What is a stretch mark and why do we get them?

 

A stretch mark is a type of scar the develops as our skin stretches or shrinks rapidly over a short period of time. They present as narrow, streak-like lines on the skins surface and around 90% of pregnant women will experience them in some capacity.

There are many factors that contribute to whether or not you will experience stretch marks, many believe it to be completely genetic, this however, is not the case. Yes, genetics can play a part here but ultimately it falls down to how your skin performs under pressure.

Everyone’s skin has a natural elasticity tolerance – once this is exceeded your skin will begin to develop small stretch marks that start out as depressions in the skin and can be characterised by linear bands of red, sometimes purple and will fade overtime to become silver lines that can vary in width and depth.

They occur when the middle layer of the skin (dermis) is stretched past it’s limit and broken in places. When this process occurs the skins normal production of collagen can be disrupted.

When do they occur and how can they be treated?

 
Stretch marks usually form in the third trimester, however they can begin to form as early as the second trimester at around the 24-week mark.

They can form on the abdomen, breasts, buttocks, hips and thighs. In the third trimester you may experience itching as the skin stretches further too, this is all very normal.

Maintaining a healthy balanced diet and remaining hydrated throughout your pregnancy will help to ensure the skin is better aided to cope with stretching. Consuming foods rich in vitamin C, E, zinc and silica can help aid the body in producing collagen and elastin fibres to keep skin supple throughout.

In addition to a healthy diet, applying a nutrient rich natural oil after dry brushing will not only stimulate collagen production and increase blood flow to the area whilst helping increase blood flow to encourage cell renewal.

It will also ensure your skin remains hydrated and be better equipped to stretch without your dermis becoming over stretched and therefore help to reduce the chances of stretch marks developing.