Stretch Marks during pregnancy
What are the Stretch Marks?

Pregnancy is one of the most wonderful times of a woman’s life. But with the joy of having a new addition to your family, come the added problems of pregnancy. Everything from the baby’s health to your ever expanding waist line tends to be a cause for worry. And one of the biggest cosmetic concerns of a mother-to-be is stretch marks.

Stretch marks are small, depressed streaks in the skin that appear most often on the abdomen in the later stages of pregnancy when the belly is rapidly expanding to accommodate a growing baby. Some women also get them on their buttocks, thighs, hips, and breasts. Stretch marks are caused by changes in the elastic supportive tissue that lies just beneath the skin. They start out pink, reddish brown, purple, or dark brown, depending on your skin color. They later fade, although they never totally disappear.

stretch mark
As per Allopathic science, the evolution of a stretch mark includes:
  • The skin is stretched beyond its capacity.
  • The underlying tissue tears.
  • The body responds by forming scar tissue.
  • The fresh stretch mark looks pink, red, brown or purple.
  • Over time, the color fades.
  • The stretch mark becomes a shimmering, silvery line.
  • The silvery line may look slightly indented.
  • The scar is permanent.
Ayurvedic View

In Ayurveda it is called Kikkisa. Kikkisa is such type of skin disease that occurs during pregnancy and mentioned in the disorders of pregnancy by the various Acharyas. Kikkisa is mentioned by the Sushruta Acharya in the different types of Krimis. According to Acharya Atreya the growing foetus displaces the dosas upwards, thus these vata, pitta and kapha reaching uras (breasts-Charaka) or Hridya(heart-Vagbhata) produce burning sensation, which causes itching. The disease Kikkisa is the result of this itching.

  • Garbhotpeedana
  • Kandu (Itching)
  • Vidaha (Burningsensation)
  • Burning sensation in the hands and feet (A.H.Sa.1/58 Aruna commentary).
  • Kikkisa (charka)
  • Charamvidarama (Cracking ofthe skin in between breasts and abdomen, in the abdominal region and in the thigh region.
  • RekhaswaroopTvakSankocha (Linear line marking and contractions of the skin in the abdomen).
  • Valivishesharekhakara (Round,oval specially and linear marking in Uru, Stana and Udara.
  • ShukakritiPurnta (Paddy seeds like structure)
  • TvakBheda (Differentiation of the skin)
  • Vairupya (Discouloration of the skin)
What can I do to prevent stretch marks?
  • Dinacharya and Ritucharyas:- When these regimens followed constantly for a longer time bring up the healthy status of skin, body and even mind. They do act internally, externally and even both. They maintain the Dosa-Dusya balance perfectly. Season wise food products, clothing, water and shelter protect the skin from external mutations; getting either dried or cracked or shrinked.
  • Food Nutrition:- Ruksha, ksaya, Khara, Lavna, Vidahi, Dhuma, Upavasa, when consumed in Hina- Mithya- Atiyoga certainly worsen the skin conditions. Snigdha,Laghu,Slakshna and DruvaGunas dominant food products are helpful in maintaining the healthy skin.Green leafy vegetables, fruits are having natural resources which are very much needed in procuring healthy skin. They are rich in vitamins, minerals.
  • Water (Jala):- Cold water has said to be as Rasayana. It acts well on the skin texture and protects skin getting wrinkles. Water either cold or hot has got very essential role in cleaning the skin from sweat and other waste products. Hot water when consumed orally will act upon Bhrajakagni and procure the health of the skin.
  • Milk and Milk Products:- Milk is Rasayana and ‘Ojaskara’, it act upon the skin and Rasagni to maintain the health of the skin. Milk enhances the luster, texture and functions of the skin. (A. H.Su.5/20). Milk and milk products are Jivniya when used properly. They are helpful in maintaining the healthy skin.
  • Ghee ( cow) :- It is very well quoted cow GHEE is Kantivardhaka, Saukumaryajanaka, and helpful for skin health. It cures the injuries and damages of skin. (A.H.Su.5/37). Ghee when consumed constantly in a proper way produces good body health and skin conditions.
  • Madhu (Honey):- Honey is Kushthahara, Vranashodhaka, Ropana, Sandhanakara as mentioned in the texts. (A.H.Su.5/22).
  • SarsapaTaila:- It is Kusthaghana, it acts on skin disease manifestation and brings back the normal color of the skin. (A. H. Su 5/59).
  • Snehan:- It is said to be Kantivardhaka.
  • Swedana:- It brings about Malanirharana, Kantivardhana. (A. Sam.Su.17/19).

Stretch Mark prevention research can be quite confusing some medical Professionals uphold nothing can be done to stop them from forming, whereas some clinical trials have shown certain creams and treatments can prevent Stretch mark from developing.

