- WHAT ARE STRETCH MARKS?
- What causes stretch marks?
- HOW TO PREVENT FROM DEVELOPENING STRETCH MARKS?
- HOW TO TREAT STRETCH MARKS?
- LESSER-KNOWN FACTS ON STRETCH MARKS:
- CONCLUDING STATEMENT
“We forget that stretch marks, cellulite, and some stomach fat is natural. We forget that we are born human and physically can’t be perfect. We forget that God doesn’t make us out of plastic and silicone. We forget to be flawed.”
Although stretch marks are very common, I am sure this word might just develop a terror within you, and all that you can think is why, how, did it happen and when can you get rid of it.
Thus, we are here with stretch marks, all things you need to know about it. Although stretch marks are not something that everyone talks about that openly, I know that little voice in you might have always wondered about it at higher levels.
Curious aren’t you by now?
We would be bringing to you with all the known facts and details on what are stretch marks and all you need to know about it.
Behind every scar on your body comes a story that can be painful or pure bliss. Along with it comes concern and regret.
One might find those scars stamped on their body as shame or something to get rid of, but you need to start loving yourself along with the entire flaw that comes with it. It’s ok to have marks on your body.
Let’s work on it together.
Even though stretch marks has not relation to your overall health or an issue to be too much concerned about, it isn’t that good to look at as well, as I said every mark on your body has a story to tell, so does stretch marks.
In this article, we will explore all the things we need to know about stretch marks, which primarily consists of
- What are stretch marks?
- What causes stretch marks?
- Can you prevent stretch marks?
- How to treat them: medical and home remedies
- Facts on Stretch marks
- Concluding statement
WHAT ARE STRETCH MARKS?
If you have ever looked at the mirror and found yourself turning into a tiger or in simple words found streaks of pinkish or white lines developing on your body, then what you are looking at are “STRETCH MARKS”.
Stretch marks also known as Striae gravidarum (SG), Striae distensae (SD) in the medical field are marks that develop as streaks on your body due to various changes in the shape of your body.
Almost 70% of the population has encountered it in their lifetime.
Their medical relevance isn’t that much well known as they are not medically a cause of threat and risk; thus, they are not well studied on as well.
Stretch marks, its treatment, and prevention are being looked upon and worked on in recent days. Due to the interest of people to look better and due to their concerns regarding the look of their body.
How do they appear?
There are different ways a stretch mark can appear on your body. A typical stretch mark looks ropy in nature with discoloration as compared to your body.
They can be broad or thin in appearance and can be red, purple, or even blueish in colour. Sometimes the colour depends on the maturity level of the stretch mark, but it can vary from person to person, so what your stretch mark might look like might not be the same as what I have, but they are all the same.
Usually, if they are premature or newly developed, then it might appear reddish due to the recent tear on your cells, thus the accumulation of redness, as time passes, it starts to change its colour.
Symptoms of stretch marks
- Itchy skin
- Thinning of skin
- Discoloration of skin in the affected area
- Irritated skin
What causes stretch marks?
No reports have yet claimed as proper reasoning behind the cause of stretch mark. Thus, what actually causes is entirely not known.
In fact, some studies claim that stretch marks are something that can be caused without you actually doing anything; thus, it also becomes quite difficult to prevent it from happening.
Having said so, there are trends that have been followed to understand it better, and it has been observed that it happens due to the continuous, irregular fluctuations in your body. Our body cells cannot resume back to its usual being after an intense growth.
The science behind stretch marks
It is a type of response of our own body upon stretching. Some studies have claimed the relation of the stretch mark with certain hormones such as cortisol.
Extreme condition of stretch, marks might take place if the levels of cortisol increase because cortisol is said to have adverse effects on skin cells like elastic fibers in the skin. Cushing syndrome is one of the disorders due to exposure to high cortisol and causes extreme conditions of stretch marks on the surface.
Cortisol/cortisone are hormones produced by adrenal glands and causes the skin to lose its elasticity.
Our skin is mainly divided into layers of the cell, which are called as epidermis (top layer), Dermis (middle layer) and hypodermis (bottom layer).
These layers of our skin have protein compounds called elastin and collagen that keep the skin together, and they are the compounds that allow the skin to stretch.
Stretch marks mainly occur in the dermis layer when the ability of the skin to pull is exhausted.
When our body expands due to some reason, these cells expand and can cause a tear in the under layer and the deeper layer. Thus, this layer due to tear show through the top layer.
Now that we have known what the reason behind stretch mark might be, that being the growth of skin or stretching of the skin, we can see the common causes of stretching of the skin.
Possible reasons for their appearance
Pregnancy is the most common cause of developing stretch marks.
By the second trimester, you might start noticing the change in your body, apart from the obvious changes come the stretch marks on its way. As your body undergoes remarkable changes, it causes tear in the skin, which later develops as scars.
The best possible way to avoid is to start to treat them as soon as you see them coming, it’s more natural to treat them when they are new.
If you are the one who is trying to get rid of the stretch marks after your baby has arrived, then hold onto them though as we have a detailed view on how you can do so in the content below, so keep reading.
