Stretch Marks – How Do They Appear and How to Get Rid of Them

stretch marks
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Stretch marks, also known as stria, are streaks that are set into your skin that can appear on various parts of the body. The marks are long and thin and can be unsightly depending on your complexion and how many marks you have. Chances are you want to know how to get rid of stretch mark due to their appearance. Fortunately, these marks aren’t a health risk so you won’t experience physical illness because of them. However, you may be self-conscious about your stretch marks when you wear certain outfits or swimsuits.

It’s important to remember that stretch marks are completely normal – about 80% of people in the US have them. It’s up to you whether you want to embrace yours or do something to conceal them. If you want to hide your stretch marks, you’ve probably heard about a lot of remedies for how to remove stretch marks. All of these methods are not effective and there are some myths about stretch marks that need to be debunked. Regardless of what you may see about stretch mark removal, there are no at-home natural treatments or professional procedures that will completely get rid of your marks. While this is probably not what you want to hear, there are some methods you can use that will cause your marks to fade over time.

Causes and Risk Factors

Even though there isn’t really a stretch marks cure, you should be aware of the causes and risk factors for this marks so you can prevent more stria from developing on your body. Stretch marks occur when your body starts growing rapidly and your skin can’t stretch fast enough to keep up with the growth.

Collagen, the protein that gives your skin an elastic quality, may be deficient in your body which can lead to stretch marks. As we age, our bodies naturally produce less collagen which may make you more prone to them as you get older.

If you gain weight quickly, have growth spurts during puberty, or have a significant amount of stretched skin as a result of pregnancy, you are more likely to develop stretch marks. Again, this is normal, especially during puberty and pregnancy and you can manage these marks with a healthy skincare routine if you are trying to get rid of them permanently.

Other circumstances, such as breast implant surgery, taking how amounts of steroids from medications or to treat conditions like Cushing’s disease, and bodybuilding can also lead to stretch marks. A rare condition called Marfan syndrome, which is genetic and leads to weakened skin fibers, can increase the chances of stretch marks as well. You may also experience stria if you suffer from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which is a group of health conditions that come from your body’s genetic changes that leads to a decrease in collagen levels.

It is also important to remember that these marks are hereditary, so if one of your closet family members has stria, there’s a good chance you’ll have them at some point in your life as well.

Symptoms

New stretch marks may itch and feel slightly raised against your skin. The marks also develop in different colors can be red, pink, or a purplish-blue. Over time, the marks will pale in color and become thinner which will make them less noticeable.

Stretch marks can develop on various parts of the body, including the arms, breast, back, buttocks, stomach, torso and hips.

Diagnosis

While there may be no remedy for permanently removing stretch marks, you can get rid of them once you get a diagnosis from your doctor. If you’ve been taking topical or oral steroids for months or years, you may have high cortisol levels in your blood, which can lead to such marks.

Home Treatments

There are several medical treatments and home solutions that are available to treat stretch marks. Some are more effective than others.

A plastic surgeon or skin doctor can use laser therapy to help fade stretch marks and prompt your skin to produce more collagen. Some laser therapy includes targeted UVB light that will reverse pigment issues caused by stretch marks. You’ll likely need about five laser treatments to see significant results. For many individuals, laser therapy are more effective than tretinoin or glycolic acid which are applied topically.

Microdermabrasion is another method you want to consider to rid your body of stretch marks. During this process, the medical spa specialist will use very small crystals to slough off the top layer of the skin. This can fade stretch marks and strengthen the rests of the skin. You can also ask your dermatologist about a chemical peel that will gently burn the top layer of your skin to remove damaged cells and boost the growth of new skin cells. This can improve the appearance of your stretch marks but won’t get rid of the stria completely.

In some cases, you may want to ask your cosmetic surgeon about a tummy tuck to remove the skin on your body that has been affected by stretch marks. However, you could have scar tissue after your surgery and the procedure may require more down time than you prefer.

Radiofrequency is another option. Radio wave energy is used to create heat and prompt your body to start making more collagen. One study concerning this treatment reveals that radiofrequency is safe and does improve the look of stretch marks, but scientists still need to do more research concerning this therapy. Ultrasound, which is similar to radiofrequency, will also send sound waves into the deepest layers of your skin to tighten and heat the skin while encouraging the cells to produce more collagen.

When it comes to home remedies, you can use self tanner or body makeup to hid your marks; however, these products don’t eliminate stretch marks. This remedy is ideal if you want to feel more comfortable in photos or if you’re spending time poolside or at the beach.

You can also talk to your dermatologist about topical options like tretinoin which can encourage the production of collagen and fade stretch marks, particularly if the marks are fairly new. StriVectin-SD, which is a topical collagen booster, can also make stretch marks less obvious.

Natural treatments like olive oil, vitamin E oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, and bitter almond oil can also effectively create stretch marks. You can massage your skin with these ingredients to condition your skin cells and lock moisture in, which keeps new marks from forming. However, some studies reveal that while these oils are beneficial for the skin and can heal skin injuries, they may not work to eliminate stretch marks for everyone.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to use these home remedies for several weeks before you see significant results. If you’ve been trying these serums or oils for months and don’t see a difference in your skin, you may want to talk to your dermatologist about more intense treatments.

Prevention

It is possible or you to keep stretch marks from forming on your skin, but there is no guarantee that the remedies and treatments you use will work. The most effective way to lower the chances of getting stretch marks is to maintain a healthy weight, even while you’re pregnant. You can speak with your doctor about a diet and exercise plan that will help you stay healthy and lower the chances of putting on excess pounds.

You can also use products that contain hyaluronic acid and centella to keep them from forming on your skin.

For more skin-care oriented stories on SEEMA.com, check out The Benefits of an Anti-Aging Regimen