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Oct 14, 2021

When do stretch marks appear?

Written By: Elisa Agostinho

I like to think of my stretch marks as proudly worn warrior scars. They’re a reflection of my strength and a reminder of the best thing that’s ever happened to me. When I got pregnant, I knew they’d likely surface, so I did a little digging to find out what causes stretch marks, whether there was anything that could be done to prevent them, and what to do if they showed up anyway.

Do all pregnant women get stretch marks?

50% to 90% of all pregnant women wind up with stretch marks – welcome to another rite of passage into mommyhood. And while there’s a collective spectrum of pregnancy body changes that we all go through, your experience with stretch marks and how severe they are can be influenced by a handful of factors.

Why do you get stretch marks during pregnancy?

Striae, the medical term for stretch marks, are depressed, usually vertical lines caused by stretched-too-tight-and-fast skin tissue. They can appear across your belly, breasts, hips, thighs, and butt during pregnancy, and look like red, pink, purplish, or brown streaks. Genetics play a role (if your mom had them, you probably will, too), as do lifestyle habits such as diet, weight, and exercise – your skin’s elasticity, and hormonal changes that make the skin’s tissue more susceptible to tears that lead to stretch marks.

When do stretch marks appear?

Stretch marks usually start popping up during the third trimester, which makes sense, since that’s when you, and your developing baby, gain the most weight. In a nutshell, your belly is growing so fast your skin doesn’t have time to catch up! It is common for stretch marks to become itchy. Scratching can irritate your tender skin even more, so keeping your skin moisturized and hydrated is the way to go. Adding a drop of calamine lotion will also help ease any irritation.

“I like to think of my stretch marks as proudly worn warrior scars. They’re a reflection of my strength and a reminder of the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Can I prevent stretch marks?

Stretch marks cannot be prevented entirely, but you can take steps to minimize them!

  • The day I found out I was pregnant was the day I started moisturizing my belly and body. It was a no-brainer for me to choose a clean formulation that was ultra-hydrating: Nemah’s Revitalizing Stretch Mark Cream was my jam. It was created specifically to fight stretch marks with Vanistryl® – a compound engineered to improve tone and soothe the skin – it also has antioxidants, hydrating shea butter, and nourishing macadamia oil, which helps to lock in moisture as your skin stretches and expands. It’s cruelty-free and gentle enough for sensitive skin.
  • Vitamins to the rescue! Vitamin C is an antioxidant proven to fight tissue damage. Other important ones to add are: B2, B3, D, and E. These combined powerhouse essential nutrients promote healthy skin and fill any gaps in your daily diet, a critical concern during pregnancy – especially if morning sickness has made anything but crackers and ginger ale palatable. Ask your OB-GYN for a prenatal supplement that supports nutrient deficiency during dietary setbacks.
  • Water. Hydration is everything! Not only for healthy skin, but it is essential for you and your growing bundle to stay hydrated and healthy.
  • Exercise. It increases circulation, which improves skin elasticity.

Will my pregnancy stretch marks go away?

They’ll naturally fade over time and likely become much less noticeable. If they’re really bothering you, there are steps you can take to lessen their appearance. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy are newly developed treatments that can help fade marks. Remember to look upon those mama badges with self-love and wear them with pride!

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