Stretch marks are thin pink or purple lines that appear on the surface of the skin.
Where do stretch marks appear?
They can appear on your tummy, upper thighs, or breasts as your baby bump grows during your pregnancy. When they appear varies from woman to woman. Your first awareness of a stretch mark might be itchiness around an area where the skin is becoming thin and pink.
How to deal with stretch marks?
Stretch marks aren’t harmful and won’t cause any medical problems but there isn’t a specific treatment for them. The marks become less noticeable after your baby is born, as they gradually fade into white-colored scars but probably won’t disappear completely.
What causes stretch marks?
They can occur whenever the skin is stretched, for example when we’re growing during puberty or when putting on or losing weight. Hormonal changes in pregnancy can affect your skin and make you more likely to get stretch marks.
They happen when the middle layer of skin (dermis) becomes stretched and broken in places.
Who can have stretch marks?
Stretch marks don’t only affect expectant mothers, they are also very common in the general population. Getting stretch marks depends on your skin type; some people’s skin is more elastic and can withstand stretches.
Pregnancy weight gain and stretch marks
Weight gain during pregnancy varies greatly among women with most gaining between 10kg and 12.5kg. If your weight gain during pregnancy is more than average, you are more likely to get stretch marks.
Preventing stretch marks
Evidence about whether oils or creams can help prevent stretch marks from appearing is limited.
A review of two studies looking at two specific creams marketed as preventing stretch marks found that massaging the skin may help to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy. However, more research is needed to know if creams or massaging the skin can help to prevent stretch marks.