Stretch Marks. What Are The Causes And Remedies?
Stretch marks are generally harmless to health. However, stretch marks are considered aesthetically unappealing so it can cause poor self-image. One can feel distressed, annoyed, and embarrassed by it.
Here, we explore what causes stretch marks and commonly known, as well as natural remedies.
What are stretch marks?
What medical professionals call striae distensae or stretch marks are long, rippled, narrow scars that develop on the skin.
They first appear red or purplish but eventually take on a lighter colour.
How are stretch marks formed?
The skin consists of three key layers.
The top layer is called the epidermis, the middle layer called the dermis followed by the base layer.
Stretch marks are formed in the dermis, or middle layer when the connective tissue is stretched beyond the limits of its elasticity.
This is usually due to rapid expansion or contraction of the skin.
As the body grows, the connecting fibers in the dermis slowly stretch to accommodate slow growth.
However, rapid growth leads to sudden stretching. This causes the dermis to tear, which allows deeper layers of skin to show through. This can form stretch marks and contribute to the way they look.
Stretch marks eventually fade into a silvery, white, or glossy appearance, due to the pale fat beneath the skin becoming visible instead of the usual blood vessels.
Stretch marks are more likely to occur and become more severe where there are high levels of circulating cortisone, or when cortisone is applied to the skin.
Cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands, when converted to cortisone weakens elastic fibres in the skin.
What causes stretch marks?
When your skin changes shape rapidly and are stretched it causes stretch marks. It can be due to:
- Weight gain or loss
- Growth spurt during adolescence
- Body(adrenal gland) producing too much cortisone such as Marfan syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome can both be an indirect cause for stretch marks forming on your body
- Corticosteroid creams, lotions, pills, and chronic use of oral steroids can increase cortisone in the body decrease the skin’s moisture and ability to stretch
Stretch marks commonly form on a range of body parts, including the hips, thighs, stomach, breasts, upper arms, and lower back.
Common Treatments & Remedies for Stretch Marks
Those who have stretch marks typically employ one or a combination of the following remedies depending on the severity of the stretch marks.
- Using body makeup. Using certain creams, lotions or oils to hide the stretch marks cosmetically but not to treat them.
- Seeking help from a certified dermatologist. A dermatologist would likely recommend you the following commonly known remedies for stretch marks. These may not completely remove the stretch marks, only to lessen its appearance.
- Pulsed dye laser therapy – A painless blast of light used on new, red stretch marks. The light’s energy calms blood vessels under the skin that could cause the marks. Most reports note a low risk of scarring or other adverse outcomes.
- Fractional CO2 laser therapy – A new treatment that may smooth out old, white stretch marks. Though considered a safe procedure, care must be taken to prevent over-aggressive treatment and complications which may lead to keloids, scarring, and other side effects. Post-treatment barrier creams may lead to skin allergies. So it is vital to recognize symptoms, monitor and care for wounds post-treatment.
- Microdermabrasion – Uses tiny crystals to rub off the topmost layer of your skin. One new study showed that this treatment helped fade new, reddish stretch marks but most studies conclude the limited effectiveness of microdermabrasion on deeper skin issues like stretch marks. Side effects include redness, skin irritation, pigment changes (more significant for darker skin tones), flaking skin, bruising, and sun sensitivity. Care includes moisturizing and applying aloe vera gel.
Cosmetic surgery may remove the skin with stretch marks. However, these operations may leave scars, cause allergic reactions, nerve damage, and infections.
Plus they are often painful and costly with the risk of results not living up to expectations.
Natural Remedies and Prevention for Stretch Marks
While laser treatments are generally considered effective treatments for stretch marks, there are also many natural remedies you can consider.
Aloe vera is both a natural healing agent and skin softener.
Most of the above procedures will also benefit from using aloe vera products to help calm the skin, prevent inflammation, and speed up healing.
Clear Skin Gel from Down To Earth Care is an ideal product for wound care as it is skin soothing and contains antimicrobial properties. It is a powerful blend of aloe vera, tea tree, calendula, and echinacea.
Maintaining a healthy weight
One of the most efficient ways to prevent stretch marks is by consuming a healthy nutritious diet combined with consistent daily exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
This will avoid stretching the skin of your body by gaining any unnecessary weight.
Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins as well as minerals. Consumption of a suitable amount of vitamins A and C can help support the skin, as well as the mineral zinc.
Vitamin A is referred to as a retinoid. Retinoids make skin appear smoother and more youthful.
Simply using a topical extract of vitamin A, or taking vitamin A orally, can contribute to your skin’s overall health and appearance.
A diet rich in certain foods, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, might also help you increase your vitamin A levels naturally.
Supplementing with Emu Tracks Pure Emu Oil Capsules help to fortify your body with Vitamin A, D, E, F and K2. Emu Oil is a naturally rich source of Omega 3, 6, and 9 which works to combat inflammation and infection.
These essential fatty acids help to improve skin health and elasticity while Vitamin A improves skin regeneration.
The topical application of Emu Oil Moisturizer works hand in hand to nourish and moisturize the skin as it applied. It also contains Rosehip oil which improves skin strength.
Emu Oil with other plant extracts like Rosehip also keeps the elastin that your skin needs to keep from scarring and stretch marks. They are the ideal 100% natural remedy for your stretch marks and scarring