Stretch marks are fine lines on your skin which can be identified on the basis of difference in colour of the skin and that of the stretch marks. The colour of these lines might vary from slightly red to purple or even grey. They do not cause any harm to the body and lighten or sometimes disappear with time. Stretch marks are very common among girls and women and are appear mostly on thighs, breasts, hips and stomach.
CAUSES OF STRETCH MARKS AFTER DELIVERY
Stretch marks appear due to the pulling of skin muscles which are caused by a sudden increase in weight. Women suffer from stretch marks after delivery because of the following reasons:
- During pregnancy, the skin continuously stretches to make space for the baby.
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy also contribute to the formation of stretch marks after delivery.
- Also, the appearance of stretch marks is genetic. So if your mother had stretch marks when she was pregnant, there is a high probability that you will suffer from them too.
20 HOME REMEDIES TO LIGHTEN STRETCH MARKS AFTER DELIVERY
Since stretch marks can’t be completely removed, we bring you some easy home remedies which will definitely lighten them:
An oil massage ensures that the skin gets moisturised and becomes soft.
- Massage with castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil or essential oils improve blood circulation and lessen stretch marks
Scrubbing the part which has stretch marks with sugar is a clinically tested method to reduce them.
- Take some sugar, mix it with any oil of your choice (coconut or olive oil will do), add a bit of lemon juice and gently scrub for about 5-10 minutes.
Potatoes contain certain antioxidants and starch which are known to lighten stretch marks and make the skin smooth.
- Just take some potato slices and rub them for about 10 minutes before washing with water.
Aloe Vera gel is also a very useful tool in lightening stretch marks.
- Take fresh aloe Vera gel and apply it on the marks gently.
- Rub the region for about 15 minutes and wash off with water.
Lemons contain vitamin C which increases the generation of collagen in our body, which is responsible for the formation of tissues of the skin.
- Rub a lemon on the stretch marks for about 10 minutes and wash it off with water.
Coconut oil is known for its healing properties and will reduce stretch marks to a great extent if applied daily.
Honey is antiseptic and effectively lightens stretch marks.
- Just apply some honey on the stretch marks and cover that area.
- Wash it off after the honey is completely dried.
Exercising regularly tightens the loose skin and also helps in the regeneration of dead skin cells.
- To perform a few simple exercises daily or ask your doctor to recommend some to reduce the stretch marks
Black tea has various vitamins, one of them is B12 which is responsible for taking care of the skin and hence black tea helps in reducing stretch marks.
- Boil 2 spoonfuls of black tea and a pinch of salt in water for 2 minutes.
- Apply on the stretch marks after it cools off and rinse with water after 10 minutes.
Egg white is rich in protein which revives skin cells and thus helps in fading the stretch marks.
- Beat one/ two egg whites and apply them on your skin with cotton or a brush.
- Leave it until dry and wash off with cold water.
- Cocoa butter or Shea butter
Cocoa butter or Shea butter has vitamin E or antioxidants. Antioxidants help in reviving damaged skin cells while vitamin E prevents the skin cells from being damaged, thus reducing stretch marks.
- Regularly apply cocoa butter/ shea butter lotions for good results
Tea tree oil has antibacterial and antibiotic characteristics which lead to the fading of stretch marks.
- Regularly apply tea tree oil and massage for at least 10 minutes on the stretch marks for better results.
Alfalfa leaves have multiple vitamins and antioxidants which detoxify the skin and help in healing the stretch marks.
- Just take some dries alfalfa leaves and make a powder out of them.
- Mix the powder with any essential oil and apply the paste on the marks.
Baby oil has nutrients and minerals that moisturize the skin and also prevents the appearance of stretch marks.
- Gently massage with baby oil on the affected area after taking a bath (when the skin is wet) for satisfactory results.
Vinegar is acidic and hence lightens the colour of the stretch marks.
- Just pat your skin with apple cider vinegar before going to bed every day and you will be good to go.
Turmeric has antioxidants and also has anti-inflammatory characteristics which aid in healing stretch marks quickly.
- Mix some yogurt and turmeric powder to make a paste and apply it on your skin.
- After it is dry, wash it off with water.
Baking soda is known to remove dead skin cells so that the stretch marks fade away.
- Add a few drops of lemon juice to baking soda to make a paste.
- Apply the paste on the affected skin and cover it up for about half an hour until dry.
- After that, wash it off with lukewarm water.
Drinking water keeps your body hydrated and detoxifies your skin efficiently.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to get rid of stretch marks
Argan oil has vitamin E and increases the generation of collagen which rejuvenates skin cells and tissues and thus reduces stretch marks.
- Gently massage the affected area with argan oil for about 5 minutes until dry daily.
