CAUSES AND PREVENTION OF STRETCH MARKS

Stretch marks also known as striae gravid arum, the marks of pregnancy, the streaks or stripes on the skin, especially on the abdomen, caused by distension of the skin from obesity or during pregnancy.
Call them what you like but they are the one thing that a lot of women dread will occur as soon as they get pregnant. Some don’t take it as anything, whether it comes or not as far their baby comes out healthy and alive they are ok.

 

 

But what are stretch marks anyway? And why do they occur?

Well, the reason lies in the anatomy of the skin. The skin has two layers a thin upper layer called the epidermis, and a thicker, lower layer called the dermis. Scattered in the dermis are fine protein filaments called elastin that, like a piece of a rubber band, are capable of stretching on being pulled. But just as a rubber band can stretch only so far and no further, these elastic fibres can also be stretched only to a certain extent. If stretched further, they snap. The increasing bulk of the uterus during pregnancy causes the skin to stretch to a great extent and the elastin fibres are torn. The torn elastin produces scars on the skin called Stria Gravidarum or stretch marks.

They occur on the lower abdomen of all pregnant women, right?

Well, right and wrong. They appear in most pregnant women, but not in all and not just on the lower abdomen. Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched in a very short period of time, as in pregnancy or in obesity. They occur:

In the lower abdomen in pregnancy.
Along the sides of the breasts either in pregnancy or in obesity.
Upper thighs.
Occasionally even on the inner sides of the upper arms.

But can stretch marks be prevented?

Thankfully, the answer is yes, to a certain extent. Although some women are genetically prone to develop stretch marks, it has been noted that athletes and women accustomed to heavy, physical labour get very few or no stretch marks. This is regardless of whether their female relatives have stretch marks or not. The reason for this is that that these women have very well-developed and strong abdominal muscles. These muscles can easily take the weight of the growing uterus and prevent it from pressing forwards on the skin rather like wearing a strong muscular belt under the skin. The skin is thus stretched less, fewer elastin fibres are damaged, and there are fewer stretch marks.
Again a supple, healthy, well-moisturized skin is capable of stretching more without any lasting damage. So if a woman can strengthen her abdominal muscles and keep her skin healthy and supple, there is less chance of her developing stretch marks.

But how? How do I develop my muscles and keep my skin moisturized?


Gentle exercises for the abdominal muscles can be started as soon as pregnancy has been confirmed or even as pregnancy is being planned.Here are some of the recommended exercises to carry out.
Exercise 1 : Standing erect, raise both arms above the head. Bend forward slowly to touch your toes. Hold the position for a count of 100. Then slowly straighten up. Do this exercise at least once daily.

Exercise 2 : Standing erect, raise both arms above the head and clasp your hands. Now bend slowly to your left as far down as you feel comfortable. Hold for a count of 10. Straighten up slowly and then bend to your right. Hold to a count of 10. Straighten up. Exhale as you are bending and inhale while straightening up. Do at least 3 sets once daily.

Exercise 3 : Stand straight with feet about 12 inches apart. Place hands on your back at the waist. Slowly bend back, as far back as you feel comfortable. Hold to a count of 10. Straighten up. Now bend forward slowly, hold the position for a count of 10. Then straighten up. Exhale as you are bending and inhale while straightening up. Do at least 3 sets once daily.

These three exercises will strengthen the abdominal and back muscles as well as gently stretch the skin. They also improve the posture during pregnancy.

Caring for the skin : Keep the skin moisturized by applying the oil like olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil or any good baby oil thoroughly over the skin of the abdomen, hips, and thighs. Massage it in with sweeping upward strokes. You can do this before you exercise so that the oil is properly absorbed as the skin is stretched during exercise. This will make the skin supple and healthy and capable of stretching without damaging the elastin fibres.

A Good Diet : Take a good diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and adequate liquids. And do not forget your daily vitamins. This will ensure a healthy and supple skin.

But what happens if the stretch marks have already occurred? How do I get rid of them?

The good thing about stretch marks is that they fade over time. When they are first formed, they are reddish or purplish, but later they become thin silvery lines that may not be visible at first glance. The bad thing about stretch marks is that they can be removed permanently only by surgery. The elastin and collagen growth can be stimulated to some extent by cocoa butter, Vitamin E, wheat germ oil and lanolin. But to remove the marks completely, laser surgery, blue light therapy, and other surgical treatments are the only options. Many creams and lotions available on the market also claim to be able to remove stretch marks but have yet to be medically proved.

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43 Comments

  • Reply
    Laura Mitbrodt
    August 1, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    I hate the dreaded stretch marks, thanks for sharing
    xo
    http://www.laurajaneatelier.com

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 1, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Laura dear, so do I..Lol..Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Sharon Wu of Style Lullaby
    August 2, 2016 at 1:49 am

    Loved this read! Thanks for sharing xo, sharon

    http://www.stylelullaby.com

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 1:51 am

    Thanks Sharon.

  • Reply
    Abdulmalik Amodu
    August 2, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Wait, for real? Ah somebody need to visit this page. Thank for sharing.

