You might be wondering, where did I get these lines I see on my tummy or thighs? Are they going to end and what will I do? Well, there is something you need to know: Anyone can develop stretch marks so, it is a common thing rather than rare.
The sad part is that they affect women more than they unleash on men but that does not favor any gender. If you have stretch marks, then it will not matter, will it? The only thing that will be in your mind is how to get rid of stretch marks and prevent future occurrence.
They occur in different parts of the body, but the stomach, thighs, and butts are the primary victims here. The scary skin architecture has been a nightmare for many, and the purpose of this information is to give insights and various solutions. From this information, you will learn:
- What the are?
- How they come to be?
- Prevention Measures
- Diet Recommendations
- Available Treatment options
Are you with me? All right. Let’s get started.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Science tells us that they are also known as striae, striae atrophicans, striae gravidarum or striae distensae. Stretch marks are those scars, marks or disfiguring lesions that you see in the following places:
If you have them, then you know that they are harmless on your body. However, they deteriorate your look especially if you are looking forward to be a model someday or work in the cosmetics industry. That is why stretch marks will affect the daily living of some of us.
Before I take you further, here is what you need to know.[bsc_alert type=”info” dismissible=”false”]
Quick Facts To Grasp
- Stretch marks occur when the skin is quickly stretched. They appear as long, narrow stripes.
- Among the causes of stretch marks, pregnancy, puberty, and sudden weight gain are major starters.
- Though there are remedies to restore your skin’s glory, there is little medical evidence available to confirm the effectiveness of the current treatment methods.
Now that you have a glimpse of what stretch marks are, the next question is, how do they appear on your skin?
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Those ugly lines on your tummy or thighs appear when there is a sudden stretch of your skin. The rapid pulling results from growth which can be referred to as gaining or reducing weight.
Before we look at the mechanism of the marks formation, what are some of the common causes? Take a moment to check if any of the following is familiar to you:
- Puberty: If you are young, there is that potential of growing fast since that is what everyone expects. You included, right? The rapid growth can lead to stretch marks.
- Pregnancy: Almost all women (if not all) who conceive will get stretch marks at some point during the pregnancy period. Statistics depict that 50-90% of pregnant women will get them during and after birth
- Rapid weight gain: Adding weight from yo-yo feeding will stretch that skin to an elastic limit, and there will be marks to show.
- Corticosteroid use: It is the prolonged use that brings an issue to your skin. Lotions and creams containing corticosteroid have a habit of lowering skin collagen every time you apply. If you do not know, collagen is what makes the skin strong and sturdy so a reduction in the amount available means that you will be looking forward to having some stretch marks.
- Medical Conditions: We are all bound to get sick at some point, aren’t we? If you have experienced Cushing’s or Marfan syndrome, then there is a significant possibility of you developing the little lines. How do they contribute to stretch marks formation? Marfan can cause diminishing elasticity on the skin tissue while Cushing leads to over-production of hormones resulting in rapid weight gain and the skin becoming fragile.
How are stretch marks formed?
Before reading further watch this informative video:
For this part, bear with me as I explain the mechanism behind stretch marks formation. There will be some technical terms, but it is pretty simple. So, this is what happens.
Human skin has three crucial layers that form the surface. The middle layer is known as the dermis, and it is where the stretch marks form. Connective tissues stretch beyond the elastic limit, which is caused by sudden contraction and expansion.
An average body growth stretches the connecting fibers slowly so that they can go hand in hand with the increase. However, the rapid growth will pull that skin suddenly, and stretching occurs. The dermis tears as a result, and deeper layers of the skin become visible from the top layer.
So, what you see is the appearance of underneath skin layers, and it is what contributes to what you see on your tummy, thighs, and butts. Still with me? Okay, now imagine the damage caused and then think, why doesn’t the skin repair itself? Are these scars made from the stretching and tear?
To answer the questions, you can view them as scars, and yes, stretch marks heal to form them. How? They will later fade to build white, glossy or silvery lines because what is left is some pale fat beneath the top layer of your skin.
It gets devastating when you notice that they have been increasing. What happens is that if the circulating cortisone is high, the condition will move towards the extremes. The adrenal glands produce cortisol, which is a stress hormone that is converted to cortisone.
The final product is what compromises the elastic fibers of your skin.
What are some of the risks involved in contraction?
Have you ever thought of why you have the stretch marks in the first place? To get you updated, some risk factors are stretch marks related. On the other hand, the evidence of these dynamics will vary.
