What are Stretch Marks
(or Striae Gravidarum) ?
A health article about skin stretch marks from Your Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies
Stretch marks (or Striae Gravidarum) is a term that refers to the scars on your skin which are caused damage to the elastic fibres that help skin stretch. These marks are perfectly normal, and most women - and even some men - have them.
As the name suggests, these marks are caused by overstretching of the skin, destroying it's elasticity and resilience. These marks develop when weight loss follows weight gain. That is why they are so common after pregnancy.
Sometimes, the marks can spread over a large expanse of skin, across the abdomen, on the breasts, thighs and upper arms. It is important to remember that these marks are not on the surface, but are actually caused by cracks in the elastic fibres below.
Signs & Symptoms of Stretch Marks
Firstly, it’s important to understand that stretch marks are like scars. Stretch marks are associated with a number of circumstances, including pregnancy, rapid weight gain, puberty and rapid muscle gain, in both men and women.
When stretch marks first form they are generally red or purple in color, as the blood vessels underneath the skin show through.
With time, they will fade to a white color. This color comes due to breaks in the dermis layer of skin - and it is this layer that any stretch mark cream will need to target.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are caused by the stretching of the skin due to weight gain such as during pregnancy.
Just about everyone with stretch marks is self conscious of them, so researchers are always looking for new and effective ways of making stretch marks go away.
1. Pregnancy causes stretch marks on the abdomen as the belly grows. There are preventative steps you can take to minimize this risk. These are presented below.
2. The other risk factor is rapid weight gain and also rapid weight loss.
If you are on a diet to lose considerable size and weight, you will need to ensure that your diet includes supplements that support your skin elasticity and tone during your regimen. More information about suitable supplements is featured below here.
3. Rapid muscle growth from body building also causes stretch marks
Bodybuilding stretch marks are a part of fitness that many people do not talk about. Whether this is for fear of shame or simple embarrassment, I'm not sure. But you certainly don't hear muscle man standing around at the gym talking about their stretch marks!
Stretch marks on bodybuilders are something you should not be ashamed of as it is actually a common occurrence. Yes that's right, you aren't the only one suffering from bodybuilding stretch marks!
These stretch marks occur simply because your body is growing quite rapidly when you are bodybuilding. The skin then stretches to accommodate this increased muscle, which causes stretch marks.
Whilst the regular stretch marks we are all familiar with such as pregnant woman stretch marks are situated around the stomach and thighs, bodybuilding stretch marks are more likely to be found under the arms as well as where the front shoulder muscles meet the upper chest muscles.
Muscles grow rapidly in these areas, therefore they are most susceptible to bodybuilding stretch marks.
Did you know that almost every serious bodybuilder has stretch marks? Have you ever noticed stretch marks on another bodybuilder?
Chances are you haven't until now, and chances also are that no one has seen yours. Stretch marks are definitely something we feel self conscious of, but it should not worry you too much as it is unlikely anyone is taking any notice of yours.
The chance of getting bodybuilding stretch marks can be reduced by eating a healthy, well balanced diet which promotes healthy elastic skin.
Multi vitamins can also assist bodybuilders with stretch marks. One multi vitamin per day is ideal as vitamins such as A, E and C assist in healthy skin appearance.
Preventing stretch marks during pregnancy is probably not the first priority of a woman who has fallen pregnant. However as her pregnancy progresses and she begins to notice small stretch marks forming, she may start wondering how to rid herself of these distasteful skin anomalies.
Stretch marks start showing on a pregnant woman when she is about six months pregnant. This is due to the stomach expanding, which of course causes the skin to stretch.
In addition to the stomach area, other areas a woman may get stretch marks includes the hips, thighs, buttocks, breasts and upper arms.
Your genes as well as your skin tone, diet history, skin condition and the amount of weight you gain during pregnancy will all determine if and how many stretch marks you will get. Thin people may be at greater chance of seeing stretch marks appear while pregnant, as there is less skin to stretch.
Preventing stretch marks during pregnancy begins before you fall pregnant. Although you can’t help your genes and skin type, you can keep your skin well moisturized at all times.
You can also watch your diet and eat healthy skin foods such as foods that contain antioxidants - fruits (berries of any sort are great), vegetables and leafy greens are essential. Also drink plenty of water as this helps the general health of the skin.
