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Post Delivery Issues Topics..

You are here : home > Post Delivery Issues > Stretch Marks > Causes of Stretch Marks

Causes of Stretch Marks

What 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.

Stretch 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.

In 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

If 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 following:

  1. Weight gain

    In 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.

  2. Hormones

    New 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.

  3. Family History

    A 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.

  4. Bad Diet and Water Intake

    If 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.

Bearing 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 medicated remedies 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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Miller.6 years ago
i am taking extra care of my skin. i massage olive oil in the morning on my belly and at night i lather on cocoa butter.....i hope this prevents stretch marks.
Priya.6 years ago
after the birth of my baby, i thought i would have stretch marks but to my surprise i had no stretch marks.....i m really surprised. i had a healthy diet and lot of water during pregnancy.....
Sienna.6 years ago
i am four weeks pregnant and following a healthy regimen. i want to prevent stretch marks. could you please suggest a diet to prevent stretch marks?
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Discussion Forum - Recent Posts
What are stretch marks? Why do stretch marks appear during pregnancy? What are the main factors that cause stretch marks in pregnant women?
Contrary to popular belief, stretch marks is just not restricted to pregnancy. it can occur in anybody who has a significant weight change. it happens due to rapid weight gain due to which skin' s ela...
Stretch marks mostly appear post delivery. During pregnancy, there is rapid weight gain and skin stretches. the loss of elasticity of skin and hormonal changes leads to development of stretch marks. O...
Hormones play an important role in formation of stretch marks. they affect the collagen fibres. Collagen maintains the elasticity of the skin and keeps it looking young. So rapid changes affect collag...
view more >>
Pregnancy Stretch Marks
RE:Stretch Marks and Diet
Eating healthy food is necessary during pregnancy, but this won'nt help you ... - Helping Guy !!    read >>

RE:Anti-stretch marks cream
Yes there are number of pregnancy anti stretch marks cream available in the ... - Helping Guy !!    read >>

RE:remedy for stretch marks
Milk cream is definitely a good idea. I will also recommend you to use natu ... - Helping Guy !!    read >>

RE:best time to work on stretch marks
Normally stretch marks appear after 4 months of pregnancy, so its better to ... - Helping Guy !!    read >>


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