7 things you need to know about stretch marks
Beauty

The truth about stretch marks

7 things you need to know about stretch marks by Kellie Kearney.

Stretch mark are caused when the fibres of elastin beneath the skin break due to rapid expansion of the skin over a short period time. During pregnancy, our skin expands and stretches to its limit, sometimes causing these tiny tears in the supporting layers of skin.

Unfortunately there is no real cure or scientifically proven prevention but it’s always recommended to eat well, keep active and hydrated during pregnancy.

7 things you need to know about stretch

1. Anybody can develop stretch marks. Although pregnant women, teens, body builders and anyone rapidly gaining or losing weight are most vulnerable in developing stretch marks.

2. Stretch marks can appear anywhere on the body, most often they tend to occur near the armpits, on the thighs, abdomen, chest, and groin area.

3. If your mother had stretch mark your most likely to develop them too. Genetics play a huge role and some of us may be prone to them.

4. There are two types of stretch-marks. When they first appear they can be red, pink or purplish and sometimes inflamed, these are rubra stretch marks. Then over time they will turn into a silvery white colour known as alba.

5. Stretch marks are like scars and do fade over time depending on the severity and the type of skin.

6. There are surgical procedures available in removing stretch marks including microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and even laser surgery but none of them have been 100% effective. Also health insurance isn’t likely to cover stretch mark treatment because it is considered a cosmetic problem even if they are very visible.

7. There is no miracle cream to banish stretch marks completely but it’s recommended to massage and keep the target area moisturized to help minimise their appearance. Regular exfoliation can also help, after all it removes old skin cells replacing them with new tissues. And if your really concious about them, self tanners are widely known to work wonders in camouflaging stretch-marks.

More you might like:

Pre and post pregnancy beauty
How to get a skin you always dreamed of while you sleep
Skin problems during pregnancy

Ask Tracey

Midwife Tracey Donegan answers your questions about pregnancy and birth

Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

A
Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.

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ASK JESSICA

Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.