So, I think it is proper to say that there is a need for more confirmation on what brings the scary marks on our skin surface.
That does not mean we cannot link it to something like:
- BMI (Body Mass Index) before pregnancy
- Family History
- Chronic Diseases
- Child Birthweight in Pregnant Woman
Greater lengths of skin stretching can only be found and explained in oversize women with grown babies, and depreciating collagen levels with an associated weakening of connective tissue due to age advancement.
These are the conditions that will bring about the likelihood of tearing.
What causes stretch marks in women?
I am sorry if it hurts, but this is a fact: Ladies are the most affected. It might start from puberty, but the levels escalate when you get pregnant and after that.
Where do we start? You are pregnant, and due to baby growth and the tremendous changes in your body, you are a subject to excess hormones production and fatigue. Your skin is bound to stretch, stretch and stretch!
After giving birth, you feel great since the schedule is back to normal. Among the changes that you will see on your body, stretch marks will be there. That is why you need to take care of the stretch marks just like the way you take care of the little one.
Some say that you will get used to them after the second pregnancy, but they can get worse. The fast growth leaves stretch marks on the belly mostly and the breasts since it is also an overgrowing part due to pregnancy.
The other parts are also vulnerable. You will see reddish or purple signs at first and then they will advance to fade to white or gray. According to the experts, a healthy woman with healthy weight gain will experience an increase of between 25-35 pounds.
Gaining slowly and steadily is what we are after. So, when stretch marks generate, how you immerse weight is as important as how quickly it happens. Food for thought.
Who Acquires Stretch Marks?
The truth is, since the larger percentage of women have stretch marks during pregnancy and after, if you have them, then you are on the right track. They will appear between the 6th and 7th month of pregnancy.
Genes have a role to play too. Why? If your mother had the marks, then you will not escape the frying pan. Light skin women will get pink lines while darker ones get lighter stretch marks than their skin tone.
How can you prevent stretch marks when pregnant?
The following points are easy to achieve. Here are some of the options:
- Drink Lots of water
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Use Skin Moisturizers such as cocao butter
- Eat healthy diet
- Have some little excercising such as yoga, a short walk, swimming.
- Consider a plan to reliver your stress that comes with pregnancy
- Perform dry brushing to keep your skin healthy and improve fluid circulation.
How Stretch Marks Form In Men
Women are most affected, but that does not exclude the male perspective. Everyone faces the wrath. The funny part is that some men are immune to stretch marks. Hope I did not exaggerate.
However, they will sneak into your skin when you are unhealthy which will, in turn, cause an overproduction of corticosteroid. Also, apart from rapid growth and weight gain, those of us training their bodies at the gym or something similar will develop the stretches due to rapid changes in our bodies.
They are harmless but keep in mind that the medical condition causing it is not. Having an issue with diabetes, and Cushing’s disease brings a higher probability of developing stretch marks. So, if you have not yet gained weight but the lines are there, visit a doctor as soon as possible so that you can rule out any health complications.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks in Men
There is one problem here. Once you get a stretch mark, it will be tough to erase. That means you need to prevent them from occurring in the first place. For the man’s world, this is what you can do as a way of keeping an eye:
Check Your weight gain or loss
Are you working to gain your muscle or shed off some fat? The principle here is to do it slowly. To keep a healthy reduction or addition, 1-2 pounds in a week. Any higher value than that is risking the chances of a rapid skin stretch.
Use a good Moisturise
Seek for a moisturizer with vitamin A and hyaluronic acid to maintain the appropriate moisture levels in your skin. It is crucial that you get used to it if you do not want your skin to strain as it stretches. If you do it once or twice in a day, that is an ideal solution.
Consider some antioxidants such as vitamin A and E which are much needed by the skin for it to look healthy. Make sure your meal has fruits and vegetables.
Another thing, take care of your skin by having a men’s multivitamin to take care of your skin as a whole. They will also help your body in recovering and staying strong.
Aging also agitates stretch marks development. To fight the signs, go for an antioxidant supplement.
What Causes Stretch Marks In Teengers
Are you undergoing puberty? This is the earliest stage that you will start noticing stretch marks formation. During the teen’s decade, boys and girls will be experiencing the fastest growth in their lives which means that there is frequent and sudden skin pulls from time to time.
They grow to undergo various body changes, and its surface cover cannot keep up with the rapid expansion. If you did not know, this is probably the first time a stretch made its mark on your skin.
Statistics show that up to 70% of the girls arriving in teenage will develop some stretch marks in the course of growth during the period. Remember that family history has a role to play here. That is why some girls will experience the skin ‘drawings’ more than others.
