Motherhood can leave its mark! Read more about spider veins, stretch marks and melasma.
Being a mother changes us all in many ways – a lot of good ways, some bad. And it’s different for each of us. Some people sail through pregnancy, breastfeeding and the raising of children without a mark on their bodies, but most of us have a few “battle scars” to show for our journey. Some people are proud of these changes and wear them as a badge of honour. Others find them annoying or distressing. If you are in the latter category then keep reading, we will discuss what can be changed, who can assist you, and when the best time to treat certain conditions is.
Spider Veins and Varicose Veins
Pregnancy is a time when spider veins or larger varicose veins can commonly pop up on your legs. There are several underlying factors that cause this. The higher levels of circulating estrogens during pregnancy cause leg veins to be more prone to dilation, loss of elasticity and damage to the small valves in the veins. Overall the risk of spider vein problems is higher in females than males, which may be linked to estrogen levels, so the extra boost with pregnancy can exacerbate the problem. The second main factor in pregnancy is the physical obstruction of a growing uterus. The expansion of your belly puts pressure on the blood flow returning from your lower limbs, causing retrograde flow that can damage leg vein valves and larger varicose veins suddenly appear.
The good news is that both spider veins and varicose veins can be safely treated with walk in walk out injections here at Geelong Veins, Skin and Laser. We advise delaying treatment while you are pregnant or the immediate postpartum period. From 3 months post pregnancy you can come in for an assessment. While breastfeeding we are careful to choose treatments that will not affect breastmilk. Some clients are advised elsewhere not to bother having leg veins treated until their family is complete (all pregnancies finished), but this is not necessary. In fact it is better to treat problematic leg veins between pregnancies to avoid worsening with a subsequent pregnancy. The first step to addressing any leg vein problems is to book an appointment with Dr Barbra Ward at Geelong Veins, Skin and Laser for a comprehensive leg vein assessment.
Stretch marks or “striae” are pink or white marks on the skin caused by rapid growth or stretching of the skin. Common causes are growth in the teenage years, pregnancy or rapid weight gain. They can appear on the stomach, breasts, upper arms or thighs.
At Geelong Veins, Skin and Laser we can treat stretch marks with collagen induction therapy (skin needling), or with our Revlite laser. Our skilled dermal clinicians can advise you on the best treatment to suit your skin.
To find out more about stretch mark treatments you can book an appointment with our dermal clinicians – Chevonne or Lauren for an individual assessment and tailored management plan.
Melasma (also known as Chloasma faciei, or the mask of pregnancy when present in pregnant women) is a tan or dark patchy skin discoloration. It causes brown to grey-brown patches on the face. Most commonly it occurs on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin, or above the upper lip. Although it can affect anyone, melasma is particularly common in women, especially pregnant women and those who are taking oral or patch contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications. Melasma is also more common in people that tan well or have naturally brown skin (Fitzpatrick skin types 3 and 4) compared with those who have fair skin.
(source: American Academy of Dermatology website)
Melasma can be treated at Geelong Veins, Skin and Laser with our Revlite laser. Our dermal clinician Chevonne has a special interest in treating this condition. Chevonne can also advise you of the important points in ongoing care of your skin to prevent the recurrence of this pigmentation. Book a free consultation with Chevonne for a skin analysis, including a reveal photography image that will show the underlying pigment in your skin, for more information about melasma.
We hope this information has been helpful in understanding spider veins, stretch marks and melisma. We are always happy to discuss these conditions further, for more information call us or pop in to the clinic.
And to all the mothers out there, have a lovely mother’s day!