An increase in abdominal circumference during pregnancy leads to increased pressure on the skin surface. This causes the skin to become stretched, leading to deep lines between the stretched skin and muscle. This stretched skin is referred to as striae gravidarum, stripe marks or stretch marks.

What Causes Postpartum Stretch Marks?

Striae gravidarum have no single cause but they tend to occur more frequently around the time of delivery and after childbirth. Factors such as excessive weight gain and genetic predisposition contribute to their development.

pregnancy belly

A Word of Advice

If you’re thinking about having a baby, it is possible to prevent pregnancy stretch marks from forming. However, there isn’t much you can do to still enjoy your skin elasticity. Once you become pregnant, there are certain things you can do to minimize their appearance or duration:

·         Exercise regularly

Your muscles will expand to accommodate the extra blood supply required for providing nutrients to your growing baby. Make sure not to overexert yourself, however, as exercise should never lead to injury. 

·         Eat well during pregnancy

 Maintain a healthy diet with adequate amounts of folic acid, protein, and calcium. Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, tobacco products, and recreational drugs, which might affect fetal development. 

·         Monitor your stress levels

 If you find yourself under too much emotional strain when you’re expecting, try to reduce any unnecessary sources of anxiety. Relaxation exercises and meditation can help alleviate some of this burden. 

·         Take care of your skin

Moisturizing daily and protecting exposed skin against sun exposure is key to preventing the formation of pregnancy stretch marks. Remember to wear sunscreen every day! 

Also, avoid using harsh soaps or lotions while pregnant because these could irritate your skin. Try lactic acid-based soaps instead. In addition, limit your use of harsh chemicals such as bleach; straighten irons, hair spray, nail polish remover, or hairspray.

7 Ways to Improve the Appearance of Postpartum Stretch Marks

1.      Massage with Oils

Natural oils are great for skin elasticity, even if they didn’t appear due to an accident. Many natural massage oils help repair scars and enhance the elasticity of damaged tissues after having a baby. Some examples include grape seed oil, almond oil, avocado oil, castor oil, and olive oil.

In addition, applying a warm compress is another technique used to heal scarred skin. Apply warm water to the affected area and leave it on for up to 15 minutes several times per day.


2.      Hydrate with Essential Oils

Essential oils contain antimicrobial properties that can help combat infection. You can massage one drop into your dry scalp twice a week. For eczema, add a couple of drops of lavender oil to your bathwater. Or just rub a few drops onto your feet at night before bedtime.

3.      Use Creams and Lotions

Lotions and creams containing retinol (vitamin A) are designed to give you the Kim Kardashian skin. They help rejuvenate tired skin by stimulating collagen production. Retinols work best when applied sparingly, according to experts. But most women report little difference in results with regular applications.

4.      Look For Treatments Based On Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps decrease the appearance of pregnancy stretch marks by increasing the rate of collagen turnover in young skin. This however cannot be generalized to all women who experience stretch mark problems.

5.      Drink Water

Try drinking plenty of fluids. Dehydration leads to inflammation, which causes the body to draw more moisture from surrounding areas. These results in skin that appears moist but lacks the firmness associated with normal skin.

6.      Breastfeeding to Burn Calories

If you breastfeed exclusively, it burns about 100 calories per hour. Breast milk contains high concentrations of fat, which makes it an effective way to burn calories. You also get other health benefits.

7.      Stay Active

Physical activity increases circulation, helping the body remove toxins. A lack of physical movement can cause tension and increase stress, causing your hormones to produce more estrogen. This stimulates the growth of new cells, resulting in stretch marks.

Best Natural Remedies for Postpartum Stretch Marks

pregnancy stretch marks

a woman lying down with stretch marks showing on upper thighs

Home remedies can also help prevent new marks from forming. The following tips may minimize the appearance of existing ones:

•         Use Light Pressure

When massaging the area where you have stretch marks, apply only enough force to gently move around the marks. Don’t press down hard enough to bruise or break them.

•         Treat Existing Marks with Topical Treatments

 Ointments, creams, and gels formulated specifically for stretch marks can provide pain relief. These treatments often involve the application of retinoic acids—which promote cell growth—to the affected area once a day.

•         Keep Your Skin Hydrated

 Keeping skin moisturized protects it against damage from the elements like sunlight and humidity. And being properly hydrated reduces the risk of pregnancy stretch marks.

Frequently Asked Questions

·         Can You Fix Stretch Marks After Pregnancy?

It is possible to repair stretch marks after getting your bundle of joy, although they will not disappear completely. Depending on the type of stretch marks you had and how extensive the problem was, healing might take months or even years. During treatment, you might need to wear compression garments such as elastic stockings or support bandages. Your doctor can recommend a particular regimen that’s right for you.

·         How Do I Stop Stretch Marks After Giving Birth?

Your chance to successfully treat existing stretch marks depends largely on how long you waited to get pregnant again. If you haven’t already given birth, you should try to stay away from pregnancy for six months or longer until you’ve healed. Pregnancy hormones usually trigger a surge of cellular growth, and this process takes time. It could be several weeks before you see the effects of increased cell proliferation.