If you know that your older sister or mother has developed stretch marks at some point in life, then you are the next one to exercise the remedy.
How can you prevent stretch marks as teenager
If you do not want them to appear in the first place, consider the following options:
Go Veggie! Avoid the fries and other junk. Consider having fruits and whole grains. As the body grows, which is fast, the foods taken will help fight stretch marks occurrence.
Hydration is the key
What do I mean? Stay hydrated during the teenhood by taking about 6-8 glasses of water in a day on a regular basis. Apart from stretching prohibition, your skin remains plump and glowing.
You are eating a lot, and the body is increasing in mass at a fast rate. To counter the weight gain which is straining your skin, go for a run or an exercise you love doing.
Those creams and lotions (moisturizers to be specific) will maintain your skin’s supple nature and improve its elasticity. It will also aid in reducing skin’s itchiness which comes with stretch marks.
Stay away with creams and lotions with steroids
Some creams and lotions contain steroids to dazzle the customer with immediate results. But, in the long run, results are very devastating. Do your research before applying any such product on your skin.
How can you prevent stretch marks through diet recommendations
This is the point where you can get solutions to the problem in discussion. I know it is stressing just looking at stretch marks and how ungrateful they are on your skin. Money is everything which means you have to spend to get the skin back to its normal form.
But here comes the great news. It is not the end of the road if you do not have that cash to invest in expensive creams and laser treatment, here is what will help reduce and prevent the skin lines from forming.
They are the bodybuilders so they will improve the overall quality of your skin as the body gains. Stretch marks will have a replacement once they occur since the proteins do the correction. Go for soya beans in powder form – a high protein source.
White meat is also an excellent protein source. Other sources such as tuna, turkey, and chicken breast will also do the magic. Do you love protein-rich dairy? Take eggs, another rich protein source.
They are vital to our body health, aren’t they? Well, for vitamins A, C, and E, medical practitioners advocate for them when since they fight the stretch marks away and also heal those that have already formed.
Vitamin C is used in collagen formation while foods rich in it help in limiting the development of stretch marks. The amazing thing is that these three proteins work together in making things right.
Vitamin A helps in skin cells development while E is used by the body to regenerate vitamin C. That is awesome! Vitamin C can be obtained from carrots, blueberries and sweet potatoes. For A and E, consider dairy products, sunflower seeds, and avocado.
It is a mineral that is vital in collagen extraction, which aids in holding the skin together. It is also beneficial in the functioning of enzymes that are required by the body to repair wounds. Some rich sources of the metal element are turkey, fish and Brazil nuts.
Drinking coffee or soda tends to dehydrate your skin, and this gives room for stretch marks formation. Water is a skin savior. It will keep your skin healthy and hydrated.
Taking about eight glasses in a day will maintain the standard skin elastic levels and also help in collagen production.
How to get rid of stretch marks which are already there
Timing is important
You know of various life cycles. If you do, then welcome to stretch marks life cycle. Somewhere in the causes section, we talked about the early stages of stretch marks which appear as red, purple or some bright color (depending on the skin tone).
At such a juncture, the marks are referred to as striae rubra. They are easy to treat as soon as they appear which allows you to be flexible when dealing with them.
After they have grown older to form the silvery or whitish lines, they are known as striae alba. The alba phase is hard to treat which leaves you with only one option, treat them as soon as you notice. Period!
How to get rid of stretch marks with home remedies
You have learned about stretch marks and how they occur. To be honest, I am giving you the solution which I have already been using since my butts started having some ‘zebra stripes.’
After contemplating on what you have read above so far, the next question is, what can you do to help in reducing stretch marks formation? Do you have to seek medical attention or there something you can do at home?
The great news is that, yes, there is something to do at home. The solutions are natural too. Check this out:
Vanish your stretch marks with Castor Oil Massage
It is a solution to a variety of skin problems. So, it can also be used to treat and get rid of stretch marks. How do you use it to benefit the skin?
- Apply some castor oil on the affected area. Perform a gentle massage in circular motion for about 5 minutes.
- Get a clean thin cotton cloth to wrap the area. Get a heating pad or hot water bottle, and use it to apply heat for about 20-30 minutes. It should be warm enough for the skin to withstand the duration. You do not want to burn yourself as you try to rectify the damage.
- Do this on a regular basis for a period of not less than three weeks for the results to kick in and become visible
Use egg white mask to get rid of stretch marks
We know they are a rich source of protein. For now, we are interested in the white part, not the yellow one. The egg white contains the protein and amino acids.
