Stretch Marks and Their Treatment
If you discover marks on your body, chances are that they are stretch marks. You are not the only one to have them. A lot of people experience these marks as they are a common occurrence.
They don’t just happen to women, but men as well. There is no need to worry about it as there are quite a few methods that you can try to get rid of or improve your scars. Keep reading to find more about stretch marks and their treatment.
Before proceeding further, here’s a quick checklist on stretch marks:
- These are are long, narrow stripes and happen when your skin is quickly stretched out
- Some of the most common causes of stretch marks are :pregnancy, hitting puberty, and gaining unhealthy weight rapidly
- While there isn’t a proven treatment or medical procedure which confirms your stretch marks will completely vanish, this post will share effective methods in which it can be made extremely light.
- Stretch marks while a nuisance and not pretty to look at, do not pose any serious long-term health risks. However the need to have them removed is high in demand as it effect’s your self-esteem and confidence.
What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks appear on the body when body experiences rapid change in its structure like sudden stretching of skin. These are kind of scars are very common. They can happen in both men and women but are more common in women.
These marks are long, narrow stripes. At the beginning, they can be of different colors like red, pink, blue depending on your skin color. These happen because skin is stretched beyond its limit where dermis breaks down leaving marks behind.
They fade over time becoming much paler and merging with your skin color. After some time, you may not notice them as much.
Why do Stretch Marks Appear?
Stretch marks can happen if your skin experiences sudden stretching. These can happen because of
- Quick weight loss and gain
- Rapid muscle growth during weight training/body building
- Growth spurts during puberty
- Breast implant surgery
- Applying Corticosteroids
- Marfan syndrome, a genetic disease that weakens skin fibers, affects connective tissue
- Cushing’s disease, an excess of steroid hormone cortisol in blood caused by pituitary tumor
- Ehler-Danlos syndrome, a condition that occurs because of genetic changes in collagen
Stretch marks are long streaks or stripes that appear on your skin. They can be of pink or blue color like a scar at the time of incidence. They may feel itchy and slightly raised as well. If you touch them, you might feel a slight depression where those streaks or stripes are.
They might fade over time and become less noticeable. In some cases, they fade away on their own but in other cases, you might need treatment which is also no guarantee of solution.
Stretch marks can appear on different parts of your body. These may include arms, stomach, breasts, back, buttocks and shoulders.
It is not a difficult situation to be diagnosed. Your doctor can have look and let you know that these are stretch marks. You might also understand what these scars are when you look at your body. However it is important that you share with your doctor if you have a sensation of burning or there is a heavy need to itch often.
The doctor will also ask your medical history before recommending any remedy for it.
Newer stretch marks that are in red/pink/blue color can be treated easily as compared to older marks. Newer marks have blood vessels under the skin that essentially help during the treatment if done on early stages.
In older stretch marks, the vessels become unresponsive for collagen production that helps in skin repair. Collagen production is the main principle that helps repair skin after it has been damaged and stretch marks have appeared.
There are many treatments for stretch marks that are variably effective. Almost all these methods use the same collagen production principle.
As we move along, we will talk about home remedies and medical treatments for stretch marks.
Home Remedies for Stretch Marks
There is not much evidence that many oils, creams, ointments available, that claim to be a solution for your stretch marks, work. Some home remedies are mentioned here:
Make-up products can help hide stretch marks on your body. There are concealers available that do the job for you. However these don’t really help with solving the problem and just conceal it.
Oils and Moisturizers
There are certain oils that can prevent, or fade stretch marks. These are olive oil, bitter almond oil, shea butter, coconut oil, apricot oil and cocoa butter. It is not known scientifically how helpful they are but are used by many.
Vitamin A is a type of retinoid that makes your skin appear soft and smooth without scars. These supplements can be taken to improve your skin. You should consult your doctor regarding use of vitamin A.
Aloe vera is used by many as a home remedy for stretch marks. Aloe vera is a natural moisturizing agent but there is not much evidence regrading its effectiveness on stretch marks.
