Stretch marks (symptoms) (causes) (treatments)

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Stretch marks or striae are a very common type of scars among men, women, and also teenagers.

They form because of the quick growth of the body such as in pregnancy or puberty.

Striae are really harmless but they are indeed not good looking. the only thing that you can think about when you get those lines on your skin is how to make them go away.

Even if they don’t disappear completely, they may fade and diminish over time or with the help of some treatments and products.

In short: to get the best results you need to know exactly why those stretch marks form and how to treat them effectively.

Lets get started.

Why do you get stretch marks?

They occur when the skin is pulled by the quick growth or stretching.

The collagen is the protein responsible for making the skin more elastic cause it is the main protein that forms the connective tissue in the skin. Sometimes the normal production of collagen is disturbed by the rapid stretching of the skin. As a result those scars called stretch marks may form.

Stretch marks symptoms

When you they first start to form they look a little red or purple and they can occur anywhere on the body, but mostly they appear in places where more fat is stored.

The most common areas are:

  • the abdomen (especially near the belly button).
  • Chest and breasts.
  • Shoulders.
  • Back.
  • Thighs (inside and outside).
  • Buttocks.
  • Hips.
  • The affected area may feel thin and soft. It can also be irritating or itchy.

Causes

Extreme growth or narrowing of the skin can lead to stretch marks.

Most common causes of skin stretching are:

Puberty: rapid growth is a characteristic of young boys and girls during puberty and it’s is a big factor that can lead to stretch marks.

Pregnancy: 50 to 90% of pregnant woman can develop striae during pregnancy or after they give birth.

Rapid weight gain: gaining a lot of weight especially if it is in a short time can also lead to stretch marks.

Medical conditions: Marfan and Cushing’s syndromes are two medical conditions that can cause stretch marks. Cushing syndromes indicate that the body is producing too much hormones that leads to quick weight gain and bitter skin, and Marfan syndromes reduce the elasticity of the skin tissue.

Use of corticosteroids: The long use of lotions and creams that contain corticosteroids may reduce the level of collagen in the skin. As you know collagen is the protein that strengthens and supports the skin, and a reduced amount can increase the risk of stretch marks.

Also, increasing cortisone levels can increase the risk or severity of stretch marks by reducing the pliability of the skin.

In particular, it acts on the dermis by preventing the formation of fibroblasts of collagen and elastin fibers necessary to promote the rapid growth of the skin.

This can lead to a lack of carrier material when stretching the skin and lead to a break in skin and epidermis, which can lead to the formation of scars in the form of stretch marks.

Treatments and removal

Like all scars, stretch marks are permanent, but their treatment can make them less visible. The treatment can also help to relieve the itching.

It’s important to understand that there is no magic treatment that works for everyone, and many products do not seem to work at all. This is what researchers have found for many stretch marks treatments.

Stretch Mark Creams, Lotions and Gels

Researchers have studied many of the creams, lotions and gels sold for the treatment of stretch marks. Although no product seems to help all the time, and some do not seem to help at all.

But wait, there is a good news.

The researchers found some useful tips.

If you want to try one of these creams, lotions or gels to remove stretch marks, make sure you:

  • Use the product on the early stage of stretch marks.
    The treatment seems to have little influence on older stretch marks.

  • Massage the product against stretch marks.
    Careful injection of the product into the skin can make it more effective.

  • Apply the product daily for several weeks.
    It may take weeks for any results to appear.

Home remedies

Unfortunately popular home remedies did not work or make any effect when used in researches. The researchers found that none of the stretch marks disappeared when people applied almond oil, cocoa butter, olive oil or vitamin E to their stretch marks.

Prescription medicine

According to studies, this two ingredients seem to offer some help:

  • Hyaluronic acid

  • Tretinoin

In a large study, the use of hyaluronic acid in the first stretch marks made stretch marks less noticeable.

Tretinoin is a retinoid that can make stretch marks less visible. In one study, people who used this prescription cream every night for 24 weeks had fewer visible stretch marks.

Those who did not apply the cream developed their first stretch marks. Other studies have found similar results.

Retinol, another type of retinoid, can also help to eliminate early stretch marks.

Procedures Used by Doctors

Dermatologists use the following procedures to make stretch marks less noticeable, but none of them can completely remove stretch marks:

  • Chemical peeling

  • Laser therapy

  • Microdermabrasion

  • Radio frequency

  • Ultrasound

For best results, your dermatologist can use various procedures. For example, your dermatologist can treat you with a radio frequency and a pulsed dye laser.

When treating stretch marks, side effects are always a possibility. But in the hands of a skilled and certified dermatologist, the side effects are usually temporary and minor.

Usually, redness and swelling occur after surgery. Redness and swelling disappear after a few hours or days.

A dermatologist can tell you if any of these treatments are right for you, considering your condition, age, and length of stretch marks.

Prevention

There is no high quality proof that there is anything that can help preventing stretch marks. However, this advice may help reducing the risks:

  • Control and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a balanced and nutrient-rich diet.
  • Include foods rich in vitamin C, D, as well as minerals and zinc in your diet.
  • Stray hydrated (drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day)
  • during pregnancy try to aim for slow and gradual weight gain.

Conclusion

Stretch marks often disappear and become less visible over time. Their prevention can be difficult and no product has been scientifically proven to give the desired effect.

Stretch marks are harmless and they post no health risk the treatment is for improving the self-image of the person.

There is always some best practice that will help decrease the risk of getting stretch marks. Controlling your weight, drink a lot of water, eating healthy, and treat stretch marks as soon as they appear can help.

Always check with your doctor before you use any creams or lotion especially if you are pregnant.