Finding stretch marks on your body is not something we get all that happy about, but a cute dress covers them right up so we can forget it and go on about the day. But when stretch marks are itchy, it’s not, “out of sight, out of mind.”
If you’re like many moms out there, you ended up with stretch marks because of dramatic skin changes both during and after pregnancy. When nursing or holding an infant, itchy skin can be a real nuisance – how can you scratch it without letting go?
But pregnancy isn’t the only way we end up with itchy stretch marks. For example, rapid weight changes may also lead to stretch mark irritation. So what do we do to make stretch marks seen but not felt? We’ll share some ideas on how to treat and calm itchy stretch marks.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are variegated indentations that vary in size and coloration on the skin. These lines are the remnants of significant body changes that made the skin stretch rapidly.
Situations that cause rapid growth and stretching of skin are pregnancy, breast augmentation surgery, weight changes, and puberty. Genetics and autoimmune diseases may also make people more prone to stretch marks.
These lines come in various shapes and forms.
- Striae atrophica: These marks, ridges, or grooves can be brightly-colored and high in number. This formation occurs during the last stage of pregnancy.
- Striae distensa: These marks are also stripe-like. They tend to form horizontally. These appear with puberty or weight gain.
- Striae gravidarum: These vertically-oriented and stripe-like marks are exclusive to pregnancy. Maternity stretch marks will form on the belly, breasts, or thighs.
- Vergetures: “Vergetures” is a French term for “stretch marks,” specifically referring to long stretch marks that make the skin look like it was lashed with a whip.
Which formation do you notice on your skin?
Why Do Stretch Marks Itch?
It makes sense that skin would itch from environmental irritants like poison ivy or an insect bite, but why do stretch marks itch? With stretch marks, the itching happens either because of either dermal tearing, dry skin, or both.
- Dry skin: When the hydrolipidic barrier (that holds water, oil, or fat molecules) on the skin breaks down, it creates tiny holes that prevent the skin from holding moisture. When the skin lacks the necessary moisture, it causes that itchy discomfort.
- Healing skin: When dermal tearing happens as a result of stretched skin, the nerves transmit an itching sensation as part of the healing process.
Pregnant or postpartum women are susceptible to dry skin due to hormonal shifts and changes in the body. This factor also contributes to itchy skin.
Itchy Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
An expanding belly, weight gain, and enlarged breasts are all factors that contribute to stretch marks during pregnancy. As mentioned above, hormonal changes during pregnancy cause the hydrolipidic barrier to break down and this causes itchiness.
Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy is one irritating skin condition women may experience while pregnant. Women who are experiencing their first pregnancy or have a larger belly expansion (carrying more than one baby) are more likely to develop this condition.
With PUPPP, red-colored bumps form on the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. This rash can develop on the same site as stretch marks. Because these bumps are very itchy, they will irritate stretch-marked skin.
PUPPP can be confused with other concerning pregnancy issues, so it’s important to bring this up this skin problem with your doctor during an obstetrician check up. This rash typically clears up within a week after giving birth, but anti-itch lotions, antihistamines, or even topical steroids can alleviate symptoms in the meantime
Itchy Stretch Marks – Not Pregnant
Pregnant women aren’t the only ones who encounter irritated stretch marks. Anyone can end up with stretch marks, but some factors make this development more likely.
Common characteristics of those who have stretch marks:
- Family history (genetic predisposition)
- Received breast augmentation surgery
- Rapid weight changes
- Going through puberty
- Ongoing hormonal fluctuations
- Users of topical hydrocortisone (that makes the skin thinner).
The above indicates how stretch mark formation is beyond our control. Other diseases such as autoimmune disorders increase the chances of stretch mark development.
These medical conditions are:
- Cushing syndrome
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Marfan’s syndrome
Stretch mark prevention isn’t always possible or practical, but you can find out how to treat and calm itchy stretch marks.
Itchy Stretch Mark Treatments
Scratching gets old after a while, and it only makes it feel better for a short time. Here are some solutions for how to treat and calm itchy stretch marks.
If skin is itchy because of a loss of the hydrolipidic barrier, simply applying a moisturizer or lotion may be enough for relief as it replenishes dry skin.
2. Topical Corticosteroids
For extreme irritation on stretch marks from conditions like PUPPP, topical corticosteroids provide relief.
3. Coconut Oil or Vitamin E
Oils nourish and soothe the skin. Plant-based oils such as olive, almond, or coconut oil work wonders on irritated skin. Vitamin E oil is another product that is beneficial to the skin and can be found at many retailers.
For those who avoid these because of oily skin, jojoba oil is a possible alternative.
5. Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is one of the most popular skincare products on the market. It’s moisturizing benefits alleviate itching. At the same time, it may reduce the appearance of stretch marks (Doctor Butler’s stretch mark cream does too!)
But why pick just one remedy when you can have them all in one product? Doctor Butler’s Stretch Mark Cream eliminates the guesswork with our unique formula packed full of moisturizing ingredients.
We deliver these benefits with a blend of shea butter, amino acids, soothing colloidal oatmeal, 17 natural oils, and many more nourishing ingredients. These all work together for superior skin rejuvenation and soothing comfort.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks
Another way to avoid itchy stretch marks is to stop them from happening in the first place (or at least make it minimal). Here are some tips for stretch mark prevention.
- Take care of your skin: Give your skin some TLC by eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, or taking supplements. This helps the skin lock in moisture and nutrients.
- Weight moderation: If you can maintain a steady weight, you can avoid the rapid body changes that lead to stretch marks. Extreme weight loss programs promise favorable results faster but increase your chances of getting stretch marks.
- Use stretch mark cream with high-risk situations: Stretch mark cream is very helpful in getting ahead of a stretch mark problem as it promotes elasticity and resilience. This is particularly beneficial for those who are naturally prone to stretch marks. Pregnant women should apply stretch mark cream to rapid growth areas such as the belly, breasts, and thighs.
A high-quality stretch mark cream (like Doctor Butler’s) is specially formulated to nourish the skin as it recovers from stretch marks caused by rapid body change.
Itch Relief is Within Reach
Doctor Butler’s Stretch Mark Cream is physician-developed and designed to leave the pain behind! Pregnancy is tough, and we hope to make it easier for women with our unique hemorrhoid and stretch mark cream formulas.
While pregnant women stand to benefit the most from our stretch mark cream, they aren’t the only ones who seek a solution for itchy stretch marks. Our potent formula soothes irritated skin as it works to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. So, If you want to stop itching – get your very own tub of Doctor Butler’s Stretch Mark Cream!