- Whip the white part with a fork. Use two eggs. Clean the stretched area first before applying.
- Use a makeup brush to apply a thick layer of the whipped whites.
- Allow the egg to dry and then rinse off using water, preferably cold.
- You need to keep the skin moisturized. After cleaning, apply some olive oil.
- Continue with the process for two weeks for results to show. You can continue after two weeks for more results.
Apply Aloe Vera Gel on your stretch marks
It is a source of healing for many diseases, and the skin is a significant beneficiary. The extension of its benefits also goes to chasing stretch marks away.
Use either of the following:
- Rub the aloe gel on the affected area on the skin, let it rest for about 15 minutes and then rinse the part using lukewarm water.
- Use the aloe vera gel with vitamin capsules. Take ¼ cup of the gel, and oil from 10 vitamin A and E capsules, i.e., 10 for vitamin A and another 10 for E. After mixing, rub the resulting mixture on the affected part until it is fully absorbed. Repeat the procedure daily
Use Lemon juice to lessen the stretch marks
It is another way. A simple one to decrease the already formed stretch marks formed. The juice is acidic, a property that helps the skin in lessening stretch marks. Those with acne and other scars can also benefit from the lemon secretion.
Use either of the following:
- Cut the lemon into two and rub the fresh juice on the stretch marks in circular motions. Allow the skin to absorb it for 10 minutes at least. Rinse off with warm water.
- Mix cucumber and lemon juices of equal amounts and apply the mixture on the stretch marks.
Rub Potato Slices on your stretch marks for amazing results
- Cut one potato, medium sized, into thick slices
- Take one of the pieces and use it to rub areas with stretch marks gently. What’s important here is the starch. Make sure that it covers the massaged area.
- Let it stay there for some time and then wash using lukewarm water.
Use Suger rub to exfoliate your skin and lessen the stretch marks
Did you know that your skin benefits from natural white sugar? It also provides another way to remove stretch marks. The best part is that you can use it to exfoliate the skin.
- Take a tablespoon of raw, white sugar, a few drops of lemon juice and some almond oil.
- Mix them thoroughly and apply the solution on the stretch marks.
- Rub the mixture minutes before you head for the shower.
- Repeat the process for about a month and watch as the stretch marks go smaller and lighter.
It also works well with cellulite.
Use Coffee Scrubs to lessen the stretch marks
From now on, you should know that it is more than the morning boost. It helps in fighting cellulite and stretch marks. What is the idea here? Using homemade coffee scrub for a couple of weeks to fight the already formed stretch marks.
- Get the following ingredients: ½ cup amounts of ground coffee, sugar, and organic coconut oil, and ½ tablespoon of ground cinnamon
- Add all of the collected items in one container and mix them to form a paste.
- Use it to rub areas with stretch marks for 8 minutes in the morning.
- Store the mixture in airtight condition so that it retains its healing properties.
Coffee Scrubs are also helpful in getting rid of cellulite
Retinol Creams and Lotions for Stretch Marks Removal
As we have seen, performing early treatment will benefit you the most. That is why you need to talk to your doctor or health specialist on treatment options available for stretch marks and the effectiveness of those options.
For pregnant mothers and those experiencing post-pregnancy stretch marks, it is essential that you talk to your doctor on the best creams and lotions since most of them are expensive and claim to do a lot more than stretch marks removal.
Some options will have vitamin A derivatives which conceived mothers cannot use due to potential congenital disabilities after. On all creams and lotions that you are going to encounter, retinol is what you will be looking for in those products.
It is common in face creams, but the cost goes higher since the area with stretch marks might be large which calls for more product application. The work of retinol is to boost production of collagen. Wait for about six weeks for you to start realizing the changes.
The treatments go for as low as $15 to $80 which will depend on the brand. When you go to a dermatologist, he or she may also prescribe Retin-A, another retinol form. Sometimes, the prescribed retinol or Retin-A creams and lotions might irritate your skin which pushes you to look for other options.
If that is the case, consider products with the following constituents:
- Hyaluronic acid
- Vitamin C
- Onion extract
Here is the list of products we recommend.
We’ve heard from hundreds of readers happy with amazing results. If you are expecting a baby then you should soon start applying Bio-Oil on your tummy and upper thighs.
How does it work?
Bio-oil keeps the skin hydrated so it maintains maximum elasticity at all times. Because of the hydration of the skin, it helps prevent the formation of stretch marks.
