Stretch Marks

Get rid of stretch marks after a pregnancy

Studies show that up to 90 percent of women develop stretch marks as the result of a pregnancy, and in some cases, they can be severe and very unsightly. Stretch marks are caused by tiny tears in the skin, which occur as the result of the skin being stretched to its absolute limit as your body grows to accommodate your developing baby. They most commonly occur in the stomach and abdomen area, though stretch marks may also appear on the thighs, buttocks and breasts.

 

Several factors determine whether or not you are likely to get stretch marks as the result of a pregnancy. Women with darker skin have lower incidence rates, simply because their natural skin tone masks the appearance of tiny tears in the skin. The amount of weight you gain during pregnancy (and subsequently lose) also plays a role; the narrower your weight range, the less likely stretch marks are to appear.

Treating Stretch Marks

There are two main approaches to treating stretch marks: topical creams and plastic surgery. Creams that claim to reduce the appearance of stretch marks or eliminate them altogether work by flooding the skin with moisture and nutrients that help repair the damaged collagen, thereby repairing the small tears. They typically contain cocoa butter, wheat germ oil and lanolin. If you want to try topical therapies, research the various brands to see which one consumers have had the most success with.

A more reliable, albeit costlier and riskier, alternative is to get plastic surgery to remove your stretch marks. Laser surgery techniques can be used to treat stretch marks and can be performed on an outpatient basis, usually requiring no overnight hospital stay. However, if you're on a tight budget, it's recommended that you try topical treatments first to see if they work for you. Laser surgery is far more expensive and presents risks such as burning or scarring; creams are much safer.

Every woman's stretch marks are different, and treatments that work for one person may not work for another. Talking to your doctor or a dermatologist about stretch mark treatments is the best way to find the option that's right for you.

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