Stretch marks are microscopic tears in the skin that occur when the skin is stretched as a result of weight gain or rapid weight loss. Often, women who are pregnant will develop stretch marks at some point in their pregnancy, typically during the third trimester. There are plenty of oils, creams, and lotions you can use during pregnancy that are safe and designed to minimize the appearance of stretch marks or prevent them altogether. Unfortunately, these treatments don’t work for everyone and you may still end up with noticeable stretch marks after pregnancy. Treating stretch marks after pregnancy can involve using all-natural ingredients, such as coconut oil, or undergoing simple cosmetic procedures, such as microdermabrasion. Typically, the treatment that will be the most effective will depend on the severity of the stretch marks and how long you’ve had them. Basically, it’s much easier to treat fresh stretch marks than it is to treat stretch marks that are several years old.
Read on to find out which treatments work to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and which specific treatment option will work the best for you.
The Strongest Over the Counter and Prescription Strength Cream
Not everyone can afford expensive cosmetic procedures to get rid of stretch marks. Fortunately, there are some powerful over the counter and prescription medications that can help to fade the stretch marks and leave your skin feeling softer and firmer.
Retinol is an active ingredient that’s found in most over the counter and prescription medications designed to treat stretch marks after pregnancy. Retinol will work by stimulating collagen production. It can take several weeks before you experience any results from this treatment. Retinol creams have a price that ranges from as little as ten dollars, up to one hundred dollars per tube for a one month supply. If you make an appointment with a dermatologist, they can prescribe a stronger retinol cream, which will be more effective than the over the counter brands and will also cost more.
Gentle Over the Counter Creams
There are a number of products on the market that claim they can remove stretch marks in a matter of weeks. Typically these creams and lotions will contain:
• Onion extract
• Vitamin C
• Centella asiatica
These products will be more effective if you apply them two to three times daily for a minimum of three months, immediately after giving birth.
Cosmetic procedures for stretch mark treatment may be expensive, but they’re also said to be the most effective treatment options available. Unfortunately, these procedures are not covered by insurance, which means you’ll have to pay for the total cost out of pocket. Another downside is the fact that one treatment may not be enough to completely get rid of the stretch marks, especially if you’ve had the marks for years.
If you’re considering a cosmetic procedure to treat your stretch marks, you’ll need to make an appointment with a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon in order to determine which type of treatment will be the most effective for you, based on your skin type and the age of the stretch marks.
Another option to treat stretch marks is laser therapy. Laser therapy will remove the top layers of skin, promoting new skin growth. This type of treatment should be reserved for when you’re done having children. There are different types of laser therapy treatments and the type your physician will choose is based on the type of stretch marks you have. These laser treatment sessions can cost two to eight-hundred per visit. Typically, dermatologists recommend six to eight sessions in order to experience the best results. This type of treatment is not usually covered by health insurance so the cost will need to come out of your pocket.
Microdermabrasion for New and Older Stretch Marks
Microdermabrasion is not only used to treat fine lines but it can also be used to treat significant scarring, such as stretch marks. People who undergo this type of treatment will experience skin that’s softer and smoother. Using this type of cosmetic procedure for the treatment of stretch marks is a relatively safe way to treat scarring, and it’s a method that doesn’t require a long recovery period. While this procedure will not remove stretch marks completely, it’s effective in smoothing out the skin, making the stretch marks less noticeable. The cost for this treatment ranges from two to four hundred dollars per session with a minimum of two sessions needed.
Natural Ways to Treat Stretch Marks
Many home remedies for stretch marks tend to respond well to fresh stretch marks. Treating older stretch marks with coconut oil may not provide the results you’re looking for. However, it can be a great treatment option if you’ve had the stretch marks for less than a year.
The Coconut Oil Miracle
One of the great benefits of coconut oil is that compared to some home remedies, coconut oil can be absorbed deeper into the skin. This means the chances of the oil having a positive effect on stretch marks is significantly higher. Coconut oil for stretch marks has been used for hundreds of years because it’s gentle enough to be used during pregnancy and after, even if you’re breastfeeding. Coconut oil can be used topically or it can be consumed orally. Topically, this type of oil is effective in keeping the skin moisturized which helps to provide the skin with more elasticity, thus preventing stretch marks. The anti-inflammatory properties in coconut oil will help to minimize the healing time for stretch marks after pregnancy, while also keeping the skin hydrated.
Other than treating stretch marks, coconut oil also works to:
• Moisturize the skin
• Heal other skin conditions
• Treat dandruff
• Acts as a barrier to protect the skin
• Soothes eczema flare-ups
Coconut oil is also a more affordable treatment option compared to most stretch mark creams on the market. This oil can be used for cooking and it can also be used as a substitute for other oils that are less healthy.
If you decide to use coconut oil for stretch marks apply it once daily. Doing so after a shower will increase the effectiveness of the treatment because the pores in the skin will be wide open immediately after a shower.
The Benefits of Coconut Oil After Pregnancy
While all-natural, coconut oil packs some serious power. Not only can it help to minimize the appearance of stretch marks and works to keep the skin moisturized it can also be used in a variety of other ways that can help you look and feel great.
• After pregnancy, if you’re breastfeeding you may suffer from sore or irritated nipples. Applying coconut oil can work to treat and prevent soreness and cracking.
• The fatty acids found in coconut oil have been proven to increase milk flow. The body needs a certain amount of fat in order to produce an adequate amount of breast milk to support the needs of your baby.
• The antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties found in coconut oil can continue to provide you with a number of benefits after your baby is born. The amount of lauric acid you consume will be passed on to your child through the breast milk.
• Coconut oil can also be used to massage your baby. An infant massage can help to relax and calm your baby and it’s been shown to promote healthy sleep patterns. Improved sleep for your little one also means more sleep for you.
During the first trimester of your pregnancy, speak with your doctor regarding stretch mark treatment. Early treatment will be essential in order to prevent severe scarring. Many treatment options cannot be used while pregnant because they can cause birth defects. During pregnancy, most physicians will recommend simply keeping the skin well moisturized in order to promote skin elasticity and prevent itching and tightness.