Hyaluronic Acid and Tretinoin
Collagen production in your skin is necessary to keep skin regenerating and looking young and healthy. Use of hyaluronic acid and tretinoin can do that help fade stretch marks. You might need prescription to use these medicines. Pregnant women should not use these retinoid medicines.
Exfoliation can help remove dead skin and grow new skin. This can allow external solutions of oils, ointments applied on the skin to work faster. Sugar is used as a natural home remedy for exfoliation.
Similar to simple oils and creams, topical creams can also help deal with stretch marks although to what extent is not known. The marks may not be gone completely. They might lighten and start to fade away.
This is a process basically works on exfoliation principle. Some exfoliating crystals are used on your skin for exfoliating action on your stretch marks to activate collagen.
Your skin might be red and feel tight after the treatment, but it can fade ay after treatment. This process needs to be treated over a long period of time to see results.
Ultrasound works on the same principle i.e. target a layer of our skin and improve collagen production to get rid of stretch marks. The only difference is the use of ultrasound waves.
Collagen production is the underlying principle to improve skin. Here, a similar approach uses radiofrequency waves to activate collagen.
The marks fade away because of laser treatment. The skin improves very much and many people report great improvement in stretch marks with this method.
The process uses an acidic solution to burn outside skin layer. It boosts production of new, younger looking skin to improve stretch marks.
Procedures like tummy tuck, or any other procedure like it, can help you get rid of skin with marks but it is not very popular as it is costly. It is also quite painful as it requires incisions on the skin and these incisions can also leave marks on your skin.
Prevention can help you steer clear of stretch marks. It is important that you follow a healthy diet plan and avoid any rapid weight loss or weight gain regimens.
Keep your skin hydrated so that it keeps your skin from being parched and dry. If fully hydrated and elastic, there will be less chances for you getting stretch marks. It can be done using moisturizers as well as balanced healthy diet and consumption of water.
Procedures, especially home remedies, do not guarantee skin clear of stretch marks. These marks do fade away, if not permanently gone, over time so it is not necessary for you to take a treatment in some form or the other.
While it is already understood that stretch marks cannot be completely prevented, there are some additional ways in which you can help to decrease their appearance.
*Focus on eating well. Your healthy diet will serve you in the long run. Even if you aren’t pregnant and have just been thinking of getting pregnant, start your nutritious way of life soon to get the most out of eating wholesome.
*Stretch marks are more prone to appearing when you have gained extra weight. This doesn’t mean that you should start off on yo-yo diets, making false promises of weight loss. While you may be shedding weight, it’s usually just water weight and you are prone to gaining it back as fast as you shed it. Hence you need to adapt a healthy routine which consists of the consumption of healthy food while working out regularly.
*Eating a balanced diet means you need to consume a proper amount of minerals and vitamins by indulging in quality vegetables and fruits which ensure your daily intake is accounted for. However in certain cases you might have a deficiency of a kind of mineral or vitamin more so than others and having a proper consultation with a certified nutritionist will help determine that.
*In pregnancy, rather than having a fast and unhealthy weight gain, try to make it a gradual gain which is benefitting the fetus as the gain should be through the consumption of healthy food.
*The most important thing is- hydration. You are less likely to get a lot of stretch marks if you are drinking water plenty. Aim to drink at least 7-8 glasses every day. This ensures you will keep your skin fresh and well-hydrated.
You are not alone…
90% of women are likely to get stretch marks after delivery so you are not alone. While some are even okay with embracing the change to their bodies, there’s nothing wrong if you wish to get a treatment in combating the skin condition.
Aside from combating it with medicines or certain treatment options, you can take preventive measures to avoid it, but if they happen to your body, you can use any of the above-mentioned treatments that you consider best for you skin.
On the other hand, they do fade over time so there is no need to fret much over it. They become part of your body over time and you may not notice them. If you are comfortable with it, you might learn to live with your scars.