As if having sexy husband (ahem! New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady) is not enough, Gisele Bündchen has given women worldwide one more reason to turn green with envy – the former Victoria Secrets model has 2 adorable children, and not a single stretch mark!
We all know pregnancy does things to our bodies. Things which may make a previously confident woman quake at the thought of stripping down at the beach or even in front of her bedroom mirror. While women like Gisele may be genetically blessed (or so she claims), advanced treatments are now at hand to tackle these common skin problems effectively and help shore up your body love.
SKIN speaks to Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director of The SW1 Clinic, ex-founder of The Sloane Clinic for some advice.
The Problem: Stretch Marks
Ninety percent of women will get stretch marks over their lifetime. Yes, 90. Those shiny marks that snake across the tummy – caused by rapid over-stretching with resultant thinning, tissue tearing and scarring of the skin during pregnancy – aren’t necessarily a life sentence.
First off, they’re much easier to treat when they’re fresh. They start out reddish or brownish, and that’s when they’re most receptive to topical creams and Vbeam laser.
Applying vitamin-based (such as tretinoin) and AHA products targeted at promoting skin repair and cellular renewal may improve the appearance of early stretch marks over time.
For more dramatic and faster results, the VBeam laser calms the wayward capillaries and inflammation in red stretch marks while stimulating collagen growth without any downtime or significant pain.
Once they turn white and mature, many dermatologists would recommend the Fraxel laser to resurface and renew the scarred skin progressively over a 4 to 6 treatments.
The Problem: Slack Skin
Skin can get stretched out from pregnancy, and that worsens with aging and weight fluctuations. Loose skin often further accentuates the appearance of stretch marks.
Thermage Body, a non-invasive device that uses deep-penetrating radiofrequency to tighten skin, is particularly effective on stomach pooches. One treatment squeezed in between your business appointment and picking up the kids is generally required to add spring to existing lax collage and power up your skin’s own replenishment of new collagen over the 6 months that follow. Skin will stay taut for an average of 12 months.
A surgical tummy tuck would be the alternative to remove the apron of loose crepey skin (together with any stretch marks), unwanted fat and to reposition saggy belly buttons at the same time for severe cases.
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The Problem: Caesarian Scars
While giving birth to your child may be the best thing that has happened in your life, the scar (especially swollen, hypertrophied ones) from the c-section mars your beautiful memory.
New, small scars can be softened with silicone gels. If the scars are raised or keloid (swollen scars which seem to be enlarging beyond the original wound due to abnormal over-healing of skin), 2 to 3 steroid injections at your doctor’s can reduce the growth and make them flatter and thinner.
Just like the treatment of stretch marks, Vbeam laser can restore the normal colour and diminish red scars or keloids over an average of 4 treatments. A series of 4 to 6 Fraxel laser sessions is generally required to remove old white scars and improve the texture of the skin.
Read More: 4 Ways to Get Rid of Pregnancy Stretch Marks
The Problem: Skin Tags
Multiple small, loose ‘bumps’ of skin tend to appear on women’s necks and underarms during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Skin tags are harmless, but tend to bother many ladies as they are unsightly and may cause discomfort if they get caught in the necklace or during a shower.
These are easily removed either by cauterization or cutting off with a surgical scissors. With some numbing cream before the procedure, many can be removed in one seating with minimal discomfort.
The Problem: Spider Veins
These clusters of radiating broken capillaries look less than stellar on cheeks, legs and arms. They are a consequence of high estrogen levels and increased blood flow in expectant mothers.
Vascular lasers or vein removal lasers are most effective for fine to medium-sized spider veins. The lasers zap to shut down unwanted veins precisely, allowing the closed vessels to be cleared off the body over the weeks that follow. Vascular laser treatments generally have no downtime.
Sclerotherapy is an alternative for bigger veins. Intravenous injection of a chemical (sclerosant) irritates the veins, causing them to collapse and get absorbed back into the body slowly over weeks. Be sure to start injections long before a leg-baring event – Sclerotherapy can cause bruises for two weeks or longer, and the veins won’t disappear completely until your treatment is completed.