There are certain essential oils that can be added into your diet to keep elasticity in your skin to avoid getting the stretch marks in the first place and to assist in improving them once you have already incurred them.
Another way of preventing stretch marks during pregnancy is to watch your weight while pregnant. It is inevitable that you will put on weight while pregnant, however you should be careful not to completely blow out as this is when the stretch marks will appear. Watch what you eat, and do gentle exercise to stop that fat from building up.
Preventing stretch marks during pregnancy can be assisted by taking vitamins. Multi vitamins are a good idea, but do see your doctor as pregnant women need to watch what sort and how many vitamins they take per day.
If you take the above precautions, you are going to lessen your chances of getting stretch marks while pregnant. DO not worry too much if you see some appear, most will tend to fade within six months to a year after you have had your baby.
Preventing Stretch Marks With Lotions and Moisturizers
There are a number of moisturizers and lotions developed specifically to help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy as well as outside of pregnancy.
Stretch marks occur when the dermis layer of your skin breaks, allowing the layers underneath it to show through. This is why it’s so important to keep this layer of skin in as best condition as possible. Stretch mark creams and lotions are designed with a number of nourishing ingredients in mind to do just that.
Dermology is an example of one such cream, available in a free trial to help you test the results. Vitamins, such as A, E and D3 help new skin to constantly regenerate and natural ingredients can stop any scars forming. Combine this with daily skin massage and you will ensure maximum circulation and resilience to stretch marks.
It’s important to use creams like Dermology regularly and consistently. Doing so will help to ensure that your skin is in the best possible condition and, if stretch marks do develop, they will fade away as quickly as possible.
If you want to look as adding fatty acids (oils) into your diet that can have a dramatic effect in avoiding stretch marks and in reducing the appearance of them once you have already incurred them.
Companies like Herbalife, the weight loss company, build those oils into their nutrition shakes so that most people who lose weight on that program do not get stretch marks and, after large weight loss, do not normally have saggy skin. If you give your body the oils it needs it will adjust to your changing shape.
Preventing stretch marks is, unfortunately, not an exact science. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to stop them altogether, but there will always be ways to reduce them once they occur. Try to find a method that works for you, and combine all the advice given in this article for maximum effect.
When to seek Medical Advice:
There are various types of treatment options that you can try in the attempt to get stretch marks to go away. Some work effectively, some have a slight impact and some simply do not work at all.
Most so called stretch mark creams are highly ineffective. Cream can not heal the skin that has been stretched and it is a shame to see people coerced into spending so much money on creams when they are asking the question do stretch marks go away.
If you are serious about removing your stretch marks, please see a dermatologist. These skin experts will be able to personally assess the intensity of your stretch marks and recommend treatment for them.
The dermatologist may eventually refer you to a plastic surgeon, depending on the severity of your stretch marks. Keep in mind that cosmetic treatment of any kind can be very expensive, so it is up to you whether you think it is worth paying a large sum of money to make your stretch marks go away.
Some of the more common treatment options are laser treatment and microdermabrasion. These treatments reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Many women use various types of creams, lotions and oils to try to prevent stretch marks from forming.
During pregnancy, the skin become itchy. If you scratch the skin to relive itching, it can cause further damage.
If you are overweight and plan to go slimming programmer, pay special attention to the problem of stretch marks by massaging those areas that are vulnerable.
The Benefits of Choosing A Specially Formulated Stretch Mark Cream
There are a number of benefits to choosing a specially formulated stretch mark removal cream:
* They are very easy to apply, in one tube without having to mix up any ingredients,
* They contain all of the vitamins and nutrients your skin needs to be able to repair itself,
* They are useful for preventing stretch marks during pregnancy,
* They can also help to fade existing stretch marks, in many cases to the point where they are no longer noticeable,
* They are very cost effective,
* They don’t require any invasive surgery,
* You can use them for as long as you need to,
* They keep the skin generally healthy and firm.
Two Top Stretch Mark Cream Brands Compared
When it comes to choosing the best stretch mark cream, it’s important to take a look at the facts. What do the creams contain, how do you use them, and do they have good reviews?
Dermology stretch mark cream has been developed as a way to stop stretch marks from occurring in the first place. This means that those in a position to benefit most from the product will be protecting themselves against stretch marks as a result of events such as pregnancy, rapid muscle gain, or rapid weight gain.
