What are stretch marks:
Stretch mark are basically as their name say caused by stretching, but actually they are a type of scar that may develop when your skin is pulled by rapid growth and stretching and also vice versa when you lose weight or shrink quickly. This kind of rapid change causes the elastic fibers in your skin to tear and when the tears heal a scar develops and this is called stretch mark.
Our skin is actually very elastic and is used to grow and shrink, but there is a limit how fast your skin can adopt. If this change happens too fast and the normal production of collagen and elastin that makes up the connective tissue in our skin is disrupted and cannot keep up with the expansion, our skin starts to rupture and tears, which results in stretch marks.
In general, we do not have to fear them as stretch marks are not harmful and do not cause any pain, but we often feel distressed about them by the way they look.
How do stretch marks look like
Stretch marks are thin and long lines on your body and typically appear as several lines in a parallel formation. As they are actually scars, they have the typical appearance of an healing scar.
Depending on your skin type and and colour the actual appearance may be a bit different. But typically, they show up as pink, red, purple or light gray streaks. As the area is damaged you can feel that the skin structure is different and there might be a slight ridge or indentation.
During the scar healing process, you might sometimes feel that the stretch marks are a bit itchy and sore.
Over the time as skin heals the appearance of stretch marks gets lighter and less noticeable, but typically they do not disappear completely.
Where do they appear
You can get stretch marks almost on any part on your body that stores fat or can be associated with muscle growth. Therefore, we can say you cannot get them typically on face, hands and feet, but all other areas may be affected.
Most commonly they appear on stomach, abdomen, hips, thighs, breasts and buttocks, but they may appear also on the back of your arms and lower back.
Causes for stretch marks and who can get them
Mostly stretch marks are associated with women as they experience more this kind of body changes that will and may result in quick deformations of body and skin stretching – like during teen age when breasts, hips thighs and buttocks may be affected and pregnancy what is considered as the most common reason for stretch marks, especially in the last trimester, when the baby is growing fast.
According to statistics 50-90% of women experience them during different periods of their lives.
But nevertheless, men are also not safe from stretch marks as the other reasons can affect both men and women equally.
The other main reasons for getting stretch marks include rapid growth periods specially during teenage age, overweight and muscle gain during bodybuilding.
For teenagers when they grow fast in height and also weight, they are under big risk of getting them.
Secondly extreme overweight is a big risk factor as the excessive fat will stretch your skin.
Thirdly bodybuilders may be affected during fast muscle gain periods and specially when this is enforced by muscle building supplements and steroids.
In addition to that the fluctuation in hormone level has also been associated with the formation of stretch marks, like during teenage age or during pregnancy.
And it has been brought out that genetics may also play a role here, for example when your mom has got them, then you are more likely to get them and this can be also related to the area where you may get them – as an example, when she had them on her stomach then you may get your stretch marks also there.
There can be also external reasons why you may get them.
One is the use of medication, that as a side effect can cause issues like weight gain, bloating and swelling or other physical changes. As an example, in some cases birth control pills can cause changes in hormone levels and cause weight gain etc.
And secondly some medical conditions can lead to physical changes and bring up skin issues that make you more vulnerable to stretch marks.
Weather you may or may not get stretch marks related to mentioned reasons is fully individual, depending on your skin type, body type etc. But this is again individual, you cannot control your body’s natural development, but everybody can control their lifestyle and habits to most part.
Stretch mark prevention
As covered also previously there is no guarantee that you can fully prevent them depending on the reason, but there is also no proof that you will get them even when you experience quick weight gain, give birth to a child or when your parents had them.
We cannot change or affect how our body behaves during natural growth periods, but most of the other reasons can be influenced and controlled.
Stretch marks – causes, prevention and treatment Pregnancy_ Health tenfold
Here are the main ways to prevent stretch marks:
Stable weight – the best way to prevent stretch marks is to keep your weight steady and avoid the yo-yo weight effect. If you gain or lose a few pounds over the year then that’s not a problem, but you should avoid big changes.
Drink Water – drinking enough water is essential to your bodies health and that applies the same regarding stretch marks. Drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water every day helps to keep the weight under control and makes your skin hydrated and more elastic.
Food – healthy and natural food is always a good choice. The goal has to be to eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Important vitamins for your skin include A, C and D as well as the minerals zinc and silicone.
Skin care – In addition to healthy food and drinking water skin care routines will support in preventing stretch marks. The important factor is to keep your skin moist and elastic. In addition to the above-mentioned vitamins and minerals the use of natural oils and creams can support you in this.
Advised are these ingredients: Almond Oil, sesame seed oil, Jojoba seed oil, Punica, Pomegranate seed oil, Hazel seed oil, Rosehip seed oil, Lavender flower oil, Carrot seed oil.
For prevention the magic word is as also the word itself says to use them before the event happens. For all possible reasons you cannot foresee it, but for cases like pregnancy you can start to apply correct food and weight control habits already in advance and also to apply proper skin moisturizing routines to prepare your body and skin.
Treatment for stretch marks
If you already have stretch marks then the best way start treating them is to apply the same principles as we also covered in the prevention – keep your weight under control, eat healthy, drink plenty of water and keep you skin perfectly moisturized.
If the stretch marks are caused by overweight, then one of your goals needs to be also to work towards reducing your weight in steady pace. And this involves already 3 out of the 4 mentioned methods towards improvement!
Stretch marks heal over time and fade so they get less noticeable, but typically they do not disappear completely. There are medical treatments to reduce the appearance, but these may be quite costly especially considering that the outcome may not be satisfying, more handy are creams and oils that you can use and apply yourself.
As with every treatment you get the best results when you start to apply it while the marks are fresh or even better as preventive manner.
Medical treatments considered regarding stretch marks treatment:
- Laser therapy
- Chemical peel
Depending on the person different methods may help and sometimes several of them can be combined. As stretch marks are not a medical condition these treatments need to be paid by yourself. Also regarding any medical treatments, you should always consult your doctor, before you decide to go for it!
Creams and oils.
One of the most effective ingredients considered in helping to restore skin is retinol which helps to rebuild collagen. But on the contrary is a chemical and should for sure be avoided when you are pregnant. Therefore, when looking for a cream you should always make sure that this is not included there!
Not just while being pregnant, but also in general we should avoid chemicals in our daily skincare as these cannot be good for us in the long run and we should be looking towards natural alternatives.
There is no one solution solve it all, but most people find help in natural resources like coconut oil and aloe vera that can be used as home remedies or use specially formulated oils that contain only 100% natural ingredients that stimulate and moisturize your skin.
One great example you can find here: Stretch marks oil
Find here: body oil