    Please I'll like to have you @ http://www.nairatrace.com

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Aww!Thanks Abdul.Ok checking it out now.

  • Reply
    Adrika
    August 2, 2016 at 9:18 am

    great!
    NEW BLOG ! please follow me : YOUNG BLOG

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Thanks Adrika.

  • Reply
    Yiotou_La
    August 2, 2016 at 9:20 am

    I have plenty of stretch marks on my legs cause I lost weight when I was a teenager and I lost it in 2 months, so it left me with stretch marks. I find that oil does the job well but I cannot get rid of them.

    Yiota
    PinkDaisyLoves

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Oh so sorry dear..Not too worry if it doesn't go away, some are just like that.Thanks for stopping by.

  • Reply
    Ivana Jeknić
    August 2, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Great explanation about stretch marks, i have ones too, and actually i just accepted them, so i wear them proudly xoxo

    http://www.theninebyivana.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Great, good to know Ivana. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Reply
    Yamini
    August 2, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Those are some really great tips to prevent stretch marks Tessy.A very informative post.

  • Reply
    Emma Loves Fashion
    August 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Amazing post!
    Super interesting,
    Emma
    http://www.emmalovesfashion.com

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks Yamini.

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks Emma.

  • Reply
    The Fashion Folks
    August 2, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I had no idea, have heard about coconut oil, but this whole post was so informative! Xx

    http://www.thefashionfolks.com

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks a lot Fashion sweetie, yes coconut oil helps in reducing the scar.

  • Reply
    Ileana
    August 2, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    These are such great tips! I have a few stretch marks… got them while in college, when I found my love for biscuits! 😀 I actually think they are cute… mostly cause they are barely noticeable and hidden with everyday clothes 🙂
    xoxo

    Ileana

    Novelstyle Blog

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Oh cool that's good to know. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    husna favaz
    August 2, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    I had stretch marks when I was a teenager due to weight issues. Then during pregnancy I took extra care like proper body moisturizing, stretching exercises, yoga and I had no stretch marks at all. Thanks for sharing this awesome post Tessy xoxo

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Wow! Well done dear, good to know. Thanks for stopping by!.

  • Reply
    Aiko
    August 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Such a great read! I have a few stretch marks myself and I wish I could've done more to prevent it. Thanks for sharing.

    xo,

    aikocunanan.com

  • Reply
    Kerona Ledgister
    August 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    I love your blog too. Wow
    http://www.mssparkleandglow.com

  • Reply
    Sasha
    August 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing this informative post! I hate my stretch marks and I have just given up with trying to get rid of them. Maybe I will try moisturizing again.

    Have a lovely day!

    xoSE
    http://www.sashaelizabeth.com/

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Aww! Thank you so much Aiko.

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Aww! Thank you dear, I appreciate.

  • Reply
    Jessi Malay
    August 2, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    I never knew this! So glad you shared.

    XO, Jessi
    http://www.mywhitet.com

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks Jessi. Glad you learnt something new today.

  • Reply
    Adrika
    August 2, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    ovely:)
    NEW BLOG ! please follow me : YOUNG BLOG

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks Adrika.

  • Reply
    Precious Nkeih
    August 2, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Useful post, Tessy!
    I hear Bio Oil really works well against stretch marks.

    PreciousCore.com

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks Precious darling, yes I heard so too. But I've not tried it before.

  • Reply
    Erica Choi
    August 2, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Thanks for all the advice! Very helpful 🙂

    Erica
    http://www.eggcanvas.me

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 2, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    You welcome darling!Thanks.

  • Reply
    Zinny
    August 3, 2016 at 12:27 am

    I noticed that the stretch marks I have faded as I grew older. It's not as bad anymore. I feel comfortable in my skin and they are just a few. Nice write-up.

    http://www.zinnyfactor.com

  • Reply
    Jalisa G
    August 3, 2016 at 12:27 am

    Such a great article, girlie! I have stretch marks in a few places, due to weight loss, and like you've said, they've become less visible with the time. I'll definitely be taking these tips into consideration moving forward, thank you for sharing!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    http://www.thestylecontour.com

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 3, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Aww! OK dear just try, it might be of help. Thank you for the heads up, have a fantastic day ahead.

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 3, 2016 at 12:31 am

    Well said darling Jalisa, thanks dear.

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 3, 2016 at 12:33 am

    You welcome Erica dear.Glad you found it helpful.

  • Reply
    Holly Sparkes
    August 4, 2016 at 11:01 am

    I literally never knew any of this- so helpful! I'm new to blogging, it'd mean a lot if you could check out my blog and maybe give me some feedback! Much love Holly xo

    http://www.corkylilthing.blogspot.co.uk

  • Reply
    Tessy Onyia
    August 4, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Oh Holly thanks, glad you learnt something new today, alright, I will check out your blog.

  • Reply
    Baird
    December 12, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    For old stretch marks, Revitol has the restorative effects to reduce their appearance through the replacement of existing scar tissue by the new skin cells. dermelastic

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