Stretch marks, as the name suggests, are crack like lines that form on the skin. When skin is tight or lagging, the weight or pressure causes it to stretch further than it should. The connective tissue becomes damaged, and small tears form the lines we are referring to.
Who do Stretch Marks Affect?
Men and women both suffer from them, and most women get some after pregnancy. The most common reason for stretch marks appearing is after a person either loses weight or puts weight on over a short time. As all women do this when pregnant, a high percentage will have them. The areas affected most often are the breasts, hips, arms, thighs and abdomen.
Many people who have them become ashamed of their bodies. They are reluctant to wear swimmers or anything that reveals the lines. The problem with stretch marks is that you usually don't know they are forming until it's too late, and you suddenly have them.
Hormones can also affect the likelihood of stretch marks. This is why some teenagers will discover them during puberty, especially if their weight has fluctuated. Certain pharmaceuticals can contribute as well, such as steroids or the pill, bad diet or anxiety disorders.
Over the Counter Products
You can purchase any number of products for helping with your problem. Some stretch marks are light in color and easier to treat, where others can be pink, red or even purple and very raised and lumpy. The latter is much harder to repair, so do your research before handing over a fortune. There are people who swear by some of the brands on the market today, and some are guaranteed to at least make them fade. There are also excellent creams to maintain skin elasticity for preventing them in the first place. Avoid caffeine and keep up the water intake, ensuring you drink at least eight glasses a day. You need a diet full of adequate vitamins and minerals, and exercise regularly to keep your skin toned. If you want to lose weight, you are better off doing it gradually.
If you treat your stretch marks sooner rather than later, your chances of success are much higher. There are creams, beauty treatments, scrubs and laser therapy which all have their fans.
Retin-A is one that can be used on darker lines with positive results, as long as they haven't been there for more than twelve months. There is also microderm abrasion, but it can hurt and is expensive.
Although Lasers are very efficient, you can spend thousands on treatments and they can be such agony some people need anesthesia to get through.
There really are no guaranteed treatments for stretch marks. With the right product used the right way, along with diet, exercise and hydration, you should be able to make them fade. With so many people hiding theirs, you certainly shouldn't be ashamed. They are a natural part of life, so look at them more like signs of experience and maturity.
Do Treatments Work?
You can purchase any number of products for helping with your stretch mark problem. Some are light in color and easier to treat, where others can be pink, red or even purple and very raised and lumpy. The latter is much harder to repair, and laser treatment may be the only option.
There are people who swear by some of the treatments on the market, and some are guaranteed to at least make them fade. There are also excellent creams to maintain skin elasticity for preventing them in the first place.
People who drop pounds rapidly or vice versa will often get stretch marks. These marks are like cracks made from scar tissue, and are actually signs of the connective skin tissue having been damaged. There are many treatments on the market you can try, some more affordable than others.
Ways to Get Rid of Stretch Marks
If you are tired of the unsightly stretch marks on your body and ready to do something about them, you will want to know all your treatment options. Some stretch mark treatment choices are much better than others and certain treatments can pose significant risks. Some scenarios can help you with new marks but are ineffective for old ones. Others can help with both. You've come to the right place for information. Learn about treatments such as: surgery, laser treatment, dermabrasion, creams and chemical peels.
Surgery is something that's not typically done for removal of stretch marks. Surgery that would involve removing the skin that's covered with stretch marks could result in scarring from incisions which could be considered worse than the stretch marks themselves. It's for this reason that typical plastic surgery treatments are generally not used for stretchmarks.
This procedure involves removing layers of skin to get the skin to regenerate.
Healing generally takes place as early as 7-10 days. The pinkish tone of the newly formed skin changes into the normal skin color within a short span of time.
You can usually resume normal activities within seven to 14 days of the treatment
Resume cosmetics use as soon as the basic healing has occurred.
Temporary (or possibly permanent) changes in skin color
Possible darkening of the skin
Possible Formation of scars
Potential for infection
Chemical peels, also known as chemexfoliation or derma-peeling can improve the appearance of the skin by application of a chemical solution that causes blisters to occur that are eventually peeled off.
This treatment option includes the use of chemicals like glycolic, trichloroacetic, salicylic, lactic or carbolic acid that are applied and result in controlled wounds that later result in regenerated skin.
Chemical peels can be customised so they enable the patient to work with the doctor to decide on the depth of the chemical peels required.
Potential disadvantages can include:
Temporary or permanent color change in the skin
Possibility of abnormal pigmentation if the patient consumes birth control pills or has a family history of brownish discoloration on the face
Risks of scarring on areas of the face, usually in individuals highly prone to scarring
Risks of reactivation of cold sores in patients with a history of herpes outbreaks
Laser therapy has often been perceived as the best way (although the most expensive way) to remove stretch marks. This method can be used on deeper and older stretch marks in addition to newer marks. Laser treatment includes removing, vaporizing, and breaking down the skin's tissues. Successful laser surgery depends on the result of a series of treatments over several weeks.
Usually, an average of six to eight treatment sessions of laser therapy is required for the desired results to be visible.
Laser therapy often results in permanent changes. It is often viewed as one of the most effective treatment options for stretch marks.
The most prominent drawback of laser therapy is the high level of expense involved in the treatment. With each session costing about $600-$700, the cost of the whole treatment could go well beyond $5,000.
Lotions and Creams
Lotions and creams for the purpose of treatment of stretch marks are designed to perform a highly effective three-pronged action, including:
Treatment of new stretch marks
Smoothening of old rough stretch marks
Cortisone creams are available and can work the best on mild stretch marks, while also leading to an improvement in the appearance of the deeper stretch marks.
Vitamin E is one of the most effective ingredients of a good stretchmark cream, helping in the nourishment of the skin. An effective stretch mark cream has a number of ingredients that work in cohesion to produce the desired effects. These include the actions and ingredients such as:
Physical break down of superficial scarring
Moisturizing enhancers and collagen synthesis boosters
Cell communicating ingredients
Enzymes to dissolve damaged cells and scar proteins
Skin regenerating activators
A good quality, result-oriented stretch mark cream basically works to smooth out the skin, blend the pigmentation back together, help the redness or silvery white appearance and overall, help to bring the skin back together.
Extremely convenient and easy to use
Allows privacy of use
High possibility of positive results
Many marketed products are ineffective in treating old stretch marks
Not advisable to be used in pregnancy or lactating stage
Possible discoloration of the affected area
Not all stretch mark creams are created equally so it can involve trial and error.
Which Option is Best for You?
Only you can decide which option is the best based on your situation. Laser treatment and creams seem the best possible solution for the average person. Because not everyone can afford laser treatment, using an effective stretch mark cream with a solid reputation for positive results is a wise decision that can have great results.