Stretch marks during pregnancy are no longer inevitable, it seems.
Specially designed knickers and creams are said to prevent the scars with an 82 per cent success rate.
The first-of-its-kind maternity range has already helped 30,000 women avoid pregnancy stretch marks, says the company selling the products.
Researchers from University College London worked on the technology behind the knickers, which cover the bump and hold the skin in place, dispersing the pressure as skin stretches and blocking the path of stretch marks using pads placed in an irregular pattern.
The company behind the invention, Secret Saviours, sells the briefs for £50 alongside £50 ‘bump bands’, £65 bras, £75 leggings and £65 shorts – which together are also said to prevent stretch marks forming on the breasts, thighs and bottom.
Secret Saviours sells the briefs for £50 alongside £50 bump bands and £65 bras (file image)
The underwear, which is to be worn every day and removed in the evening, is part of a three-step programme that includes a day gel and nightly massage cream, which cost extra.
The range has been tested in formal clinical trials and is said to support the back, bumps and breasts from pregnancy aches ‘while enhancing every woman’s natural curves’.
Dr Stephen Barker, a vascular surgeon at UCL, helped to developed the range. He said it was ‘far better’ to prevent stretch marks than try to cure them.
‘Stretch marks can be regarded as a type of wound – a partial tear in the skin during pregnancy with the rather reddish, purplish jagged lines going down the abdomen,’ he said.
‘We’ve developed a theory as to how they might form. We know in the abdominal wall, skin is laid down in a particular pattern with bands running from side to side.
‘If you initiate a stress point within the skin it tears…giving rise to a stretch mark in the abdominal wall.
‘What we need to try and do is prevent that stress focus from forming in the first place and equalise the stresses across the abdominal wall by gripping the skin and holding it.
‘What we would say about stretch marks is that prevention is far better than cure. Unfortunately, if you develop stretch marks, they’re going to be with you for the rest of your life.
Researchers from University College London worked on the new knicker technology
‘Preventing them forming in the first place is far, far better.’
Before the collection was made public, the clothing underwent formal clinical trials to ensure its effectiveness.
‘We wanted to be absolutely certain that what we said would happen, would happen,’ Dr Barker said.
‘We wanted to prove that the use of the support band, the day gel and the night cream would actually do what they said in helping prevent stretch marks.
‘To do that we organised a formal clinical trial. Over 120 women took part in this trial – 60 not using our system, and more than 60 using our system.
‘What we confirmed, using the Secret Saviours system, was that in seven out of 10 women we could prevent stretch marks.
‘In another two out of 10 women we were able to reduce the appearance of stretch marks significantly.
‘In one in 10 women, stretch marks still formed despite using the system.
‘So the regimen that we have developed is two-fold, and it’s important that both elements are used.
‘First, the support band. Second, the use of the day gel and the night cream. This gives you the best possible chance of avoiding stretch marks in your pregnancy.’
Founder and CEO Sophie Hooper said: ‘We are pushing the boundaries in skincare support because we want to provide pregnant women with a choice about how to care for their skin.
‘Stretch marks affect over 80 per cent of women during pregnancy and whilst some women embrace them as their well-earned tiger stripes, some are left with life-long mental scars.
‘Secret Saviours is the first real solution for stretch marks. It has been scientifically proven that creams and gels don’t work, but our ground-breaking textile technology offers pregnant women a genuine solution to one of the most common skincare issues women face in their lifetimes.’
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