Over the next several months, I am going to write a series of articles on preserving and restoring the body before and after pregnancy. We will discuss everything from pregnancy skincare to abdominoplasty and breast lift.
First, I do not think it’s a stretch to say most women hate the red, spider-web shaped grooves that appear on the abdomen and occasionally the breasts after pregnancy. If you’re fancy, the medical term for stretch marks is striaedistensae, and whether it is from changes during puberty, weight gain, or pregnancy, they are caused by a stretching of the skin. People are genetically predisposed to stretch marks, but stretch marks can be prevented.
Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and it rings as true today as it ever has — especially with stretch marks. During pregnancy, do your best not to gain more weight than your doctor recommends is safe. The less the skin has to expand, the less likely it is to be pushed beyond its elastic limits and become unable to retract to its prepregnancy position. Next, hydration is always important for skin health in general. Finally, topical creams have been used since ancient times, and some may actually work… although probably not the ones your mother recommended! Topical cocoa butter when compared to placebo showed no benefit in preventing stretch marks during pregnancy, and neither did topical olive oil. However, Trofolastin and Alphastria when compared to placebo in double-blinded studies showed significantly fewer stretch marks in the treated group compared to the placebo group. Unfortunately, these are not FDA approved in the United States and you won’t be able to get them unless you have access to Amazon.com and a credit card, but then they are pretty easily obtainable.
Finally, if you are past pregnancy and are tired of seeing the marks on your skin, they can be made better. Any med spa or provider who claims to have the ability to completely erase stretch marks is not being truthful, and you should walk – no, run – away from their clinic. Each person and even stretch marks is different, but at Live Young Wellness Spa, we use a combination of broadband light, erbium laser fractional treatments, and microneedling to lighten the redness, soften the grooves, and improve the overall appearance. The image below shows just one example of a client we have recently treated. We offer affordable options to allow for the multiple treatments required.