DEVELOPING BODY (DURING PUBERTY)
By now, you might have got the drill as to what actually causes stretch marks, any extreme changes make it appear.
Puberty is the time of your life where we start growing fat and muscles due to the influence of certain hormones in our body, and this development is quite essential for your life, so you cannot just stop the process.
These changes in our body cause the development of stretch marks.
SIDE EFFECTS OF SOME HEALTH ISSUE (e.g. CUSHION SYNDROME)
Sometimes the stretch marks are due to the side effects of some disorder or even due to some medication as discussed above the Cushion syndrome, which was also due to the over exposer of a hormone.
Where the amount of a particular hormone influences the production of elastin and collagen negatively, thus leading to stretch marks.
In the process of bodybuilding, we make our body undergo drastic changes, especially the swelling up of the muscles, and its formation may be one of the causes of stretch marks.
WEIGHT GAIN OR WEIGHT LOSS
The gain of weight and losing it causes unwanted changes in the cells of the skin, and it becomes quite difficult for the cells to go back to their original structure once destroyed and distorted.
Thus, it can happen on both the case, i.e. If you gain weight then obviously due to the swelling up of the body, elasticity is lost, and marks are formed, whereas in case if you lose weight then since you have already caused damage to some of the cells in your body, it becomes hard for them to recover.
HOW TO PREVENT FROM DEVELOPENING STRETCH MARKS?
As mentioned earlier, the exact cause of stretch mark is quite unclear; thus, the prevention of something that might not have any reason is quite impossible.
Some treatments can be taken, but that is something you can do only once you already got it; thus, treatment, after it has occurred, is possible to some extent. Although few remedies have claimed to be useless.
However, products like Centella (a herb) and Hyaluronic acids (produced in our body) have been studied to prevent stretch marks .
Thus, as such, the prevention of stretch marks are not entirely possible, even if start using products claiming to do so. Having said so, one can always try to keep themselves healthy and fit.
There are a few things you can keep in mind to prevent stretch marks.
- Controlling your weight
- Healthy diet/ Balanced diet
- Introduction of Vitamins in your diet
- Start treating stretch marks when they are new and raw.
Where do you get stretch marks ?
In general, stretch marks are not specific to hangout in a particularly part of your body, it can happen anywhere, although there chances to appear on certain parts are more than the others are.
But you can’t possibly get stretch marks on your face, feet or hands, but almost anywhere else.
Logically speaking, stretch marks usually tend to appear on the areas of your body that accumulate more fat cells, cause building up of fat cells causes a tendency of stress in that particular area of the skin, thus making it more prone to develop marks.
Some of the most common places to develop stretch marks are:
- The lower abdominal area
- Hips and Buttocks
- Inner and outer thigh
Even though it is hard to get rid of stretch marks on specific areas like butt and thighs, but eventually with time, you can notice the are fade away, losing their pigmentation.
HOW TO TREAT STRETCH MARKS?
As stated above, stretch marks have stages in its development, in the very beginning, when it starts to be visible, you should start the treatment without delay. Once it matures and remains in your boy for a more extended period, the chance of getting rid of them becomes more difficult.
If you are expecting some miracle that can treat the marks, then you are in the wrong notion cause treating stretch marks thoroughly or getting rid of them forever is not possible, the maximum what we can do is make them less visible.
However, some treatments have been claimed by many people to work for them, the treatments available are focused on the issue of elastin and collagen production, as they play an essential role in causing stretch marks.
we shall dive into those remedies one by in details.
The use of natural products for any treatment are preferred over chemical-based therapies, due to their effectiveness and less harmful nature.
Thus, people like us always keep on focusing and looking out for homemade or natural remedies.
There are controversial statements regarding the effectiveness of cocoa for stretch marks, but its properties are overall good for the skin; thus, let’s know a bit more.
There have been studies on this ingredient related to stretch marks. It is said to help in repairing the skin cells. It is a plant-based fat, derived from the cocoa tree.
Cocoa butter not only helps the body to repair the stretch-marked area but also helps in nourishing the skin at the same time. They are said to be used by applying them directly to the required field, sometimes along with Vitamin E capsules.
The fact that cocoa butter itself has several beneficial vitamins like Vitamin A and E makes it more in demand.
APPLICATION- Melt the butter on low flame for a minute or two and then directly apply on the affected area by rubbing it gently on the skin until it gets absorbed naturally.
OLIVE OIL OR COCONUT OIL
Oil has many vitamins and minerals that can help heal the process of removal of the stretch marks. Both olive and coconut oil are effective in their way.
Studies have shown its beneficial effects of both olive and coconut oil on the skin in general, it has healing properties, and its ability to work fast makes it more applicable.
APPLICATION– Directly apply the required amount on your effected are at least twice in a day, preferably after bath.
Sugar is very often used as a natural exfoliator for better skin. There are methods called microdermabrasion. It works on the principle of blowing crystals onto the skin.
The crystals are responsible for removing the dead skin on your body or face, thus allowing new skins to grow with newer elastin and collagens.
Microdermabrasion is a well-equipped process, it is done in a dermatological lab but nowadays sugar being crystal in nature, are used instead of an expensive treatment.
