Stretch marks are what most women fear during or after pregnancy – statistics show that they affect from 50% to 90% of pregnant women. Hence, it’s highly likely to get them. Even though stretch marks don’t pose any health hazard, they can affect our self-image. They can look unsightly and thus make us feel self-conscious. They aren’t painful, but nobody likes how they make our skin look. Nevertheless, stretch marks can fade over time, but they can rarely disappear completely. There are different types of stretch marks.
This post aims to explain what stretch marks are, what the signs and symptoms are, as well as the causes. We will also provide some common risk factors when it comes to developing stretch marks. Most importantly, we’ll give you advice on how to prevent them from happening as well as how to treat them when they have already happened. Moreover, we’ll share some quick stretch mark facts and give you advice about when to visit a doctor. Read more to educate yourself on the issue – it can help you understand and prevent them from happening.
What are stretch marks?
Let’s start with the most basic thing – the definition of stretch marks. Stretch marks or striae are indented streaks on the skin. They can appear on the upper arms, buttocks, thighs, breasts, abdomen or hips. Essentially, they are a form of scars. They can sometimes be sore or itchy. Basically, we get them when our skin rapidly stretches or shrinks. They can vary in colour and be white, red, purple or blue.
Signs and symptoms of stretch marks
As far as signs and symptoms of stretch marks are concerned, there are a few. First of all, not all stretch marks are alike. Their appearance depends on a few things such as where they are on your body, how long they’ve been there and what type of skin you have. You can even recognize when stretch marks will appear. The skin becomes pink and thin and might feel itchy as well. Initially, they start as wrinkly lines in various colours, depending on your tan. They can, however, flatten and fade, but gradually, over time. Another thing that affects whether stretch marks will appear is your skin’s health and elasticity. The more elastic your skin is, the fewer chances for stretch marks you have.
What are the causes of stretch marks?
The main cause of stretch marks is the stretching of the skin. The severity of stretch marks is influenced by your genetics and the level of stress your skin undergoes. What plays an important role is the level of the hormone cortisol. This hormone is produced by the adrenal glands. It weakens the elastic fibres in the skin. The most common causes include pregnancy, puberty, rapid weight gain, corticosteroid use as well as various medical conditions. However, the good news is that cosmetic medicine, and medicine generally, has advanced and you can undergo certain treatments that can help you neutralize stretch marks. Professional beauty salons such as Bonita Body and Beauty use Micropoints, which is basically a skin-needling procedure. They can help you attain a better self-image within several sessions of the treatment.
Risk factors of stretch marks
Even though anyone can get stretch marks, there are some instances when they are more likely to happen. For starters, if you are a woman, there are more chances of developing stretch marks. More women than men suffer from this condition. Also, if you have a personal or family history of stretch marks, that is also a risk factor. Rapid growth in teen days is also a risk factor that can have stretch marks as a result. When our skin stretches at a normal pace as we grow, stretch marks don’t happen. However, a rapid stretch of skin cause ruptures of skin. Moreover, if you tend to rapidly gain or lose weight, there are more chances to get stretch marls. They can also happen after a breast enlargement surgery and when using corticosteroids. Genetic conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome or Marfan syndrome can also cause them.
How to prevent stretch marks from happening
There is no absolutely sure, proven way to prevent stretch marks from happening. However, there are certain things we can do, which can minimize them. You can start with maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding yo-yo dieting. Your diet should be well-balanced, full of vitamins such as A and E as well as minerals, including zinc and silicon. In pregnancy, try to gain weight slowly, at a steady pace – it will lower the chances of stretch marks. Hydration is an integral part of maintaining overall health and preventing stretch marks from happening. You can also use different oils, creams and lotions and apply them to spots that stretch. It hasn’t been proven that they can remove stretch marks, but they can definitely help the skin be elastic and avoid cracking.
How to treat stretchmarks
When it comes to treating stretch marks, there are several treatments that show good results. However, their effect will highly depend on their severity. So, it’s best to act preventatively and then treat what has to be treated. These treatments can help improve the appearance of stretch marks. Let’s take a closer look at them.
This cream works best for restoring collagen, which provides your skin with much-needed elasticity. The best way to use this cream is on recent stretch marks, which are often red or pink. It can cause irritation in some instances and it is not recommended for pregnant women.
Hyaluronic acid cream
A cream that’s based on hyaluronic acid can help to stretch marks in their early stages. It is safe to use as it is naturally present in our bodies.
Pulsed dye laser therapy
A pulsed dye laser therapy is an innovative way that will promote the growth of collagen and elastin. Also, it has the best results on recent stretch marks. Your skin can end up looking slightly different if you have a darker tan.
Fractional photothermolysis is a therapy that uses a laser to target small areas of your skin. It is similar to pulsed dye laser therapy, exhibiting less potential for skin damage.
This procedure involves polishing the skin with tiny crystals to reveal new skin under the more elastic stretch marks. It can help enhance the appearance of older stretch marks, in some cases.
Excimer laser therapy
It is used to stimulate skin color (melanin) production so that stretch marks match the surrounding skin more closely.
For the right choice of stretch mark treatments, it is best to consult with a doctor. They can choose the best therapy based on your medical condition.
Stretch marks and other scars are an important and probably inevitable part of our lives. They show that we’ve been through something which made us a different, perhaps better person. However, as nobody likes these signs on their skin, it’s best to be proactive and prevent them from happening if possible.