Stretch marks are very common among women, while men are also capable of developing stretch marks (a.k.a. striae). Stretch marks are widely associated with pregnancy, and are created when your body experiences hormonal changes due to puberty or menopause; you can also develop striae when you’re losing or gaining weight.
Going further, the reason these annoying lesions appear on your skin is due to the breakdown of collagen and damaged elastic fibers below the epidermis layer of your skin. Now that we’ve covered the basic causes of stretch marks, let’s move a little deeper into the subject and also talk about how you can treat them and home remedies for stretch marks.
Common reasons why stretch marks form are due to:
- losing weight too quickly,
- gaining weight rapidly,
- hormonal imbalances/changes,
- growth spurts,
Stretch marks are visible linear scars that pop up on your body where the skin is too thin due to the aforementioned breakdown of collagen and elastic fibers damage. The skin cells are no longer able to bounce back from extreme stretching, thus causing the dermal layer of skin to develop tears that appear as scars on your skin.
The areas of the body that are most affected by stretch marks include the thighs, abdomen, arms, hips, breasts, back, buttocks and the area around belly button. When striae firsts begins to form, it usually appears red, and then turns white over time.
Treating Stretch Marks
There are topical creams, ointments, and oils that claim to remove stretch marks or reduce their appearance; however, these products can cost quite a bit, and hardly deliver on the promises. There are also laser treatments available, but this too is very expensive.
Because stretch marks are scars, there is little chance of getting rid of them completely. So you should avoid wasting money on products that claim to eradicate stretch marks completely, and have realistic expectations when it comes to topical treatments. Using topical treatments requires discipline, and they may even need to be applied more than once a day. But they do have the potential to improve stretch marks’ appearance.
Treating only the symptoms associated with stretch marks or scars will not help lessen the appearance of striae. Furthermore, dry skin can sometimes appear around area of stretch marks; however, dry skin isn’t the cause of stretch marks. It’s also worth mentioning that moisture is good for your skin, but it won’t make a dent in the removal of stretch marks since the marks start deep within the skin’s layers.
Dermabrasion, or laser treatments for stretch marks, only affects the surface of the skin. This is not enough to penetrate deep into the dermis, where the tears have formed in elastic fibers. These treatments may be able to improve the appearance of stretch marks, but the side effects are redness (erythema) and/or scaling on the skin.