1. What are stretch marks?
These are narrow, hypopigmented (but they can be pink, red, brown or purple in the beginning) and depressed stripes that appear on the skin´s surface (most commonly on the abdomen) in late stages of gestation due to the rapidly expanding belly that develops to make space for the growing baby. Other locations of these stretch marks are the hips, buttocks, upper arms, thighs and breasts.
2. What causes stretch marks?
Stretch marks appear due to the skin becoming suddenly stretched by pregnancy, especially in multifetal gestations, being pregnant with a big baby or having excessive amniotic fluid.
Other causes include puberty, fast weight gain and/or loss, some medical conditions like Marfan or Cushing´s syndrome, family history of stretch marks. Some athletes can develop stretch marks from bulging muscles.
3. Why does pregnancy promotes the appearance of stretch marks?
During gestation, your body produces oestrogen and progesterone, which soften the ligaments located in your pelvis for major flexibility. But at the same time, these also soften the skin fibres, promoting the development of stretch marks.
4. Do all pregnant women get stretch marks?
No, but in general more than 50% of women will develop stretch marks. It depends mostly on your skin type and its elasticity, and if you have some of the factors stated above.
5.What can I do to prevent stretch marks?
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do. There are no creams, salves, and oils that have enough proof to prevent stretch marks. Ask your dermatologist for some recommendations on how to manage these.
6. Will my stretch marks ever go away?
They can become considerably less noticeable about 6 months to a year after childbirth, but do not always disappear completely. Their texture will remain the same. The changes are mostly seen in their pigmentation, which fades, becoming lighter than the rest of the skin (depending on your skin colour).