What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks (striae gravidarum) are thin purplish or pinkish streaks or lines that commonly present during second trimester of pregnancy. It can be present over the abdomen (tummy), lower back, breasts, thighs or buttocks. Stretch marks are caused by poor elasticity of skin and its usually irreversible due to its nature. However, its often will reduce in pigmentation or become lighter in colour after childbirth.
It is more prone in women who have a personal or family history or excessive abdominal distension during pregnancy. Your skin overlying the abdomen will stretch to accommodate the growth of your baby. If the whole process occurs too quickly, it will result in stretch marks on the skin. You may have them over your thighs or breasts too as they tend to increase in size during pregnancy. Don’t worry, stretch marks are not harmful even though it may cause some itchiness when it first appears.
How to get rid of my stretch marks?
Stretch marks can be a source of distress to the pregnant mother as it poses a cosmetic concern to them. You might be wondering if there is a way to remove the stretch marks, or how to make its less obvious.
Various methods are available nowadays to improve the appearance of the stretch marks, but a limited number of studies exist to date.
Many emollients and topical preparations are available in the market to help reduce the redness, swelling and irritation of the stretch marks. In addition, some topical preparations (cream / oil/ ointment) help to increase the collagen and elastic fibre production, hydration and reduce the inflammation.
Light and laser therapy in scar management have shown very little benefit in removing stretch marks too (despite advertisements you may have seen!)
Other treatment like platelet rich plasma injections are also under investigation for its efficacy.
In conclusion, you should first try skin creams and other such preparations in the market to help with your stretch marks. Some commercial products like vitamin E oil, olive oil or cocoa butter cream are marketized to be useful in helping with the stretch marks. However, there are no enough clinical evidence to support these tips for skin care after delivery. More studies need to be done to prove