Although the application of sugar are wide in the health and skin care regime, but there are no evidence of them helping in with the reduction of scars like stretch marks.
APPLICATION– About one cup of sugar (preferably brown sugar) is taken, to this add 2 spoons of each castor oil, olive oil and coconut oil (using any one of these oils can also work) and add few drops of lemon.
Mix the ingredients and apply on the stretch marks directly, it acts as a scrub thus can be harsh on your skin, rub it initially for 5-10 mins at least two times a week. Use it before taking a shower.
Aloe vera has been clinically approved as a cure for removing stretch marks. Its use in general skincare routines is vast in nature.
They have the capacity to make your skin look clean, fresh, and naturally soft. The presence of compounds like gibberellin and glucomannan potentially increases the production of collagen in the skin.
APPLICATION– You can take pure aloe Vera direct peeling from the leaf, or you can use aloe vera gel to use in this remedies, aloe Vera+ vitamin E capsule+ apply on marks.
Two times a day, after taking a shower or apply anytime but keep it for 2-3 hours after applying.
Essential oils are extracted from various plants that are mostly medicinal in nature. It is in the concentrated form and are highly beneficial for various dermatological problems related to face health or skin.
Essential oils they have been highly in demand for most of the skincare problems are:
- Lavender oil
- Frankincense oil
- Tea tree oil
- Rosehip oil
APPLICATION– Since they are available in concentrated form, thus must be diluted with some other oil or ingredients to apply directly on the skin.
Some people might be allergic to some oil, so a patch test is suggested.
Around 15-20 drops of the essential oil have to be mixed with some other carrier oil (e.g. coconut, almond oil). Alternatively, it can also be used along with the other remedies mentioned above. Apply it directly on the skin by massaging it gently onto the mark.
MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR STRETCH MARKS
There are expensive methods that one can follow, although not all methods are costly, in comparison, to each other. Their efficiency is higher than some of the home remedies.
Having said so, it is always recommend consulting someone knowledgeable who deal with this subject, you can always go to your doctor to get a better understating about the treatments.
- Use of creams like retinoid
- Laser therapies
- Hyaluronic acid
- Vitamin A and E tablets
Most of the creams available in the market for stretch marks depends on their property to form elastin and collagen, like retinol, are the one that helps in promoting the production of collagen.
Laser treatments also aim in stimulating the production of collagen and elastin using light as a treatment.
Pregnant women are suggested to consult a doctor before using any of the remedies as some compounds may cause harm to your child. Thus hearing out the possibilities of each treatments, the do’s and don’t’s are really important and significant for your health.
LESSER-KNOWN FACTS ON STRETCH MARKS:
- Both the sexes are affected by stretch marks, although women are more prone to it than men are.
- Around 70-80% of the women who get stretch marks are due to pregnancy.
- Most Boys, in general, develop stretch marks during their developmental period.
- Genetics also plays a vital role in developing stretch marks.
- A skinny person can also get stretch marks, and it is not based on size all the time.
Although the commonness and vastness about stretch marks and its causes and prevention are there, it does not make one think less about it. Even though stretch marks are not something to be much worried about as its harmless, but its unappealing nature makes you wanna get rid of it. People tend to take it as a personal problem, which is not necessary. So stop bothering yourself if the stretch marks are not going away even with the remedies and treatments mentioned in the article, because eventually, it fades with time, it is not necessary to keep working on it, unless you want it gone badly.
One thing to keep in mind is none of the remedies can work if you are not keeping yourself fit, healthy and hydrated. Thus follow the simple rule of fitness, and you might be lucky enough never to encounter those marks or even get rid of those.
Frequently asked questions
Are stretch marks a permanent scar?
No, stretch marks are like any other scar that takes its sweet little time to heal and fade away. Nevertheless, there are cases where they become permanent, as its time to recover is long.
What are the fastest ways to get rid of it?
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to get rid of stretch marks; in fact, the complete removal of stretch marks is not possible. However, if you want to get free of it few remedies have been mentioned in this article you can follow those.
How long does it take a stretch mark to fade?
There is no specific period for it to fade; there is a high chance of it not working at all, but that really fine, as it’s not as much of a big deal. Having said so if the stretch mark is new and you start taking care then it might take a few months to fade it, but the more mature marks take a longer time to recover.
Are there any side effects of stretch marks?
There are no evidence of it causing any effect on one’s health, it’s comparable to a scar. It is mainly due to the loss of elasticity in the skin and cause of micro tear due to a drastic change in your body.
The only side effect you might consider is its appearance, which might be a cause of concern for some people.
Does stretch marks appear after losing weight?
Yes, stretch marks can be caused due to weight loss, due to the fluctuating body shape and skin change, it can result in the development of stretch marks.
How to prevent stretch marks while losing weight?
Prevention is better than cure; thus if you follow all proper healthy diet, keep yourself hydrated all the time, and keep your skin moisturized (using the treatments used in the article) then you are good to go.
Does stretch marks have any effect on health?
No, no reports have ever shown its relationship with our health, unless due to the side effects of a particular hormone or medication like cushions syndrome.