 Some doctors recommend waiting two years after childbirth to reduce your chances of developing stretch marks. But if you feel up to conceiving immediately, there are some things you can do to combat stretch marks that form during the early stages of breastfeeding. In addition to reducing your overall calorie intake (since breastfeeding requires that you consume extra calories), consider these home remedies for postpartum stretch marks:

·         How Can I Remove Stretch Marks After Pregnancy?

If you developed stretch marks after becoming pregnant and didn’t wait long after delivery before trying to become pregnant again, it’s unlikely to be an issue that will go away on its own. You probably won’t be able to get rid of stretch marks 100%, but you can significantly improve your appearance by using products designed to soothe and heal the skin.

One of the best ways to care for stretch marks after pregnancy is to use a serum containing retinoic acid. Retinoid work similarly to vitamin E because they stimulate collagen production. They’re especially helpful when combined with other formulations that contain vitamins B5 and C along with alpha-hydroxyl acids, which aid in removing dead skin cells and improving blood flow.

To effectively tackle existing stretch marks, apply them to dry areas daily and then follow up with a sunscreen lotion. Use a broad spectrum SPF 15 or higher product and reapply at least every 2 hours.

·         Where to Find a Good Stretch Mark Cream?

Before going shopping for a new product or going for a cosmetic procedure, learn more about what sort of benefits stretch marks have that would make you want to buy one. Read ingredient lists carefully for “alpha hydroxyl acid” and “retinol.” Most brands that promise to smooth out stretch marks don’t actually deliver.

Check the company’s website and social media sites to see whether customers have reported positive results using the brand. For women who develop stretch marks after delivery, choosing a cream with ingredients that promote healthy-looking, vibrant skin makes sense. This category includes products like Murad Rapid Response Stretch Mark Cream.

·         How Long Do Postpartum Stretch Marks Last?

While most stretch marks resolve within 6-12 months after pregnancy, you may experience recurrence for as many as five years or longer depending on the severity of the original condition.

Recurrences are common among breastfed mothers since the mother’s milk contains high amounts of prolactin — a hormone associated with lactation. The elevated levels found in milk can suppress metabolism, resulting in weight gain. Excess fat stored under breasts following pregnancy can also contribute to stretch marks returning.

·         How Can I Remove Stretch Marks After Delivery Naturally?

The first thing to remember is that stretch marks are not caused by dieting. Dieting cannot alter genetics, nor does it cause a decrease in the amount of body-fat tissue. Stretch marks are merely overgrowth of skin, just like callouses or ingrown hairs.

If the underlying cause of a condition is being addressed (as with acne), there is no need to try to treat stretchmarks in isolation. Green banana extract is a natural remedy for stretch marks, even if they disappear completely from your body. It doesn’t matter how old the injury is, or where it was located on your body; green bananas can help remove these unsightly scars permanently! 

Another home remedy is jojoba butter smoothies mixed together with lemon juice and olive oil can also help if applied twice per day to any area affected by stretch marks.

 A mixture of vinegar and baking soda can be used to gently cleanse the affected area 3 times per week, and coconut oil can moisturize the damaged skin and prevent further damage from occurring.

Best Stretch Mark Removal Cream after Pregnancy

With so many skincare products out there, how should I know what’s safe and really works? One of the ways to gauge the actual effectiveness of a specific treatment is to read reviews online. Good luck finding any information regarding the quality of these products because companies are not required to list details such as ingredients, active ingredients, side effects, etc.

There’s nothing wrong with buying something cheap, but if your goal is to obtain a decent result, spend some extra money on the products you believe will give you results. A quick internet search for “post-pregnancy stretch mark cream review” will lead you right to tons of useful articles.

Best Pregnancy Stretch Mark Cream: How to Get Rid Of Stretch Marks Safely

Another simple trick some women use is to massage their breasts daily. This helps to stimulate blood flow, break down fat deposits, and soften the skin, all while strengthening connective tissue, which softens the appearance of stretch marks. However, this method isn’t recommended every day as it could possibly have negative implications for circulation.

Postpartum Stretch Marks Before And After

Most women don’t have stretch marks before getting pregnant because their skin has enough elasticity to accommodate growing babies. Once pregnant, however, our bodies undergo dramatic changes as hormones flood the system.

These hormones speed up cell turnover, causing collagen fibers to shorten and grow less elastic. In addition, water retention increases during pregnancy, leading to swelling, and fluid loss from the skin as well. When combined with weight gain postpartum, this may contribute to stretch marks appearing in areas previously unaffected. 

Bottom Line

Pregnancy stretch marks are often considered unattractive, unsightly markings on our bodies, especially in areas where we carry much of our baby’s weight. While they aren’t necessarily an indication of poor health, when they’re particularly noticeable, they can affect how others perceive us.

Thankfully, however, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way to help them go away completely. In fact, there are numerous treatments available, including creams that contain retinol or alpha hydroxy acids, which work well at smoothing out wrinkles and scars, and even lasers that eliminate them permanently. 


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