Many women witness the development of stretch marks following pregnancy. Find out more about the causes of these, and what you can do in order to diminish the appearance of stretch marks.
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Anne Ebeling: Some call them a badge of honor, other say they are unsightly side effect. Call them what you will most women get stretch marks while pregnant. Dr. Deborah Sarnoff: It’s very common to get stretch marks during pregnancy. In some cases it’s a genetic tendency if your mom had stretch marks or your grandmother or your sisters there might be a little more chance for you to get stretch marks. You could also look at puberty, how that was for you, when you developed breast when you got a little more curvy around the hip, did you actually developed stretch marks in those areas. That might be a tell tale sign that you're more apt to develop them when your pregnant. Anne Ebeling: There are all kinds of creams and oils out there designed to diminish the appearance of stretch marks. But when it comes to preventing there’s really nothing you can do to keep stretch marks from popping out. Dr. Deborah Sarnoff: Wouldn’t that be nice if we could really do something to prevent them? The truth is there are a lot of products out there, there are a lot skin care products. There are moisturizers, there’s coco butter, there is aloe, there is vitamin E, there is all kinds of old wives’ tales but the sad truth as a dermatologist I can tell you, is there really is not anything we can do to prevent them. Anne Ebeling: Dr. Deborah Sarnoff says there’s no harm in using these creams if it makes you feel good as long as you don’t expect them to keep stretch marks that fade. Dr. Deborah Sarnoff: I think they make us feel better and I think that its, it has a nice scent and it has just a nice feel to it, the skin can be softer but I don’t think any women out there should delude herself into thinking that it’s actually able to prevent to stretch mark because it’s coming from dryness, its coming from just the stretch of the skin, it’s a phenomena that is there. Anne Ebeling: But while there’s nothing you can do to prevent stretch marks there is plenty you can do once you have them. Dr. Deborah Sarnoff: After the fact we do have some nice solutions especially nowadays. I think the first thing one can do postpartum is take a look, assess the damage and you could try to start using some moisturizers that have alphahydroxy acids, maybe glyclolic acids, you could perhaps get a prescription for Retin-A or Renovo from your dermatologist. You want to make sure if you're breastfeeding, you want to wait on that but if you're not breastfeeding I think it’s perfectly fine to try to intervene with a little topical vitamin A. You can go to the spa or the doctor’s office and have a little bit of white micro dermabrasion treatments. This might help a little bit. Anne Ebeling: The most effective treatment is the new break through laser treatment. Dr. Deborah Sarnoff: Ultimately, we do have lasers that can actually help. In one case they can help turn the purple red marks a little lighter and then once they're silvery white we actually have the system nowadays which is very exciting that is really the first breakthrough to make the silvery white stretch marks much less apparent. There is a laser system called the Affirm. It’s a machine made by Cynosure and the affirm laser has been shown to be very, very useful to treat the stretch mark. We can help make them thinner, we can help make them in length shorter, in width thinner even in height. If you look in indirect lighting you’ll often notice that there’s a little dip in the skin as a little what we call atrophy. It’s not really up to the level and under the microscope they resemble scars so all of the treatments that we know that work for scars can be used more for stretch marks. Anne Ebeling: Lisa Marie Conte is having the procedure done to reduce the appearance of stretch marks she got into result of weight gain while pregnant. Lisa Marie: When I gain the weight I did progress at least to see the stretch marks. They are more or less started to really come on towards the end of your pregnancy. They’re very itchy

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