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Stretch mark removal after pregnancy

Updated January 7, 2021

Woman holding her pregnant stomach

Do stretch marks go away after pregnancy?

Yes and no. Many women find that they get pregnancy stretch marks not just on their stomachs, but on their breasts, hips, thighs, and arms. Because nine out of ten women will develop stretch marks during their pregnancy, many of them wonder: will they go away after pregnancy is over?

Even if the marks don’t disappear on their own after pregnancy, there are solutions to help them fade over time. Stretch mark creams have been proven effective at reducing the appearance of stretch marks. By plumping the upper layers of skin, these creams help to smooth the skin while also improving discoloration. Laser treatments, although more expensive, can also be effective at lessening the appearance of stretch marks. A laser is used to target the damaged skin layers and promote skin cell turnover, replacing the scarred layers with new, healthy skin.

How are they caused?

Stretch marks are caused mainly by the rapid growth of the body that places excess strain on the skin. This pulling causes tears in the middle layers of skin, which appear as stretch marks on the skin. However, stretching is not the only cause of pregnancy stretch marks. Pregnancy causes a dramatic change in hormones in the body. This shift can affect the elasticity and resiliency of your skin, leaving it more susceptible to stretch marks.

In an ideal world, once hormones were regulated and the body returned to its normal size, stretch marks would fade. Yet, this is not always the case. Stretch mark retention is determined by many factors including genetics and skin moisture. The longer the stretch marks exist on the body, the more likely they are to scar. Scarred marks will be silver or white and are more resistant to treatment than recent, purple stripes.

Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. Your body is adapting and changing in order to grow a human life. However, this process can come with some undesirable side effects including stretch marks. Pregnancy causes your body to rapidly grow and change shape, putting excess strain on your skin. This can lead to stretch marks on the belly, breasts, arms, thighs — practically anywhere.

Can stretch marks from pregnancy be removed?

Whether you’re a brand new mom or you’re a parenting expert, you know that with pregnancy comes stretch marks. Those red or purple stripes that extend across your belly, legs, or other areas can be a nuisance, but they are no cause for alarm. The first step to removing pregnancy stretch marks is understanding what they are and what causes them.

Stretch marks are caused by excess strain being placed on the skin. During pregnancy when your body is changing, the skin is stretched beyond its usual elasticity, resulting in tiny tears in the middle layers of skin. These tears appear as red or purple stretch marks on the affected areas. If left untreated, these marks will fade to silver or white as those tears begin to scar. Nine out of ten women will experience stretch marks during their pregnancy, which leaves many women hoping to remove their post-pregnancy stretch marks and gain back their confidence.

The good news is: you have options. Stretch mark removal can be tricky, but the earlier you start treatment, the better the chances of fading are. Recent stretch marks that are still red or purple in appearance have not scarred and are more receptive to treatment. Older, silver stretch marks are tougher to fade but are still treatable. Regardless of the age of your stretch marks, you have several options of how to treat them.

All stretch mark treatments – from lasers to surgery, to creams – require time and commitment to reducing the appearance of those stripes. The quickest treatment option is also the most expensive. Stretch mark removal surgery, most likely a tummy tuck removes stretch marks by physically removing the section of skin that contains them.

Laser treatments are another treatment option, using high powered lasers to disintegrate damaged layers of skin. To see desirable results, it may take up to 10 sessions. Stretch mark removal creams can be a cheaper alternative for fading stretch marks. While there are many gimmicky stretch mark removal creams available, the best and effective ones work by plumping up layers of the skin, leading to a reduced appearance of those scars. No matter the treatment option you choose, there is hope in fading those post-pregnancy stretch marks.