- Jojoba oil
Jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory properties which will help in the regeneration of new skin cells and hence will heal the stretch marks. Massage with jojoba oil regularly to get good results
WHY DO STRETCH MARKS ITCH?
There are slight chances that your stretch marks will begin to itch at some point of time. It may happen due to the following reasons:
- Polymorphic eruption of pregnancy( PEP)
If you are pregnant, rashes and itching might be due to PEP. Do not worry; it will most probably go away in 7-8 days if you keep your skin moisturized. You might want to consult a doctor if the rashes persist though.
Dry skin is a very common cause of itchiness in stretch marks. All you have to do is keep your body moisturized by applying any lotion daily. Or the best tip would be to use cocoa butter or shea butter which will not only hydrate your skin but will also lighten the stretch marks.
- The stretch marks are healing
As mentioned earlier, stretch marks tend to heal themselves over time. So if your skin is not dry or if you do not have PEP, it is likely that your marks are healing. All you have to do is continue moisturizing your skin till the marks become really faint.
PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN DURING PREGNANCY TO AVOID STRETCH MARKS AFTER DELIVERY
Stretch marks during pregnancy can’t be prevented and neither can they be removed completely. But one thing expecting moms can do is try their best so that minimum stretch marks appear after delivery. Here are some precautions you should take to avoid stretch marks:
- Keep your body hydrated: regularly apply moisturisers, lotions and creams on the parts of your body that are prone to stretch marks. Drinking plenty of water also keeps your body hydrated.
- Massage: a gentle massage every alternate day improves blood circulation and hence decreases the chances of stretch marks
- Eat healthily and exercise well: a balanced diet not only ensures lesser stretch marks but is also essential for the mother and baby’s health. Exercising regularly also relieves the mother from stress and keeps stretch marks at bay.
- Check your weight: increasing weight during pregnancy is normal but it is better if you keep a check on it as a sudden increase in weight is not favourable and will also result in multiple stretch marks.
MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT STRETCH MARKS
Myth: Stretch marks only affect women
Fact: As already explained, stretch marks appear due to a sudden increase in weight so it can affect both men and women.
Myth: Stretch marks can be treated
Fact: Any dermatological treatment or cream can only lighten your stretch marks. They aim to repair damaged skin or increase collagen which is responsible for the strengthening of tissues of the skin but cannot totally treat the marks.
Myth: Stretch marks will disappear if you lose weight
Fact: The probability of stretch marks increases if you lose weight rapidly. Losing weight slowly prevents the appearance of stretch marks.
Myth: Tanning removes stretch marks
Fact: If your stretch marks are reddish or slightly purple, tanning might hide them a bit but if you have white coloured stretch marks tanning will highlight them even more.
Myth: Skinny people do not get stretch marks
Fact: Stretch marks can also be a result of certain hormonal changes especially in girls so even they have a chance of getting stretch marks, though it is very rare.
OVER THE COUNTER PRODUCTS TO REMOVE STRETCH MARKS AFTER DELIVERY
According to a study, 90% of women suffer from stretch marks after delivery. Preventing these stretch marks might not be easy. So here are some over the counter products which will help in healing stretch marks during or after pregnancy.
This is the most widely used and trusted product which women use to reduce their stretch marks after delivery. It not only lightens the stretch marks to a great extent but also prevents their occurrence during pregnancy if used regularly.
It comes in the form of chemical peels, which, as the name suggests peels off the damaged layer of skin cells to reveal a new layer and hence helps in getting rid of stretch marks. Most people might not recommend these peels as they are quite expensive
It has Retin-A which is a form of vitamin A and helps in the regeneration of collagen in the skin and hence heals stretch marks. But these creams are not really recommended by doctors during pregnancy because of their side effects. Retin A is a very strong ingredient that might cause irritation or redness if used by women having sensitive skin.
This should always be kept as a last option because it is not recommended due to the risk involved. It deals with the removal of layers of affected skin to reveal new skin.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Ques. Is surgery recommended for the removal of stretch marks?
Ans: No. Surgery deals with the removal of layers of skin that have stretch marks and will result in incision marks which will be worse than stretch marks
Ques. Do stretch marks cause any other health hazards or medical problems?
Ans: No. Stretch marks are totally harmless and only affect the appearance of the skin. They even fade away slowly and do not cause any other health problems.
Ques. Why do my stretch marks change colour? Is it a bad sign?
Ans: Firstly, your skin colour is a deciding factor in the colour of your stretch marks. Also, the red colour of stretch marks is of the blood vessels visible through your skin and might change colour due to the expansion or contraction of blood vessels. So do not worry, it is not a bad sign and is completely natural.
Ques. How is puberty related to stretch marks?
Ans: After hitting puberty, there is a sudden increase in the height and weight of children. Also, there is an imbalance of hormones. These two factors lead to the appearance of stretch marks during puberty.