Pregnancy is a journey that changes your body in so many ways. If there’s a signature left by pregnancy, it’s stretch marks. While it’s normal for stretch marks to appear during and after pregnancy, finding an efficient treatment is rather difficult.
You may not like the appearance and need a solution to help fade these marks. Keep reading to find out how to treat and manage postpartum stretch marks.
What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are scars that appear when the skin stretches or shrinks rapidly, resulting in tiny, streak-like tears on the skin's surface. It’s common around the upper thigh, breast, tummy, and hip areas. Postpartum stretch marks are normal, and they occur due to hormonal changes. If you’re on birth control pills, you may likely have stretch marks.
Stretch marks appear as blue, pink, purple, reddish or brown, itchy and slightly raised streaks across the body. Close to 90% of pregnant women will have stretch marks during and after pregnancy. Genetics also plays a massive role in the development of stretch marks.
How to treat stretch marks after pregnancy
An important point to note is that stretch marks are permanent. However, you can only fade them to blend with the surrounding skin.
Currently, no scientific studies prove ways to treat stretch marks completely. There are treatments to fade their appearance, but this isn’t permanent. Some prominent ones include:
- Apply moisturisers
While this may sound mundane and repetitive, moisturisers are one of your best bets compared to “stretch mark creams.” These creams claim to permanently fade stretch marks within a few days, which is false. Sometimes, they may contain harmful compounds that increase the visibility of your stretch marks and increase itching.
Moisturises can’t permanently fade stretch marks, but they help to lighten the area. The result may take a few weeks to occur. Dermatologists recommend daily application and massage of moisturisers into the starch marks to fasten the healing process.
- Laser therapy
Laser therapy is one of the most effective treatments for postpartum stretch marks. Laser therapy uses light to repair and regenerate skin cells beneath your skin layers. It also promotes collagen production, which improves skin elasticity, texture and colour. These features don’t permanently remove stretch marks but only lighten the area.
This cosmetic procedure is an excellent addition to laser therapy. Microneedling uses tiny needles to puncture the skin to improve skin texture and promote collagen production. It helps to improve the appearance of early stretch marks less than a year old.
This minimally invasive procedure helps treat wrinkles, age spots, acne scars, and stretch marks.
- Topical creams with hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid helps hydrate and plumps the skin. Research has shown that applying creams containing hyaluronic acid helps fade early postpartum stretch marks.
- Prescription creams with tretinoin
Tretinoin is a retinoid (vitamin A derivative) that speeds up cell turnover and promotes collagen production. If you use such creams early on, it significantly improves the appearance of stretch marks.
However, you must consult your dermatologist or doctor because you cannot use tretinoin-based creams during pregnancy and breastfeeding. They can quickly enter the bloodstream into your breast milk.
- Creams with cocoa butter and vitamin E
There isn’t a significant effect on the appearance of stretch marks. However, the consistent application reduces the itching sensation and improves skin tone.
Stretch marks can be challenging postpartum, and recovery takes time for different individuals. Remember, you spent nine beautiful months bringing your little one into the world. That’s a huge accomplishment. There’s nothing to be ashamed about. Take it a day at a time, mama.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Can you remove stretch marks?
There is no cure to permanently remove stretch marks. You can only lighten the area. Ori is moisturising and may be used to reduce itchiness.
- How long does it take my stretch marks to disappear?
There isn’t a specific timeframe to fade starch marks. It all depends on the individual, the age of stretch marks and genetics. Early stretch marks less than a year old are faster to heal than stretch marks over a year old.
- Can I use coconut oil to fade stretch marks?
Coconut oil is an essential and moisturising oil. It cannot fade stretch marks.