Most of the people and even the teenagers have them. Up to 70 percent of the pregnant women get stretch marks. They are small depressed streaks in the skin that can affect both men and women. Weaknesses in the supporting structure of the skin causing layers of the skin to separate, leaving the skin discolored and grooved. Other names are striae distense, striae atrophicans, striae ruba, striae alba. They happen when the tissue under the skin is pulled by rapid growth or stretching.
They are a form of scarring on the skin with a white hue that form in the dermis. Usually start off as raised red lines that slowly fade into silvery, white streaks.
They are caused by changes in the elastic supportive tissue that lies just beneath the skin. They develop when the skin is excessively stretched during pregnancy, weight gain, growth spurts. When the skin is stretched over a short period of time dermal tearing occurs which creates scars in the skin / dermis/. Fortunately, in the most of the cases the marks become considerably less noticeable about 6 to 14 months after childbirth.
Depending on the color of your skin they may look pink, reddish, brown or white.
- weight loss
- weight gain
- growth spurt
- Excessive weight gain or weight loss is the main reason
- Losing collagen and elastin in the skin causes them
- Stretch marks are generally associated with pregnancy and obesity. More than 60 percent of the pregnant women get them.
- result from nutritional deficiency.
- also occur as a result of abnormal collagen function.
- be found on children who have become quickly obese.
- Some people are genetically prone to them.
- Sometimes they can be a symptom of Cushing’s syndrome – a condition in which the adrenal glands produce too much steroid hormone and the purple stretch marks appear on the abdomen.
Women and men can get stretch marks on several areas of their bodies. They are most common during puberty and pregnancy – times when the body undergoes rapid changes and that’s why many women get them during pregnancy. They can appear anywhere on the body – where the skin has been stretched over a short period of time. The most common parts are – hips, buttocks, thighs, arms, breast and abdomen. Pregnant women start to develop them on the abdomen during the second half of pregnancy as the skin stretches to accommodate the growing baby.
They can affect everyone but some people are more susceptible to forming than others. Some people have weaker collagen than others so they are more likely to get them. Even the athletes who exercise regularly can get them and even if you are slim and eat healthy food can get them.
- Massage and exfoliate your skin regularly to increase blood circulation.
- Always keep your skin hydrated and moisturized.
- Eating healthy is essential in order to prevent formation.
- Avoid yo-yo dieting
- If you have to lose weight lose it slowly.
- Apply products designed for stretch marks everyday into the abdomen during pregnancy.
- Drink plenty of water -water keeps your skin hydrated and healthy looking and less likely to develop.
- Eat foods high in vitamins D, A, C
- Eat zinc-rich food /nuts, fish/
- Avoid sudden weight gain
- It can take up to a year for a stretch mark to face from red to white
- Keep your weight under control
- If your mother or sister got them during pregnancy you are more likely to get them too
- absolutely no health risk and don’t compromise the body’s ability to function healthy.
- They usually become less visible as they heal in time, but they will never disappear completely.
- African-American women are less likely to get them.
- Dry skin is more prone to them due to loss of elasticity
- Creams containing vitamin E and Cocoa Butter work best for preventing them
- Regular exercise is essential to prevent as it keep skin taut.
- To camouflage use a self-tanner or apply a little bit of a foundation.
- Use products with AHAs and Retin A because they slough off dead skin cells and help fade redness in a stretch mark.
Massage Those Marks Away: There are a number of massage parlors offering to help remove or reduce them. The technique is safe and natural. Many are seeing positive results by using massage therapy to remove or reduce them. There is no surgery involved. If you are one that does not have time for surgery, this just may be the solution you have been looking for.
If you were to call a herbal dealer they would suggest herbs such as: aloe vera gel, cocoa butter, lavender oil or a number of other great herbal lotions.
Diet and Exercise: You are what you eat. Diet and exercise go hand in hand with our overall health. Proper diet habits are much more likely to help keep us healthy as opposed to a poor eating plan. Improper nutrition is the culprit of many illnesses, including skin conditions. Our bodies show signs such as dry skin, brittle nails, split end and many more as a result of not getting the proper vitamins and minerals in our diets.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is shown to be beneficial, as well as a host of many other skin conditions.
Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, organ meats, fruits such as tomatoes, and of course dairy products.
Exercise is not just beneficial in heart health; it helps to tone our skin as we lose weight, helping to keep skin from sagging.
Water: Water helps carry oxygen to our skin and to keep it hydrated. When skin becomes dry, it looses a lot of “stretching” power.
If you are in the process of treating and you need immediate results, there are a couple of things you can do to help hide those marks.
Concealer Cream: This is a makeup that comes in a variety of shades that you rub on you marks and it helps to blend to your natural skin color. Tatoo cover up is a type of makeup used by people who have a tattoo that want to hide it.
Chronic stretch marks are more difficult to deal with, but not impossible.
- Timely treatment is successful treatment: you should take action as soon as you notice them. The earlier – the better.
- Massage it out! – massage does a great job in improving skin texture. Massage the affected area four times a day using moisturizers with key ingredients shea butter, cocoa butter or essential oils, and you will see the result for sure after a couple of weeks. There are also endermologie procedures, in which endermologie machines are used to massage the skin. A good, deep massage expels toxins and triggers the production of collagen and elastine.
- Tanning – natural sun tan and self-tanners help to visually reduce stretch marks. Before applying the self-tanner it is better to exfoliate the skin.
- Topical treatment to the rescue! Substances such as Vitamin C, Retinoid, Topical Tretinoin, Reastin, wheat germ oil and Glycolic acid are proven to do a great job against this skin flaw. You should however consult a specialist before use any of them on your body.
- Laser treatment helps a lot. Moreover, it’s effective against all kinds of stretch marks – red, purple and white ones. There are several ways of using laser power for this purpose: – vascular lasers – though these procedures are a bit pricey (between $400 – $500 per session and you’ll need up to 6 of them), vascular laser reduces red stretch marks;
– fractionated laser – it treats chronic stretch marks and is even more expensive -minimum of 3 sessions and $1000 per each;
– pulsed dye laser – it targets the underlying skin layers, stimulating collagen and elastine production. Works well on both new and old. Not recommended for people with dark skin tones (Fitzpatrick Skin Type IV, V or VI), and forbidden for pregnant or nursing women. Cost: $500 to $800, five procedures.
– excimer laser – it also treats chronic marks by accelerating the production of melanin on the treated areas, so get the same color as normal skin. It is the most expensive treatment – you’ll need 10 to 20 procedures that will cost from $300 to $700 each.
- Microdermabrasion – using micro crystals to polish the skin, microdermabrasion removes the dead outer skin layer and stimulates the growth of new, healthy and flawless sin. Works well with older ones.
- Surgical procedures – affected skin is surgically removed. Effectiveness and cost depend on the areas affected.