Understanding Stretch Mark Prevention During Pregnancy
Stretch marks are a common problem in pregnancy. The reason why it’s fairly common to get them at such a time can be thought of as a double pronged reason. For one, the physical presence of the baby in the abdomen causes distention which is relatively rapid and is in a sense, chronic.
Apart from that, the hormones of pregnancy also have the effect of increasing fat stores in the body tissues, making one’s size increase. The effect of these two concepts is then placing too much stress on the skin, which causes it to tear and form the visible scars known as stretch marks when repairing themselves.
The only way to prevent the stretch marks from appearing is to either remove the force stretching the skin or to make the skin more compliant. In the setting of the pregnancy, the former is not practical.
This means that the only alternative would be to find a way to make the skin more compliant, and therefore less prone to breaking when exposed to the forces involved. There are various creams and methods that have been developed to specifically help pregnant women not get stretch marks or lessen the amount of stretch marks after the pregnancy.
One of these is as simple as a massage. Research has shown that a massage can be beneficial in around 30% of cases to reduce the incidence of stretch marks among pregnant women. This is thought to be due to the effect of making the skin more compliant. In a sense, it can be thought of as exercising the skin so that it can be more tolerant to the stretching forces it is being exposed to.
A number of stretch mark creams have also been developed to help combat the appearance of stretch marks. These normally contain vitamins that enhance the turnover rate of the cells in the skin, making it more effective at repairing itself.
Apart from that, some of the creams normally contain chemicals such as elastin, hyaluronic acid and menthol. All of these act in concerto with each other to make the skin much softer and more elastic. For instance, hyaluronic acid is a connective tissue that is expansible, so adding it to skin makes it able to withstand more stress.
Though each of these regimens is very effective on their own for most people, combination of more than one product (each with a different mechanism of action) often has a synergistic effect at reducing the incidence of stretch marks.