Also, It contains skin friendly vitamins like Vitamin E and C to help in the renewal of the skin.
They will be beneficial to your skin, but that does not rule out the doctor’s advice since they are still over the counter products.
You can get one from Amazon between $15 to $16
Treating Stretch Marks Using Laser
This option is for those who don’t mind spending a fortune on their skin. The ray’s treatment procedure is used during stretch marks removal where a beam of light is used to remove thin skin layers around the stretched areas. For the best effectiveness, there is the use of excimer laser.
Does it sound complicated? Let me break it down for you. The option mentioned above uses high energy UV laser light to break the skin tissue molecular bonds which cause the separation of tissues, and the process is known as ablation.
After the procedure is complete, you will be amazed by the disappearance of the stretches, and it will also give rise to new skin cells. It will cost you about $400 per session, and you need at least 10 of them for better results.
Other useful treatments to get rid of stretch marks include:
Fractioned Laser Treatment
Will help in the reduction of lasting, deep stretch marks. You will need about $1000 per session and at least three meetings with your specialist for complete removal.
The best way is here. You will need about $450 per session, and 3-6 of them are required.
Stretch Marks Removal using surgery
Going for the knife is always advocated after precautions and meeting specifications take precedence. That will not rule the surgery option out since some of those undergoing obesity, and bodybuilding and pregnancy may opt for this stretch marks removal methodology.
Something to remember is that it was popular back in the day because there were few alternatives. On the contrary, the procedure is costly and risky which prompted the practitioners and other professionals related to the niche to seek other means which is now available.
For the sake of those looking forward to taking this option, I’m going to take you through what people call a tummy tuck.
The Abdominoplasty Theorem: What it Entails
Abdominoplasty is the abdomen surgery where excess skin in this part of the body is removed. The target goes to all the skin and the associated stretch marks below the navel area. Now, if you are still asking, that is what folks in the past called a tummy tuck. Got it?
You need to keep in mind that this is a traditional move that is only applied to the abdomen and nowhere else. You will not get surgery related to the skin mark’s removal for any other part, say your butts for example. No one will recommend you such an option since it is a risky affair.
For you to qualify for this stretch marks removal method, there is an ultimatum for it. You need to be a healthy nonsmoker with excess skin on your stomach. Also, it has to be from the weight gain or loss related issues.
Do not go for it if you have stretch marks but no excess skin which reminds me one more thing. Consult your physician for assurance.
Other Treatment Options to Consider When Dealing With Stretch Marks
Do you think you can qualify for the methods discussed above? If not, there are other options to verify and try as presented below:
You have probably seen the technique being used on the face to treat wrinkles and age spots. Well, the protocol has extended to the removal of stretch marks. This is how it’s done.
A sponge or cotton pad is soaked with the chemical solution. Using a brush also comes in handy for the task. The type and how powerful the chemical is varies depending on the patient. What happens next is peeling off the dead and damaged skin to give room for production of new skin cells.
There some itchiness to endure – a sting or burn during the treatment to be precise. After the treatment, how you recover will depend on your skin type and how it functions to remedy itself. The chemical’s strength also has a part to play in the healing process.
Doing it once does not mean that is it. No! Even though your skin might project its mastery in quick healing, multiple sessions may be required to optimize the results. Be warned that it will not remove the stretch marks entirely. They will fade with time to give in to a smoother and healthier skin.
The goal is to remove skin’s outermost layer to pave the way for new skin growth and development. This method utilizes a fine crystal spray to remove the outer layer. In the process, the dead skin cells on the affected area are removed, and the new skin cells come in to produce more elastin and collagen – the essential components for perfect skin.
Are you afraid of pain? Microdermabrasion is painless and takes less than an hour to complete. It is also time-saving when recovering as the skin does not take long to rejuvenate. More treatment, an average of 10 will be required if you want to reap maximum benefits out of it.
One thing to remember though, this method will improve the appearance of scars, but it will not abolish them altogether.
Stretch marks knowledge and treatment has now been made easier. However, it is important to note that once they appear, a complete removal is next to impossible. On the other hand, trying the home remedies will save you a great deal of time money.
For the extreme cases, we cannot ignore the laser and surgery options but making use of the other methods should take precedence. Make a habit of drinking lots of water and watching how you gain your weight.
At times, it is possible for the stretches to interfere with how you think. Don’t let it get into your head. There are people such as your physician to talk to so, get ready and seek consultation. You will find out what you need to do to reduce their appearance.