This guide will help you better understand a common body concern. The questions: “What is the cause of stretchmarks?” and “How you can prevent stretchmarks?” are answered along with remedies.
Stretch marks are caused when skin expands in response to sudden weight gain. While skin does stretch to a certain extent, at some point – which is going to vary from person to person – when it is stretched to it’s limit the inner layer of skin actually tears. In addition, there can be loss of collagen and elastin in the skin. This underlying layer of skin shows through the upper layers and looks streaked.
In the initial stages, stretch marks appear as pink or purple stripes for lighter complexions. These are the result of damaged capillaries. Over time they look white. Darker skinned people tend to get stretch marks that are lighter than their skin tone. Stretch marks are most common on thighs, abdomen, hips, breasts, buttocks and upper arms. Once stretch marks appear they are extremely difficult to get rid of.
Stretch marks often result from drastic weight gain or drastic weight loss, as often experience after gastric bypass or lapband surgery. Almost all pregnant women are at risk to develop stretch marks. Stretch marks are permanent, but there are stretch mark treatments that can be used to prevent stretch marks or minimize their appearance.
Stretch Mark Myths
These are the top ten myths regarding stretch marks:
Only pregnant women get stretch marks.
Only women get stretch marks.
Stretch marks go away once you lose the weight.
Only plastic surgery can treat stretch marks.
Once you get stretch marks, you just have to live with them.
Stretch marks aren’t worth the time to treat.
Stretch marks are expensive to treat.
Teenagers and children don’t get stretch marks.
Insurance will pay for stretch mark treatments.
You will find a lot of articles and studies that contradict the other when it comes down to ‘Can stretch marks can be prevented’. Basically, if your body is growing at a faster rate than usual, your skin will not be able to keep up. This will result in stretch marks. Expecting this to happen and being able to prevent it would be easier said than done.
Prevent Stretch Marks:
Creams and Lotions
Many lotions sold to treat stretch marks contain alpha hydoxy acid (AHA). This helps to exfoliate the topmost skin cells so that new skin cells grow in their place. These lotions provide subtle improvement gradually over time when used regularly and over a long period of time to get and maintain results. Look for formulations with vitamin AHA, plus vitamins A, C and E to aid in diminishing the appearance of stretch marks.
Because stretch marks are caused when the skin is damaged, the healthier you can keep skin, the better chances you have at avoiding stretch marks. Eating foods rich in zinc, as well as vitamins A, C, and D, can improve skin’s quality to prevent stretch marks. Nuts, fish, citrus fruits, dairy products, carrots, and eggs are all skin friendly foods. Keep your skin hydrated by drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water per day. Soft skin will be more supple and less prone to tearing.
Covering Stretch Marks
If you need to cover your stretch marks before treatment starts to produce results, you can get stretch mark concealer which comes in colors for all skin tones. You could also get a tattoo to cover up stretch marks. Some people also get good results from self-tanning lotion.
Getting Rid of Stretch Marks: Laser Treatment
While using lasers to treat stretch marks is a new application, they are proven to improve skin texture when used for skin tightening on other areas of the body. Skin is numbed and then tiny holes are created in the skin to reduce the appearance and induce the skin to create new collagen. This treatment for stretch marks creates significant improvement in tone and texture, as well as an overall younger looking skin.
The appearance of skin can be improved and stretch marks made less visible with treatment by dermabrasion. In dermabrasion, the skin is frozen and then and scraped, or sanded with a special instrument. New, smoother skin grows in place of the removed upper layer.
Chemical peels involve a process where an exfoliating chemical treatment is put on the skin. Like with dermabrasion, the new skin that grows is in better condition than that it replaces.
Also know as a tummy tuck, abdominoplasty is perhaps the most drastic way to eliminate stretch marks. The surgery achieves this by removing excess skin in the abdominal area, so if there are stretch marks, they are cut off. Of course, there are other benefits of the tummy tuck. A tummy tuck is the only way to achieve 100% removal of stretch marks.
If you’d rather not go under the laser or knife, you can diminish the appearance of stretch marks with natural intervention. Here is a list of the best remedies that are out there.
1.Recipe for Homemade Stretch Mark Body Scrub: Sugar
Cod liver oil
Vitamin E oil/cream
Aloe Vera gel
Mix the ingredients together and work gently into skin. Exfoliating rids the skin of dead cells and stimulates blood flow.
2.Recipe for Homemade Stretch Mark Cream: 1/4th cup Cocoa Butter
1 tbsp. Wheat Germ oil
1 tsp. Light Sesame Seed oil
1 tsp. Apricot Kernel oil
1 tsp. Vitamin E oil
2 tsp. grated Beeswax
1 tsp. Vanilla extract (optional)
Mix all the ingredients together, except the Vanilla extract. Heat gently until the Cocoa Butter and Beeswax have melted. Remove from heat and stir in Vanilla and cool completely. Store in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid. Massage into your skin.
3.Homemade Stretch Mark Lotion: 1/2 Virgin Olive oil
1/4th cup Aloe Vera gel
Contents of 6 capsules of Vitamin E
Contents of 4 capsules of Vitamin A
Mix all the ingredients using a blender and store the mixture in the refrigerator. For best results use daily.
You can also apply the fresh gel of an Aloe Vera plant directly onto your skin. Let it dry for several hours or overnight and rinse.
According to studies, the best time to treat stretch marks is while they’re still in that pinkish/ purple stage for best results. There is currently no cream, lotion or gel in the market that can vanish stretch marks; so do not be fooled. And if at some point you feel like your effort was in vain and you feel like giving up on trying to gain that perfect scar free free skin, just remember that all scars are a symbol of growth. If you can’t fix it, embrace it!