Stretch marks – the biggest concern for moms-to-be and new moms! Well, like any other changes, this too is a normal part of pregnancy, albeit one that you may not like to look at. Stretch marks are formed with a sudden loss or gain of weight – during pregnancy when you put on the additional weight, your skin stretches to accommodate the growing belly and this results in ruptures of the top layer of the skin. Collagen is what makes our skin elastic and during pregnancy, owing to the hormones and sudden weight gain, this is not sufficient to keep the skin elastic. While this is the main cause and often unavoidable when pregnant, there are other factors that may lead to increased stretch marks. Lack of hydration, surgeries, steroids in medicines and other health conditions can worsen the appearance of stretch marks. Although stretch marks cannot be erased completely (barring a few medicinal options like laser), you can use some home remedies to lighten them over time. So let’s take a look at some ways to get rid of stretch marks at home:
Vitamin A based creams
Tretinoin, a compound related to Vitamin A, is the base of the many stretch mark removal creams. These contain retinoids, which increase collagen production. They can help lighten new stretch marks due to the increased collagen. However, do consult your doctor before applying any chemical to avoid any side effects to you or your baby.
Some natural substances like lupin seed extracts can also help increase the collagen, thus lightening stretch marks in turn.
It has long been suggested to massage almond oil on the pregnant belly, to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Mix sugar with a liquid like coconut or almond oil and use the scrub to exfoliate the skin where the stretch marks appear. You can repeat this several times a week before showering and ensure that you massage for 10 minutes.
Aloe vera has many healing and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to soften the skin, thus reducing the stretch marks. You can directly apply the sap or use an aloe vera based ointment.
Virgin coconut oil greatly moisturizes the skin and thus can be used during and after pregnancy, to lighten the appearance of stretch marks.
Another chemical compound that helps increase collagen in the body – this is again the base of many stretch mark removal creams. However, when using this, make sure to consult a doctor so as not to aggravate your skin condition or harm your baby.
Shea butter and Vitamin E oil
Many natural oil based moisturizers can help keep the skin hydrated thus reducing stretch marks and lightening them.
As with any other thing, prevention is better than cure. So it’s best to consult your doctor when you are pregnant and get their recommendations on the products you should use. Staying hydrated is also a good measure to take to avoid the appearance of stretch marks. Keep your skin moisturized with natural oils and creams and drink plenty of water during pregnancy to reduce stretch marks. However, embrace that it is a natural process of nurturing a life, and love your body for all that it has done for you. If you still wish to get rid of stretch marks completely, you can consult a dermatologist for in-clinic treatments like laser, chemical peels etc. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that the focus should be on appreciating your body for growing and birthing a baby, and also on taking care of your baby. Once the doctor gives the go-ahead for any procedure, if needed, you can take adequate measures to lighten or get rid of the stretch marks.