What are stretch marks?
As your bump grows, your underlying body tissues (like fat, muscle) grow much faster than the overlying skin. This results in the formation of uneven stripes or lines called “striae” or stretch marks. Stretch marks can also occur due to weight gain.
What is the difference between red and white stretch marks?
Initially, when the skin stretches, the underlying blood vessels can be seen through and hence the stretch marks are seen as red, indicative of these marks being in their “growing” phase and on longstanding ( for many months or a year), they “mature” and become white.
What are the treatments available for stretch marks?
For Red Stretch Marks: It is best to start using any topical creams (which help in building up collagen) as advised by your doctor and the earlier you start the application the better. Some other treatments include “pulse dye laser” and “fractional thermolysis” (more practiced in the west) are also gaining vogue.
For White Stretch Marks: These are more tenacious and harder to get rid of and are generally permanent. Usage of topical creams may lighten the marks but using a cosmetic treatment like “Microdermabrasion”(gives a polished appearance) and “Excimer laser” (restores color) can be done. Other light therapies like IPL (intense pulsed light) and Fraxel can also be indicated.
Caveat: We advise to consult your doctor before adopting any method. Some of these treatments may not be suited during your pregnancy.
Can stretch marks be prevented?
As much as we would like to say yes, there is no denying that stretch marks are inevitable during pregnancy. The only thing that can be done is to take proper care to prevent them from drying when they occur. Vitamin E creams or any suggested by your doctor will benefit you. Also, maintaining your weight and staying hydrated is a must during this time. All these small changes may help in reducing the spread of the stretch marks.