  • Avoid Excessive Weight Gain Excessive weight gain is one of the main reasons of Stretch Mark develop. When the skin is stretched excessively over a short space of time dermal tearing occurs which creates scars in the dermis (middle layer of the skin) which we refer to as Stretch Mark. The epidermis (outer layer of skin) is also affected; cells become thin and flattened which makes the defect in the dermis more visible.
  • Diet Eating a healthy diet rich in Proteins, vitamins and minerals that maintain healthy skin is thought to prevent Stretch Mark. These vitamins and minerals include: Vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and silica. Drinking plenty of water and regular exercise can also help to keep the circulation working properly.
  • Massage and Moisturize Massaging oil, moisturizers or creams into your Stretch Mark on a daily basis can help to keep the circulation working properly in the affected tissue and help to promote new cell growth. The moisturizer, oil or cream will also keep your skin soft and supple. Vitamin E oil/cream or Cocoa Butter is two of the most popular choices for preventing Stretch Mark. There is no scientific evidence to prove that they work, but many women swear by them for preventing stretch and treating.
  • Avoid Hormone Based Medicines You don’t have to be obese or have gained a lot of weight in a short time span to develop Stretch Mark. Those who are slim can also develop Stretch Mark and it is thought that hormones have a part to play in this. It has been suggested that certain hormone-based medications such as steroids can cause Stretch Mark.
  • Wear a Supportive Maternity Bra It is quite common for women to develop Stretch Mark on their breasts during pregnancy and breast-feeding. A good quality maternity bra can help to give extra support.
Exercise For Prevention

Gentle exercises for the abdominal muscles can be started as soon as pregnancy has been confirmed or even as pregnancy is being planned.

  • Exercise 1: Standing erect, raise both arms above the head. Bend forward slowly to touch your toes. Hold the position for a count of 100. Then slowly straighten up. Do this exercise at least once daily.
  • Exercise 2: Standing erect, raise both arms above the head and clasp your hands. Now bend slowly to your left as far down as you feel comfortable. Hold for a count of 10. Straighten up slowly and then bend to your right. Hold to a count of 10. Straighten up. Exhale as you are bending and inhale while straightening up.This makes one set. Do at least 3 sets once daily.
  • Exercise 3: Stand straight with feet about 12 inches apart. Place hands on your back at the waist. Slowly bend back, as far back as you feel comfortable. Hold to a count of 10. Straighten up. Now bend forward slowly, hold the position to a count of 10. Then straighten up. Exhale as you are bending and inhale while straightening up. This makes one set. Do at least 3 sets once daily.
Home Remedies

There is a plethora of expensive stretch mark creams and treatments on the market, but there has been very little research done to prove if any of them actually work. This is why many women choose to use a home remedy for removing Stretch Mark, which can be a more economical option.

There has also been very little scientific research conducted on the Effectiveness of the following home remedies, but many women believe they have had significant success in either preventing or helping to treat Stretch Mark. It may seem like stating the obvious but a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, especially those that help maintain healthy skin (Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc and silica), can be very beneficial at keeping stretch mark at bay. If you’re not getting enough of these important vitamins and minerals in your diet you might want to consult your health practitioner about a suitable supplement. Regular exercise helps to tone your muscles and keep your skin firm. Avoiding excessive weight gain in a short space of time can also reduce your chances of getting stretch mark.

Many women swear by daily massage as an excellent home remedy for either preventing or treating stretch mark. Make massage a part of your daily routine after you get out of the shower or before you go to bed. You could try using any of the following oils:
Olive oil, flaxseed oil, cod-liver oil or vitamin E oil.

Natural Ayurvedic Remedies For Stretch Mark
  • 1 Butter treated with the drugs of Madhura dravyas should be given to pregnant women frequently in the dose of Panitalamatra(about 20 gms), (Cha. Sa.8/32, A. Sam.Sa.3/10) or else the butter medicated with decoction of stem bark of badari (jujube) and drugs of madhura group should be given. (A.H.Sa.1/59).
  • 2 Rub over the abdomen and breasts from any one of the following:
  • The paste of the chandna and Mrinala (Cha.Sam.Sa.8/32, A. Sam.Sa.3/10) or chandna and usira. (A.H.Sa.1/60).
  • Powder of sirisa stem bark, flowers of Dhataki, sarsapa and madhuyasti. (Cha. Sam.Sa 8/32, A. Sam. Sa.3/10).
  • Pesteled bark of Kutaja, seeds of arjaka (Tulsi), musta and hridra. (Cha. Sam.Sa 8/32, A.Sam.Sa.3/10).
  • Pestled leaves of nimba, badari, and surasa with manjhista.
  • Water medicated with punarnava, flowers of malati and madhukaand mixed with blood of deer and rabbit. (A. Sam.Sa. 3/10).
  • Oil prepared with pestled leaves of karvira (Cha. Sam.Sa.8/32, A.H.Sa.1/59) alone or with karanja (A.Sam.Sa.3/10).
  • Irrigation of abdomen and breasts should be done with decoction of patola, nimba, manjistha and surasa (A.H.Sa.1/61) or leaves and flowers of malati and madhuka (Cha. Sam.Sa.8/32, A. Sam.Sa. 3/10,) or else repeated cleansing with decoction with decoction of daruhridra and madhuka should be done (A.H.Sa.1/59).
  • One should not scratch (in spite of urge for itching) to avoid disfigurement or skin stretching (Cha. Sam.Sa.8/32, A. Sam.Sa. 3/10).
  • If the itching becomes irresistible then above mentioned powders should be rubbed or anointment (Cha. Sam.Sa.8/32) or bath should be taken with chandna which will suppress itching sensation due to its coolness. (A. Sam.Sa. 3/10,).
  • One should not scratch (inspite of urge for itching)to avoid Tvakbheda (differentiation or disfigurement) andVairupya(discolouration or stretching). (Cha.Sam.Sa.8/32, A. Sam.3/10).
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