Pregnancy, Baby Care and Birth Videos

Skin Problems After Childbirth: Stretch Marks and Skin Darkening

Create: 07/15/2017 - 11:41

A lot of my patients come in concerned about stretch marks, in particular skin changes that occur in pregnancy are very common. What I tell them is that stretch marks happen irregardless of how far you are in pregnancy and even post-delivery after pregnancy has been completed, and with breastfeeding. 
 
Some of stretch marks are genetic; if your mother, your grandmother ended up having stretch marks, you're more prone. And, also just the quality of what your skin is, if it's very thin to begin with, stretch marks are good are going to be prominent in those women. 
 
Skin creams are definitely possible to be used in women with stretch marks; coconut butter just helps allow for more flexibility of the skin, but won't reverse true damage. 
 
There are collagen builder creams; what the one cream that I recommend is StriVectin cream. And StriVectin cream overall is a brand of creams that often times will be used more effectively postpartum to help lighten the stretch marks. But again it's not full reversal; you'll get some improvement, but overall they'll still be present. 
 
A common question I have is, "Not only are my stretch marks going to go away, but what about the skin changes, the discoloration, the darkening that's occurring, will that get better?" 
 
Women see a very prominent line in the middle of their belly; it's called the linea nigra. They also see darkening around their belly button, underneath their armpits, sometimes around their neck. It's more prominent in women who have different ethnicities. 
 
African-american women particularly, Hispanic women, women with darker pigmentation to begin with; those women take weeks, sometimes months for the Linea nigra to disappear; that line in the middle of your belly, and underneath the armpits, and around the breasts; those markings disappear over time, but they will disappear. 
 
Caucasian women, they have actually a different type of darkening in their skin. Some of them have a redness tone to their stretch marks, to areas underneath the armpits. If they're very fair-skinned the stretch marks in the linea nigra lines tend to be more redder and not as brown, they take less time to fade. Still I would say weeks rather than months for some. And no creams will make that better; that's just a part of what your hormones are doing, and over time that will disappear. 
 
Best things to do is avoid the sun in the times that you're waiting for your markings to fade. So, being in a two-piece probably isn't a great idea 'cause those colorings, those markings stay around. 
 
Women also complain about freckling around their face; kind of the same concept, those dark pigmented lines will fade over time, but avoiding sun will benefit that. And you can use bleaching creams, but again, it's probably unnecessary.