliating property of apricots makes it an excellent home remedy for stretch marks during pregnancy. For making an apricot mask, take two to three apricots. Remove the seeds and grind them to smooth paste. Add few drops of lemon juice.
Apply this mask to the affected area. Let it remain there for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, rinse it with lukewarm water. After drying the area, massaging some apricot oil into the skin enhances the result. Apricot oil is well-known for its skin rejuvenating properties.
8. Black tea
Black tea is not just a refreshing beverage. It is also loaded with vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B12, to eliminate skin pigmentation. This same property of black tea makes it an excellent choice to fight off stretch marks during pregnancy.
For this, boil a couple of tablespoons of black tea in a cup of water. Add two to three pinches of salt to it. After cooling, dab the mixture to the stretch marks. Regular use helps with fading of stretch marks during pregnancy.
9. Cocoa and shea butter
Shea and cocoa butter are some of the most used home remedies to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Cocoa butter deeply moisturizes the skin. Using it during and after pregnancy significantly helps to deal with these stubborn stretch marks.
For more effectiveness, use cocoa butter during night. This way, it will get more time to work on your skin. Massage cocoa and shea butter well into the skin before going to bed. You will find the stretch marks eventually fade away.
10. Sandalwood and turmeric paste
Applying sandalwood turmeric paste (1:1 ratio) on the belly area helps to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Even if you apply it on the stretch marks regularly for six months, you will be able to see them fading away.
Related Reading: 8 Common Pregnancy Skin Problems
11. Alfalfa leaves for stretch marks during pregnancy
Applying alfalfa leaves paste on the affected area is a good way to deal with stretch mark during pregnancy. These leaves are known for their detoxifying and antifungal properties. For best results, apply chamomile oil after removing the leaves.
Apply honey to the affected area and let it remain for 15 minutes. After that, wash it off with warm water. Honey can help to fade the stretch marks.
13. Nourishing oatmeal skin mask
Here is a special pack that has an incredible effect on reducing the stretch marks during and after pregnancy. Mix 2 teaspoons each of oatmeal and almond paste in a bowl. Add two beaten egg yolks. Also, add the juice of 1 lemon. Add enough milk to make a smooth paste.
Apply this pack over the affected area. Wait until it has dried completely. Then, wash it off with cold water while scrubbing it gently. For the best result, repeat this process on alternate days.
Does everyone get stretch marks?
There are studies that prove that a few factors might increase the risk of getting stretch marks during pregnancy. These factors include your age (if you are a young mother, you are more susceptible), your family history regarding the matter (if your mother had them, you might get them too), rapid weight gain, and whether or not you had stretch marks as a teenager.
Keep a check on your pregnancy diet and ditch the old ‘eat for two’ adage. Eat a balanced, well-rounded diet and keep a check on your weight- this is probably the simplest way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
While treating your stretch marks can test your patience, it will be worth it in the end when you regain your old blemish-free skin. Figure out which of the above remedies work best for you, start using them immediately. You can even try a few remedies together at once! Include foods that cause stretch marks to fade out faster. All of this will help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Give your skin the love and care it deserves!