With beach season upon us, many people are being proactive about looking their best and staying healthy. One major concern people have about their bodies is visible stretch marks. While stretch marks are common and pose no real harm, they are unsightly and bothersome. In this article, we’ll explain what a stretch mark is, and detail ways to prevent and get rid of them.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks, or striae, are indented marks that form on your body when your skin goes through a sudden growth or stretching. There are typically two types of stretch marks:
- Red stretch marks, or striae rubra, occur when the skin stretches to the point that red blood vessels show through your skin.
- White stretch marks, or striae alba, are when the red blood vessels have receded. While these marks lack the crimson shade of striae rubra, white stretch marks are usually more established than their red counterparts.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Anytime your skin can’t keep up with a body change, stretch marks occur. Stretch marks are most common for anyone who experiences sudden weight gain or pregnancy. In fact, 90 percent of pregnant women receive stretch marks at some point during their pregnancy. Other causes for stretch marks include sudden growth during puberty, rapid muscle growth, and genetic makeup. People who take corticosteroid medications are at an increased risk for stretch marks, as are people who suffer from Cushing’s syndrome and other gland disorders.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks
It’s easier to prevent stretch marks than having to get rid of them once they appear. Here are several options to help prevent the appearance of stretch marks.
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking lots of water is great for your skin. Providing your skin with plenty of moisture can stop unsightly marks from appearing.
- Exercise: A regular exercise regime will help you maintain your weight, and prevent any sudden weight gains from occurring. If you avoid a sudden weight change, you are less likely to get stretch marks.
- Eat Healthily: Like exercise, maintaining a healthy diet will prevent your body from sudden weight gain. Eating healthy also provides you with proper nutrients and vitamins to promote healthy skin. Vitamins C and E, for example, help your skin maintain elasticity, thereby preventing stretch marks.
- Moisturize: Moisturizing is a great way to prevent stretch marks. Cocoa butter and shea butter are commonly used during pregnancies to reduce stretch marks. You can also try different oil treatments, like coconut oil or essential oils, to help stop marks from showing up.
How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks
While stretch marks are tough to remove completely, they will naturally fade and reduce in color over time. However, for those eager to get rid of stretch marks right away, here are some options to help remove your marks.
At Home Remedies
- Stay Hydrated (again): Not only is hydration important for preventing stretch marks, it is also critical in reducing the appearance of your existing marks. Keeping your skin hydrated decreases inflammation and redness, which will tone down the appearance of your marks.
- Castor Oil: Castor oil is a popular natural remedy for skin issues like fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and stretch marks.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera, popularly used to treat sunburns, has natural anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
- Lemon Juice: Applying lemon juice to stretch marks is another natural remedy that can lighten your marks. Lemon itself has whitening properties, and the high levels of vitamin C in the fruit will add more collagen to your skin. More collagen means higher skin elasticity, which reduces the appearance of stretch marks.
Other Treatment Options
- Retinoid Creams: Topical treatments like tretinoin are made specifically to increase your skin’s collagen production. Note: tretinoin should not be used by anyone who is pregnant.
- Laser Treatment: Another way to reduce your stretch marks is through laser surgery. Some laser treatments work to reduce redness and inflammation of the skin, others are designed to raise your collagen and elastin levels.
- Microdermabrasion: This treatment uses tiny crystals to promote new skin growth. Removing the top layer for newer, more elastic skin can reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
- Abdominoplasty: If you’re looking to get rid of lower stomach stretch marks, made by weight gain and pregnancy, abdominoplasty is a great option. Getting a tummy tuck removes excess fat and skin, thereby eliminating stretch marks in the process.
Dealing With Your Stretch Marks
Though stretch marks are unsightly, there’s no reason we have to put up with with them. If you’ve tried the home remedies listed in this article, but are still having trouble minimizing your stretch marks, contact Aesthetica for a consultation today!