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How Can I Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?

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Research has shown that stretch marks occur in up to 90% of women during pregnancy. These reddish-purple marks occur due to rapid growth that causes the skin to expand. When the skin stretches beyond its level of elasticity, the connective fibers in the dermis rupture, leading to the development of stretch marks.

Unfortunately, since stretch marks occur in the middle layer of the skin, topical skincare products are typically not the most effective solution. There are many websites promoting the use of moisturizing skin products when pregnant, such as those containing vitamin E, shea butter, and cocoa butter. While regular use of these products can help hydrate skin and keep it supple, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that proves these can prevent stretch marks from forming.

To minimize the chance of stretch marks during pregnancy, women should try to keep weight gain at a healthy level for how far along they are. It is common for some individuals to gain weight faster in the last half of their pregnancy, which can place excess stress on the skin’s connective fibers. In addition, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can help keep skin cells healthy and plump, which enables them to better respond to rapid growth and stretching.

Since there is no proven way to prevent stretch marks, many women are interested in how they can treat the lines after pregnancy. Studies have shown that the earlier stretch marks are treated, the better they respond. This is why our aesthetic professionals encourage patients who are unhappy with their stretch marks to consider their treatment options while the lines are still new.

A variety of skin care products and non-surgical treatments are available to help diminish the appearance of stretch marks after they have formed, such as silicone gel treatments and vitamin A-based products (like retinoid creams). If your stretch marks are especially severe and do not respond to these products, you may be a good candidate for CO2 laser skin resurfacing. Often performed as part of the overarching mommy makeover treatment plan, laser resurfacing can help even out skin tone and texture.