12 Tips For Healing Your Pregnancy Stretch Marks

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Medically reviewed by Gopal Ramakrishnan Asst. Prof.

Pregnancy Stretch Marks

Stretch marks, many moms get them after pregnancy. They tell the tale of the stress your skin endured as it stretched out to accommodate your growing infant. 

However, now that your baby is here and you are trying to get your body back after pregnancy, fading your stretch marks is probably at the top of your list. 

12 Tips For Healing Your Pregnancy Stretch Marks

As you work towards your postpartum body, here are 12 tips to try for healing your stretch marks. 

  1. Sugar scrub
  2. Aloe vera 
  3. Coconut oil 
  4. Hyaluronic acid 
  5. Chemical peels 
  6. Laser therapy 
  7. Microdermabrasion 
  8. Microneedling 
  9. Radio-frequency waves 
  10. Tretinoin 
  11. Vitamin E
  12. Platelet-rich plasma with ultrasound

Stretch marks usually occur on your skin due to dramatic changes in your weight. Therefore sudden weight gain and weight loss might cause you to get stretch marks. You could have pink or purple stretch marks or they could also match your skin tone. As they mature, they might become white stretch marks.

These tips including home remedies and medical treatments[1] might help you fade your stretch mark but they might not disappear completely. 

12 Tips Remove Stretch Marks After Pregnancy

Sugar Scrub 

Sugar scrubs typically contain sugar as the main ingredient. They remove the top layer of dead skin cells to reveal your softer smooth skin beneath. 

Removing the top layer of skin could help your skin heal its stretch marks. The best part of using sugar scrub to fade your stretch marks is that you can make your own using ingredients in your pantry.  

Here is how to make your sugar scrub:

  • Mix one cup of sugar with a quarter cup of olive or coconut oil. 
  • Squeeze in a few drops of fresh lemon juice 
  • Use the mixture to scrub your stretch marks for 8 – 10 minutes 
  • Wash it off and bathe as usual 
  • Repeat this procedure a few times a week and you should see a difference in your skin soon enough 

You could also try a honey scrub.

Aloe Vera 

For centuries, aloe vera gel has been a significant part of hair and skin care. It has natural healing properties and helps soften the skin. 

Many users find that it promotes stretch mark healing. You could add it to your skincare routine to help improve the appearance of your pregnancy stretch marks. 

Wash the affected area and apply the fresh gel directly from the aloe vera plant, massaging it into your skin. You could use it in combination with other stretch mark healing tips for better results. 

Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil is an excellent oil for supple skin and it is not unusual to find it listed as an ingredient of many skincare products. 

Gently massage it daily to your stretch marks and surrounding skin after taking your bath. If for nothing at all, to keep your skin hydrated and soft. Coconut oil’s effectiveness for stretch mark removal has not been proven but It could be worth the shot.

You could also try other oils like olive oil, castor oil, and almond oil. Shea butter and cocoa butter could also be helpful. 

While science does not prove their effectiveness as stretch mark treatment, your skin might respond well to being moisturized.  

Hyaluronic Acid 

Collagen is the protein that gives your skin its elasticity. It is also found in other connective tissues in your body such as ligaments and bone. As we grow older the collagen content of our skin decreases. Applying hyaluronic acid to your skin can help correct that. 

It promotes collagen synthesis[2]. Therefore restoring some of the bounce your skin might have lost with age. Hyaluronic acid can rejuvenate skin and might prove helpful for reducing the appearance of your pregnancy stretch marks. 

Chemical Peel 

Chemical peels exfoliate your skin to reveal younger softer skin. Your plastic surgeon performs this procedure for you by applying the chemical exfoliating agent to the affected area. Glycolic acid chemical peels might be effective at treating stretch marks because it boosts collagen production. 

It is worth the try if you want to remove pregnancy stretch marks because researchers have found glycolic acid to be effective at fading scars[3].  

Laser Therapy 

During your session, your plastic surgeon will direct light of various wavelengths to your skin. 

Laser treatment can help reduce pain, scars, and swelling. It could stimulate collagen production which might help restore your skin elasticity. 

You might need multiple sessions before the results are visible.  The procedure can be quite pricey too, so that is something to consider. 

Microdermabrasion 

Another minimally invasive procedure that your plastic surgeon can perform to treat stretch marks is microdermabrasion. Like with some of the procedures outlined, microdermabrasion works to remove the top layer of dead skin cells.

Cosmetic surgeons perform microdermabrasion to reduce the visibility of skin conditions such as acne scars, wrinkles, age spots, sun damage and it could help minimize stretch marks. 

Studies have shown that microdermabrasion improves the appearance of stretch marks and it is worth the shot. 

Microneedling 

Microneedling has been shown to improve the appearance of stretch marks and it is worth considering.

During this procedure, your cosmetic surgeon will create tiny injuries on your skin by puncturing it with needles. In your case, the needles will target your stretch mark covered areas.  

As your body begins to heal from the damage from the needles, it also attempts to remove stretch marks. You might need up to six sessions before you observe a noticeable change in the appearance of stretch marks.

You might notice some redness after your procedure but the healing process is pretty quick and you can return to your normal routine within 24 hours[4].

