Our body undergoes many changes throughout our lives. These changes have profound effect on the skin. One of the most unwanted side effects of carrying a baby for 9 months is stretch marks after pregnancy. The good news is that there are quite efficient treatments that can help women significantly minimize these marks and even get rid of them completely.
What causes the marks to appear?
Stretch marks after pregnancy are caused when the collagen and elastin, which are proteins responsible for the elasticity of the skin, rapture as a result of over stretching. The rupture creates scars on the inside of the skin which are clearly visible above it.
At first, the marks look like pink, purple or brown stripes. Over time, they blur and appear as white stretch marks that resemble the natural color of the skin. Unfortunately, they are still clearly visible.
There are a few available treatments for stretch marks after pregnancy. Regardless of any type of treatment you may choose to apply, the most important thing is to start as early as possible while the marks are still pink or purple.
Creams and oils
The most basic treatment includes creams meant to restore the moisture the skin lost during the months of pregnancy. The most recommended pregnancy stretch mark creams should contain tretinoin (Retin A) at a concentration of 0.05% – 0.1%. Dermatologists also advise using creams with Cetomacrogol 1000 (polyethylene glycol hexadecyl ether). This nonionic surfactant absorbs easily in the skin and increases its moisture level significantly.
Bath oils are also very efficient in helping the skin regain moisture and elasticity. It is advisable to put some oil in a hot tub and even use it instead of soap for a couple of months.
Wheat germ oil is known to be highly effective as it is rich in vitamin E essential for skin health. Jojoba oil is also reported to have a desirable effect for treating stretch marks after pregnancy. Its anti-inflammatory qualities help sooth irritated skin.
Radio waves therapy
In more severe cases, your dermatologist may use radio waves to penetrate deeper skin layers in order to cause controlled injury of cells. It will accelerate the formation of new collagen and elastin fibers while replacing the damaged ones that caused the stretch marks. The treatment is safe, painless and with no side effects.
Chemical peeling with Trichloroacetic Acid may have positive results as well. In some patients it is possible to see an impressive improvement in the appearance of the skin after no more than 3-4 treatments.
However, this treatment is difficult to perform when it comes to large skin areas and, more importantly, the use of chemicals can cause skin burns and, if done improperly, may lead to irreversible skin damage. So you had better go to a specialist who knows how to do it.
The most radical, yet effective, treatment for stretch marks after pregnancy is plastic surgery. The surgeon removes and rebuilds the damaged skin and the tissues that support it. The surgery is recommended for women who do not plan to give birth anymore and are interested in giving their skin a younger look.