The red, pink or purple streaks or indented lines, or those that may fade to light pink, white or silver and which are commonly found mostly in the stomach, thighs, breasts, hips, upper arms are stretch marks. Oftentimes, it is not a cause for alarm. Unless otherwise your physician thinks they are a sign of a serious medical condition.
But most commonly, what causes stretch marks?
A change in your body, such as pregnancy or puberty; if you have trimmed off some weight, or if you do weights and lifts like bodybuilders do and gain rapid muscle mass, then you are most likely to have stretch marks. The middle layer of the skin (dermis) is made up of strong and inter-connected fibres that can stretch as your body grows. But it can break in places when there is a rapid stretching, allowing deeper skin layers to show through.
However, there are underlying health conditions that may cause stretch marks. If you believe you fall under this category, better seek your physician’s diagnosis. You may have Cushing’s Syndrome or Marfan Syndrome. The former occurs when your body produces excessive amounts of cortisol. Stretch marks caused by Cushing’s Syndrome may show as noticeable and dark coloured marks. As for Marfan Syndrome, stretch marks are shown mostly on shoulders, hips, or lower back. This health condition is caused by a faulty gene affecting your body’s skin and connective tissues, weakening your body tissues and affecting their elasticity. In rather rare cases, stretch marks may be caused by prolonged or inappropriate use of creams or lotions for treatment of certain skin conditions such as eczema. These products contain corticosteroids to ease skin inflammatory, but the same ingredient can also cause diminished amount of collagen in the skin. The less collagen you have in your skin, the more probability that you will develop stretch marks. When you have to use such products, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions or your physician’s.
Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of common stretch marks. As shared by wikihow.com, here are six ways you can do to not stress out over your stretch marks:
1. USE MOISTURIZERS
– A study comparing herbal moisturizers found that people who lotioned up daily showed significant improvement in skin appearance and elasticity. Moisturize new stretch marks or areas you think you’d likely to get them in the future. For old stretch marks, applying moisturizers may improve the appearance of marks. If you are into home remedies, make your own moisturizer by taking equal parts of wheat germ oil, olive oil, and aloe vera.
2. USE RETIN-A
– A study from the University of Michigan suggests people who use Retin-A or retinoic acid cream on new stretch marks saw huge improvements. That’s because Retin-A is proven to boost collagen production to help skin stretch out and avoid tears. Don’t do this though if you are pregnant or nursing. Further, Retin-A would not be helpful in improving old stretch marks.
3. USE GLYCOLIC ACID
– This can also help increase collagen production. Glycolic Acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), a chemical compound similar to what is often used in chemical skin peels. Glycolic Acid can be bought over-the-counter and is safe for topical use of pregnant women.
4. COMBINE GLYCOLIC ACID & RETIN-A
– Prep your skin with Retin-A before using Glycolic Acid. This combination is sure to dramatically improve the appearance of stretch marks. A no-no for pregnant women though.
5. TRY VITAMIN E OIL
– As they say, Vitamin E is the miracle cure for stretch marks. One study shows, however, that it is more effective on women who have been pregnant before. Make the most of your regular lotion by adding Vitamin E oil and be prepared to see excellent results.