Radiofrequency Therapy 

If you are looking for a non-invasive cosmetic procedure to get rid of stretch marks after pregnancy, you could consider radio-frequency therapy. 

Radio-frequency waves that your plastic surgeon directs at your skin could stimulate wound healing and increase collagen production to boost elasticity of your skin. These effects help tighten your skin. 

Tretinoin

Your dermatologist can prescribe creams containing the retinoid, tretinoin. If you use your tretinoin cream regularly with your dermatologist’s guidance, you might begin to see your stretch marks fade away. 

However, if you are pregnant, you should stay away from retinoids as they can cause birth defects[5] in your baby. 

Breastfeeding moms should not use retinoids too because they can seep into your breast milk.

Vitamin E

Your skin needs vitamin E to remain supple. Its effectiveness against stretchmarks has not been shown by researchers but it could help your skin heal faster. 

Many skincare products contain vitamin E so enjoying its benefits should not be too difficult.  Look out for lotions and creams containing vitamin E and apply them.  

Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)  

You might have heard of the Vampire facial but did you know it can do much more than reduce fine lines on your face?

The PRP your dermatologist will use for your stretch marks treatment is obtained by centrifuging your blood.  Fair warning if you are scared of blood or needles. Growth factors in the PRP promote skin healing by stimulating collagen production and encouraging tissue repair.  

Studies show that multiple PRP treatments could fade your stretch marks. Combining PRP with ultrasound[6] could provide better results for your treatment.

Preventing Stretch Marks During Pregnancy 

You cannot fully prevent stretch marks[7] from developing during pregnancy. Genetic factors could make you more likely to develop pregnancy stretch marks. 

Gaining and losing weight rapidly could increase your likelihood of getting stretch marks. Periods of rapid growth like puberty and pregnancy might also bring you stretch marks. 

However, moms to be could follow these tips to improve skin elasticity and make it less likely that you will develop future stretch marks. 

  • Maintain a healthy weight. You could try to minimize weight gain if you want to reduce your chances of developing stretch marks. 
  • Eat a healthy diet. Your fetus needs a healthy diet to develop properly.  Your skin will also benefit from foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin A, C, D.  Eating such vitamin-rich foods is one of the important tips for firming loose skin.
  • Avoid steroid creams. Steroid creams could affect your skin laxity thus making you more prone to getting stretch marks. 
  • Moisturize your skin. Keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized will keep your skin supple and might reduce the discomfort that you might feel when developing stretch marks. 

Conclusion

You can develop stretch marks as your skin stretches out for your growing baby. Rapid weight gain and loss could also cause stretch marks. 

You could try simple home remedies for your stretch mark treatment or you could reach out to your plastic surgeon for cosmetic procedures to fade stretch marks. 

It is best to start treatment early. You are likely to get better results from treating new stretch marks than mature stretch marks. However, these steps are worth a try for your postpartum stretch marks:

  1. Sugar scrub
  2. Aloe vera 
  3. Coconut oil 
  4. Hyaluronic acid 
  5. Chemical peels 
  6. Laser therapy 
  7. Microdermabrasion 
  8. Microneedling 
  9. Radio-frequency waves 
  10. Tretinoin 
  11. Vitamin E
  12. Platelet-rich plasma with ultrasound

+ 7 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Aad.org. (2017). Stretch marks: Why they appear and how to get rid of them. [online] Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/cosmetic/scars-stretch-marks/stretch-marks-why-appear [Accessed 18 Jun. 2021].
  2. ‌Wang, F., Garza, L.A., Kang, S., Varani, J., Orringer, J.S., Fisher, G.J. and Voorhees, J.J. (2007). In Vivo Stimulation of De Novo Collagen Production Caused by Cross-linked Hyaluronic Acid Dermal Filler Injections in Photodamaged Human Skin. Archives of Dermatology, [online] 143(2). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17309996/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2021].
  3. ‌Sharad, J. (2013). Glycolic acid peel therapy – a current review. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, [online] p.281. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3875240/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2021].
  4. ‌SKC Dermatology. (2020). SKC Dermatology. [online] Available at: https://skcdermatology.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-heal-from-microneedling/#:~:text=Healing%20from%20microneedling%20usually%20takes,24%20hours%20after%20your%20treatment. [Accessed 18 Jun. 2021].
  5. ‌NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders). (2019). Fetal Retinoid Syndrome – NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders). [online] Available at: https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/fetal-retinoid-syndrome/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2021].
  6. ‌Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy. (2012). Treatment of striae distensae combined enhanced penetration platelet-rich plasma and ultrasound after plasma fractional radiofrequency. [online] Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/14764172.2012.738916 [Accessed 18 Jun. 2021].
  7. Berry, J. (2018). Ten tips to prevent stretch marks. [online] Medicalnewstoday.com. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322776#risk-factors [Accessed 18 Jun. 2021].

Medically reviewed by:

Jennifer Anyabuine holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from the University of Nigeria Nsukka and currently a medical student. She is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. When she's not writing or studying, you can find her with her dogs, Chelsea and Ginger.

Medically reviewed by:

PubMed Central

Database From National Institute Of Health

U.S National Library of Medicine
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