Stretch marks are scars left behind when skin is overstretched, and fibers in the middle layer (dermis) have broken. They most often occur during pregnancy, bodybuilding, extreme weight gain, occasionally puberty and are usually found on the abdomen, breasts, buttocks, legs, and upper arms. Fresh stretch marks appear initially as red lines and then slowly fade to a pale white color over the course of several months. While it is possible to reduce and even eliminate the appearance of stretch marks, it is much easier to prevent them.
Stretch marks (striae) pink, red or purple streaks on the skin may occur where skin is rapidly stretched. Stretch marks are most often associated with rapid weight gain and pregnancy. Unfortunately, there are very few effective treatments for stretch marks. The actual cause of stretch marks has not yet been determined so far. A reduction in collagen level in the skin affects the structure of the skin and may lead to occurrence of stretch marks. The pink color that shows in the initial stages points to rupturing of the small blood vessels in the outer layers of your skin.
Before you contemplate splurging your hard-earned cash on the latest, most expensive creams or the newest advances in surgical procedures, there are some easy and helpful ways you can do in the comfort of your own home to treat stretch marks.
If your stretch marks are not too faded or are relatively new, try using a loofah or body brush while bathing or showering and gently scrub the affected areas. Doing so would loosen and remove the dead skin cells on the surface of the stretch marks, leaving the new skin in your natural color beneath it.
There are also countless oils and creams available over the counter which you could try. In some cases, these could help reduce the severity of your stretch marks. Remember though, that if you are expecting, it would be wise to ask your physician prior to starting the use of any oils and creams to get rid of stretch marks.
Prescription creams are also available for the treatment of stretch marks. These may be very successful on mild stretch marks and may improve the appearance of deeper stretch marks as well. Retin-A cream is commonly used to reduce the redness in new stretch marks and may help prevent prominent scarring. However, Retin-A can only be used on newer stretch marks that are still red or pink, typically less than one year old.
You may also opt to see your dermatologist to get an appropriate prescription cream such as Retin-A. A significant decrease in the size of stretch marks has been observed in patients who have participated in Retin-A studies.
However, Retin-A should not be used to get rid of stretch marks by pregnant or lactating women, as there have not been a sufficient number of studies done to prove it could not adversely affect an unborn child.
Laser surgery is by far the most definitive and permanent means of to get rid of stretch marks. Keep in mind that the type of laser to be used would largely depend on the coloration of your stretch marks.
There are certain expensive and difficult surgeries that will help to reduce the look of stretch marks. If they bother you that bad, then see a doctor about getting a microdermobrasion surgery to remove the marks. Laser surgery is also an effective way to fight the awful looking things. These are extreme measures only for those who are serious about getting rid of skin problems.
Generally, you should want to do something about your stretch marks because you want to and not because someone is pressuring you. If a lover or loved one is forcing you to do something about it, then consider a relationship change. It will be easier to get rid of that bum than it will be to get rid of the stretch marks.
Many skin care experts say that keeping the skin soft and supple, not to mention well hydrated, can help ward off stretch marks, so be sure to drink lots of water (which is good for your skin in general). If you already have stretch marks and would like a way to cover them up, then you can use regular body makeup or you can buy specially formulated creams that work to remove stretch marks but are also tinted to help make them less visible.