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The Dermatology Series: Stretch Marks. Series 3 of 7

By Published On: January 23rd, 2013

The dreaded stretch marks are almost always a concern. It occurs in at least half of all gravid women and genetics play a part too. When skin stretches too quickly, new collagen is not produced quickly enough and this results in striae or ‘stretch marks’. Common areas where these red, brown streaky lines appear are on the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs and breasts. The colour does fade with time to a whitish hue but never completely disappears. This results in loose and lax skin.

What you can do before getting pregnant

Maintain a healthy body weight and keep the weight gain during the pregnancy limited to what is recommended by your obstetrician, together with an active lifestyle.
Pay attention to the common areas where stretch marks may appear by applying a good moisturizer daily to keep the skin supple and hydrated.

What you can do during pregnancy

As you wander around the chemists, you may notice that there are a lot of ‘special’ and rather expensive potions and concoctions on the shelves that claim to be able to prevent stretch marks altogether as long as you keep using them throughout your pregnancy. These are some very lofty claims to be taken with a big pinch of salt! As mentioned many women are genetically predisposed to stretch marks and no cream or moisturizer can combat the effects of genetics. A simple moisturizer like cocoa butter is cheaper and will do the same job.

Remaining hydrated at all times, a must for pregnant ladies anyway, can help a great deal as well. like any other part of your body your skin needs all the natural moisture it can get.

What you do after delivery

Aside from a healthy well- balanced diet and moderate exercise, most women also want to improve the contours of the skin, get rid of the new fat bulges and firm the loose sagging skin that becoming a Mum leaves behind. For this, radiofrequency can help to tighten the skin. With an added ultrasound function such as found in the EXILISTM , the unsightly bulges seen are minimized and the skin appears smoother and tighter even after 1 session.
As for the new red stretch marks, a variety of lasers can be used to improve the colour as well as increase the amount of collagen in the skin to firm it.