are stretch marks? Why do stretch marks mainly affect pregnant women? What
causes the formation and appearance of stretch marks? Find the answers to these
and many other questions in the following article.
marks, also known as Striae Gravidarum are pink, purple or red streaky
scars that appear mostly around the arms, breasts, abdomen, thighs and
buttocks and turn slivery-grey or white over time. Stretch marks appear
mainly due to rapid or sudden weight gain. Therefore, stretch marks are
primarily the bane of pregnant women. Stretch marks are also somewhat
common in cases of pubescent girls who suddenly develop breasts and
pubescent boys who suddenly become muscular. Weightlifters too, are not
exempted from the burden of stretch marks. Stretch marks can also occur when people lose weight or workout to tone their body.
case of pregnant women, stretch marks normally begin to appear from the
third trimester of pregnancy when the baby is rapidly growing and
during the post delivery period when the breasts swell up and increase
in size. Around 70-90% of women get stretch marks on their abdominal
area. Those with lighter complexion get pinkish stretch marks and those
with a darker skin tone get whitish stretch marks.
Factors causing Stretch Marks
you have an abnormal number of stretch marks, it is an indicator that
you need to consult your doctor. An excessive amount of stretch marks
can be caused due to the use of oral corticosteroids or topical
steroids. It could also be a result of some rare genetic disorder. In
most cases however, stretch marks during pregnancy are caused due to the
the case of pregnant women, as is the case with most men and women,
stretch marks appear due to rapid weight gain. The skin in the affected
areas gets physically stretched due to rapid weight gain resulting in
the visible marks. The natural elasticity of the skin is challenged as
it tries to accommodate the enhanced weight of the growing baby in the
womb. Finally, it succumbs to the pressure and the elasticity in the
epidermal layers breaks. Since the growth happens rapidly, the skin is
unable to adapt to the changes, resulting in collapse and tears in the
epidermal layer. This tear in the tissue becomes visible as stretch
marks. If the stretch marks have a reddish tinge, it implies that there
was a mild inflammation or bleeding in the dermis during the tear.
studies claim that formation of stretch marks during pregnancy is not
the result of the skin "stretching" as the name suggests, but is a
result of hormonal changes. During pregnancy and post-delivery, your
body produces an excess of the hormone cortisone which reduces the
amount of Collagen and Elastin present in your skin. Collagen helps keep
your body supple and Elastin helps developing your skin's elasticity.
Both Collagen and Elastin are proteins that help your skin look young
and radiant. Reduction in the level of these proteins causes the
epidermal layer to lose its natural elasticity and thin out, thereby
making is susceptible to stretch marks.
genetic component is one of the factors that determine your tendency to
develop stretch marks. If your mother, or anyone in your family has a
tendency to develop stretch marks, either during pregnancy or otherwise,
then you are more likely to develop them yourself.
Bad Diet and Water Intake
you have a poor diet, your skin is more likely to be unhealthy. Diets
deficient in antioxidants, vitamin E, vitamin A or Omega 3s can lead to
your skin lacking elasticity which leads to formation of stretch marks.
Moreover, if your body is not getting enough water, your skin will bear
the brunt of it. Water helps you skin cells stay plump, moisturised and
healthy. If your skin is dehydrated, it will be unable to recover from
the stress of pregnancy and will result in stretch marks.
twins, triplets, a big sized baby, or having excessive amniotic fluid
are some other factors that can cause stretch marks.
Prevent formation of Stretch Marks
during pregnancy by drinking a lot of water, and having a well-balanced
nutritious diet. Massage your skin daily with Vitamin E oil or
moisturising body lotion.
However, since some factors that cause
stretch marks are out of our hands, some stretch marks are bound to
appear. If treated immediately upon formation, you can reduce and in
some cases completely remove the appearance of stretch marks. When
stretch marks first appear, they are red or pink in colour. Using
containing glycolic acid or retinoids is advised to treat them as soon
as they appear. If you wish to use natural methods to treat them, use home remedies
like lemon juice, virgin coconut oil or malai (i.e. milk fat). If not
treated right away; over time the stretch marks fade to grey and finally
silvery-white indented streaks which are much more difficult to treat.
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- The Indiaparenting Team
What are stretch marks? Why do stretch marks appear during pregnancy? What are the main factors that cause stretch marks in pregnant women?
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