Stretch marks are lines or streaks that appear on an overstretched skin surface. They are usually placed at perpendicular angles in reference to the tension lines of the skin and are most prevalent on the thighs, lower torso and the groin region even though some cases have occurred on the armpits and the chest skins. They result from a sudden overstretched skin and manifest themselves in the skin’s epidermal layer. This form of skin deformation is a common occurrence and it affects both genders although it’s most common amongst the female fraternity.
Facts about stretch marks
Prevalence of stretch marks is dependent on factors inclusive of ethnicity of the individual, age as well as gender. The rate at which stretch marks is developed at an adolescent stage is relatively higher in ladies as compared to gents. The reason for this variation is the pregnancy and rapid weight gain that is attributed with it apart from specific forms of treatment or medication that also seem to accelerate the process.
Common Causes of stretch marks
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy the female body produces certain types of hormones that make the pelvic ligaments soft to enhance their flexibility apart from softening the fibers of the skin. This increases the risk of developing stretch marks especially in the abdomen region where the baby is developing. The breast region is also susceptible as it develops and expands in preparation for lactation for the unborn infant. It is also during pregnancy that the upcoming mother gains weight, a condition that causes the skin to stretch even further.
- Weight gain: Sudden increase in weight can also cause the development of stretch marks for instance during pregnancy, weight lifting or body building by professional athletes or by the use of weight gaining supplements that facilitate rapid gain of body mass. This is because the weight is added over a relatively short period of time that does not give the skin enough time to adjust.
- Adolescence: In males, they are most prevalent in the back and shoulder areas where as in females they are dominant in their lower body parts and the breast region. They are mostly caused by intense growth patterns that occur during puberty.
- Skin medications and creams: Excessive and unmonitored use of certain creams meant to treat skin conditions such as eczema can accelerate the skin condition by reducing the level of collagen in the skins surface thus causing the skin to thin out. Corticosteroid lotions are the most common sources of this skin condition.
- Hereditary Medical conditions: Marfan syndrome is a certain type of sickness that weakens and reduces the elasticity of the body’s group of cells. Overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol leads to rapid gain of weight in the abdomen region causing scars to form, a condition mostly associated with the Cushing syndrome.
- Signs and Symptoms: Prior to their occurrence the skins surface appears to be pink or reddish and occasionally irritates. The lines or streaks of different shades appear as wrinkles of the same hue as the skin but a lot darker in terms of reddishness or pinkish subject to the skin’s tone. These lines eventually diminish over time, a duration that extends to years.
How to remove stretch marks
Lotions and other forms of cosmetic skin correction procedures have over time been used to correct this form of skin deformity but their efficiency has been questioned. Even though these marks fade over a course of time, which is usually too long for certain people who prefer alternative approaches. The following are some of the most effective ways to deal with stretch marks;
- Laser treatment- the use of lasers can safely remove the stretch marks patterns on its early and later stages. This treatment is dependent on the type of skin of the individual seeking treatment.
- Retin-A creams- this is a retinoic acid that facilitates efficient production of the skin collagen responsible for the stretching attribute of the skin thus eliminating the chances of tears developing. However it’s important to limit the exposure to the sun when using this form of cream since it’s more susceptible to sun burn.
- Vitamin E creams- this is a very useful remedy especially amongst women who are expectant for the second or more times afterwards. This oil increases the elasticity of the skin in general and works even better if combined with other lotions.
- Castor Oil- this oil is used in the treatment of many skin problems such as moles and pimples inclusive of stretch marks.
- Egg white- applying egg white to the affected area helps to get rid of the aftermath effects of stretch marks. This is because the egg is a protein and the egg white contains amino acids useful for skin development.
- Lemon juice- application of lemon juice to the affected skin surface diminishes the dark marks in the skin. This is due to the fact that this juice natural acidic nature help reduce dark scars and spots on the skin surface.
- Surgical correction- abdominoplasty or in simple term tummy tuck is the surgical extraction of excess flesh from the lower torso primarily for beauty reasons. It can also be used to remove stretch marks for those who want quick solutions. This process is fairly expensive and should only be an option for those who cannot only afford it but are willing to accept the risk that come with it.
In a nutshell, stretch marks cannot completely be prevented but a good and healthy diet can do the trick towards reducing its chances of occurring. This is inclusive of a balanced diet rich with vitamins A and vitamin C and minerals that facilitate healthy skin development specifically silicon and zinc not to mention plenty of water. For medicated forms of treatment consult a professional dermatologist for guidance.