Would you be interested in some tips and pointers about how to get rid of stretch marks?
If you have ever been pregnant, you probably have stretch marks. Research has shown that approximately 80% of all pregnant women develop stretch marks during their pregnancy.
That equates to about 8 out of 10, which definitely stacks the deck against you.
It’s important to note that although pregnancy is the leading cause of stretch marks, there are other causes. Here are some of the other things that can affect your skin:
- Hormonal Changes
- Weight Gain
- Medication use, such as steroids
- Various diseases or health conditions, such as Cushing’s Syndrome
Both men and woman can get stretch marks.
What Are They?
Before launching into tips to get rid of them, it might be helpful to understand exactly what they are. What they are not, in the truest sense of the word, are scars.
Stretch marks, or striae, are indented streaks formed by rapid stretching of the skin. When your skin stretches quite a bit over a short period of time, such as when you are pregnant or growing during puberty, it stretches as far as it can, and the middle layer breaks.
This breakage of the skin causes rippling. They are often discolored in hues of pink, purple, or red. This is the inner layers of your skin showing through.
Where Can They Occur?
Theoretically, since your entire body is covered in skin that could stretch and break, stretch marks could occur anywhere. However, the most likely places for stretch marks to develop are these areas:
- Upper Arms
The majority of these marks do tend to fade over time, although they won’t go away completely. They’ll likely turn to a soft pink, white or silver over the coming years.
Getting Rid of Stretch Marks
There are a variety of treatments you might decide to try to get rid of stretch marks.
Tretinoin Cream – Tretinoin, a derivative of vitamin A, might be effective in treating your stretch marks provided they are of recent origin. If you have developed stretch marks within the past few months, for instance, Tretinoin creams may help to diminish their appearance by helping to rebuild collagen. This will plump up the stretch marks so that they are more on a level with your regular skin.
These creams can be irritating to your skin, and they are available via prescription only.
Microdermabrasion – Microdermabrasion uses a handheld medical device that blows crystals onto your skin and literally polishes it. After it has been polished with the crystals, a tube vacuums the crystals and the cells that were abraded during the polishing process. This microdermabrasion removes your top layer of skin and helps initiate the growth of new and more elastic skin. If you have older stretch marks, this might be a good option for you to diminish them.
Laser Therapy – In laser therapy, wavelengths of intense light are employed to stimulate the growth of melanin, collagen or elastin. The effectiveness depends largely on your skin color and the age of the stretch marks.
Chemical Peels – Chemical peels work in much the same way as microdermabrasion treatments. A chemical is applied to the skin and it peels away the top layer, thus making the area with stretch marks look more like the normal skin.
These options are not going to come cheap. You may want to try some over the counter remedies to help improve your stretch marks before you resort to one of the above.
Lotions and Creams for Stretch Marks
There are a variety of lotions and creams available on the market. Most have Vitamin E. Some have cocoa butter and/or collagen, along with different natural oils.
The main thing to bear in mind before having any sort of treatment for stretch marks is to have realistic expectations. For example, while creams and lotions might help to diminish the appearance of existing stretch marks …..none of them will completely get rid of stretch marks.
Even with the pricey treatment options such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, Tretinoin cream or laser therapy that are available from a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon, most stretch marks will only show improvement and will not be totally removed.
Your best bet, if you think you may be at risk of developing stretch marks, seems to be trying to avoid getting them in the first place.
A lot of people swear by lotions and creams applied topically to prevent stretch marks. For example, if you are pregnant, you might apply a cream to your belly a couple or three times a day to keep the skin moist and supple, making it less likely to break when it stretches with your pregnancy.
This could be a classic case of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure, since there is virtually no way to completely get rid of stretch marks after you get them.