Pregnancy can leave many women with the lasting effects of unsightly stretch marks. Some women get them; some don’t. Stretch marks may be present after the first pregnancy while other women can give birth more than once without the presence of stretch marks appearing on their skin. Why is that, what causes stretch marks during pregnancy, and what can be done to eliminate them?

Stretch marks result from tears in the dermis. The skin is composed of three layers. The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin, then the dermis, with the subcutaneous layer being the innermost layer. During pregnancy the skin stretches. It loses its elasticity as the elastic fibers break. The result is the unsightly reddish scars we know as stretch marks.

What can be done about stretch marks during pregnancy? Well, first of all, they are very difficult to get rid of. In some cases, stretch marks never completely disappear although they may fade considerably. There are many commercial products such as creams and lotions on the market that help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Cocoa butter has long been considered beneficial in treating stretch marks. Women have used it down throughout the years with varying results. Another treatment that many have sworn by is the use of Vitamin E oil. It has been used to treat a variety of skin problems including scars such as stretch marks.

Aloe Vera gel, which is well known for its healing and therapeutic properties, may prove valuable to lessen the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy. Even the use of olive oil may produce positive results. It remains uncertain as to whether it is actually the use of these creams, oils and lotions that bring about beneficial results or rather the action of massage while using these products that stimulate blood flow which aids in the healing process. More than likely, it may be a combination of both. One thing is certain and that is that prevention is best.

Although there is no absolute sure route to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy from occurring, there are steps you can take to help lessen the effects of damage from stretch marks. A body that is well toned and in good physical condition may stand a better chance in the fight against stretch marks. Also, massaging the skin with cocoa butter or another emollient such as Vitamin E oil should be done throughout the pregnancy rather than waiting until afterward when the damage has already been done. Be certain to consult your physician before using any products, even ones such as external creams. Also, use caution if you have sensitive skin or are prone to skin allergies of any sort.

Remaining moderately active throughout your pregnancy can help skin to retain suppleness, tone and elasticity. Remember to take it easy though and don’t overdo it. And remember to treat your skin with tender loving care both before and after your pregnancy.