Stretch marks are a skin problem that affects a large number of people. While they can also affect men, they are more commonly seen among women especially those who have already undergone pregnancy. Pregnancy is perhaps one of the most common causes of stretch marks, appearing on the breasts and abdomen. Many of you may already have seen how a stretch mark looks like, especially if you are a husband, daughter or son of a mother who has one.
I have seen some men who have stretch marks, but usually the appearance is not as noticeable as those I have seen among mothers. Understanding pregnancy stretch marks will not only be useful among women but also among men so that we may be able to help some of the women we know deal with this condition.
What Are Pregnancy Stretch Marks?
Pregnancy stretch marks are depressed small streaks in the skin that normally occur in the abdomen and breasts during the last trimester of pregnancy when there is a rapid expansion of the abdomen to accommodate the unborn baby. They usually start to appear in brown, pink or purple color and then later on fade and become light silver. They do not totally disappear.
Who Can Develop Pregnancy Stretch Marks?
It is hard to predict who could develop stretch marks during pregnancy. Certainly, they appear in more than 50 percent of pregnant women. However, certain factors may increase your risk of stretch marks. For instance, if your mother and other sisters have developed them during pregnancy, there is a big probability that you will too. Also, younger pregnant women are more prone to this condition. Additionally, the faster you gain weight and expand your belly during pregnancy, the more chances that you will have stretch marks.
How Can You Prevent Stretch Marks?
Unfortunately, most preventive measures for stretch marks do not really work. Even topical lotions and creams which claim to be effective in preventing stretch marks among pregnant women seem to not work.
Moreover, it is always best to keep your skin hydrated during pregnancy to make it look more toned and smoother. Drinking more fluid especially water can also help keep your skin healthy and may help in reducing your risk of having stretch marks.
How to Remove Stretch Marks?
Although stretch marks are highly visible during and right after pregnancy, they usually reduce in appearance after one year. They normally become lighter in appearance even without applying any skin care products. However, if they bother you and you would like to reduce their appearance faster, there are several treatment options available including light therapy and the use of stronger topical medications. You could talk with your dermatologist about the most suitable option for you.
Pregnancy stretch marks generally do not require medication or medical attention unless you are bothered by their appearance. However, if you intend to use any topical medication to get rid of them while still pregnant, it would be better to first seek the advice of your doctor as some topical medicines may be harmful to your unborn child.