You notice an ungracious line, then another, then another. Stretch marks are there. Of course it isn’t the end of the world… but it has slightly undermined your self-confidence.
Between 75% and 90% of women develop stretch marks during pregnancy. The first ones usually appear around the fourth month when their belly really starts to show. Stretch marks appear as thin parallel lines. Most of the time, they create tiny depressions under the skin and give it a wrinkled appearance.
Caused by the extension and the rupture of fibres under the skin, stretch marks are linked to a lower production of collagen, which gives the skin its elasticity and strength. Like a wool shirt that would lose its shape after being stretched, the skin, or more precisely the collagen fibres, deform and break.
Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid them. However, some factors may limit their appearance.
• Have a healthy and balanced diet
• Avoid significant or fast weight gains
• Drink a lot of water
• Moisturize your skin
Stretch marks are hereditary
If your mother, your sister or your aunt kept stretch marks on their belly after their pregnancies, chances are that your hereditary baggage contains stretch marks, but don’t throw in the towel just yet. Eat well, try not to put on too much weight too quickly and moisturize your skin… maybe you will be the happy exception in your family.
The delicate skin of the breasts is the most vulnerable and sensitive of all. When rubbing your belly, don’t forget to moisturize your breasts too!
Women who have multiple pregnancies are more at risk even though the amount of previous pregnancies has no impact on the appearance of stretch marks.
Expensive cream = good results?
FALSE. Don’t expect miracle results when you use an anti stretch marks cream but moisturizing your skin is a good way to prevent them. You have to be consistent and apply moisturizer every day on your thighs, buttocks, abdomen, breasts and hips. Use this time to relax and take care of yourself.
Choose a moisturizer that contains collagen, elastin and vitamin E or F. It doesn’t have to be expensive! Some women around the world swear by sweet almond oil or other vegetable oils. Grape seed oil is less allergenic and moisturizes your skin just as much. Body butters are also very good moisturizers.
Also, creams, butters and oils can be very useful to soothe the itch caused by your stretching skin.
Will they disappear?
They will fade and their color will change but they will not go away. First purplish, red or pink, they will fade to a pearly colour shortly after birth.
Do stretch marks only appear during pregnancy?
Stretch marks also appear during the puberty’s growth spurts or after a significant weight gain. Some rare diseases and the use of certain medications containing cortisone can also cause stretch marks.
Blondes are more at risk than brunettes.
TRUE! It is so unfair but blondes and gingers have complexions that are far more prone to stretch marks.
Drying products can limit stretch marks.
FALSE! On the contrary, you should not stretch your skin or dry it! You should moisturize it as much as possible to help it withstand tension and avoid it breaking into stretch marks. Exfoliating your skin once a week is an excellent way to maximize the effect of your cream. Try to avoid essential oils that can penetrate the skin and affect the fetus.