Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are common in pregnancy, and affect 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women. They also affect bodybuilders, athletes, adolescents undergoing rapid growth spurts or anyone who experiences periods of rapid growth or weight gain.

 

Unfortunately, there is no magic trick that will protect you against getting stretch marks, and once you have them, they are hard to get rid of. However, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of unsightly scarring and minimize the damage.

Stretch Mark Prevention

Stretch marks occur when the collagen in the stretchy layer of your skin (the dermis) breaks down. This is in part due to your skin being overstretched across your expanding belly, and partly due to hormonal changes.

To minimize the appearance of stretch marks, there are two important steps to take. First, try to keep your weight gain within the limits recommended by your doctor. Gaining extra weight will just stretch your skin further. Second, keep your skin moisturized to nourish that collagen layer and improve its ability to stretch.

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Stretch Marks Treatment Options

There are a number of creams, lotions and oils that purport to remove stretch marks, but most of them are not proven. Stretch marks are essentially scars, and scar tissue is notoriously tough to get rid of. Many women claim these products work, however. They are certainly the cheapest option to try and aren't likely to do any harm.

More aggressive, and expensive, options include chemical peels and laser treatments. If you're seriously bothered by the appearance of stretch marks, and you have the time and money to invest, these treatments have a greater chance of success than topical creams.

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