Dermology recommends that you start using their cream during the early stages of pregnancy or, for best results, when you are trying to conceive - that way your skin will be prepared for the changes about to occur.
The cream claims to promote healthy skin, increase production of collagen and elastin, reduce appearance of existing stretch marks and stop new ones occurring.
It works with a special formulation of squalene oil, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D3, Aloe Vera and grapefruit seed extracts.
Revitol stretch mark cream works in much the same way as Dermology, claiming to help prevent stretch marks as well as to reduce the appearance of existing lines.
Revitol is also part of a larger skincare line that can help with a number of problems, including cellulite, acne, hair removal, psoriasis, exfoliation, eye bags and the effects of aging.
By using these products regularly, your skin will be in a much better position to fight off damage such as the effects of stretch marks.
What A Stretch Mark Lotion Can’t Do
Whilst there are a huge number of benefits, a stretch mark removal cream can’t work miracles.
Always bear in mind that they do not guarantee complete disappearance of your stretch marks (nothing can guarantee this), they won’t make up for anything lacking in your diet, and they are not a miracle cure! However, use them as directed and you should see noticeable results.
Laser therapy can also help improve the appearance of stretch marks. This is where a surgeon uses different types of lasers, depending on the color of the stretch marks.
The skin absorbs the laser which in turn leads the skin to produce new collagen which fills the stretch mark as it thickens. Laser treatment also removes any damaged skin whilst sealing blood vessels. This process rejuvenates the skin and repairs fibers in the middle skin,
Traditionally, one type reduces the color of dark stretch marks, the other stimulates the production of pigment-making cells in already faded stretch marks. There is an even newer type of laser therapy that can also be used help the body produce collagen to help restore the elasticity of the skin in depressed stretch marks.
You will most likely require at least six laser treatments. This may cost you a few thousand dollars, so you need to decide prior to your first treatment whether you feel you can afford to have ongoing treatment. These are options that your doctor will discuss with you on your first consultation.
Not everyone can expect a miracle from laser treatment for stretch marks. Like any treatment, there is no guarantee that it will work for you.
This is a very serious and expensive route to follow. You would need to talk your decision through fully with a skin specialist before making a final decision.
Stretch Mark Surgery Explained
When it comes to getting rid of stretch marks, there are a number of lotions that can have a noticeable effect on the way they look. However, some people wish to go one step further and opt for surgical removal as a way to ensure the disappearance of those marks.
The main reason why people opt for stretch mark surgery is because their stretch marks are very noticeable, and they want to do something to improve their body confidence.
Whilst surgery represents the only method that can possibly achieve 100% removal, it still isn’t guaranteed. It may be worth trying a lotion, such as a free trial of Dermology, before opting for such drastic procedures.
If you find that traditional methods aren’t working for you, then there are a few different types of surgery available to you:
1) Cosmetic Surgery - The Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty
The abdominoplasty, or ‘tummy tuck’, is a common cosmetic procedure designed to tighten the skin over the stomach.
One reason why people may opt for this kind of surgery is to remove stretch marks. Since it works to remove excess skin, this can conceal the stretch marks effectively as well as reducing excess fat.
The results of a tummy tuck are not guaranteed, but they can be permanent as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle after the procedure.
Coolbeam treatment is the latest breakthrough in terms of both new and old stretch marks. It works by cooling down the surface of the skin, and then by flashing light pulses on it to remove miniscule amounts of skin tissue.
The nature of the treatment means that it is extremely precise, and is able to target very specific areas of the body.
3) Laser Surgery
Laser surgery is a good option for those who want to avoid any invasive stretch mark surgery. Unfortunately, this procedure is only suitable for new stretch marks that have not yet turned light, due to the way in which the laser targets the skin.
Laser surgery is not guaranteed to get rid of stretch marks completely, and is generally expensive, though can produce impressive results in the right circumstances.
It’s important to realize that none of these methods for removing stretch marks are 100% guaranteed. In fact, they generally work to fade stretch marks, often to the point of invisible, rather than removing them altogether.
Choosing a stretch mark treatment to suit you is a very personal decision. Many men and women simply can’t afford the price tag of stretch mark surgery, and see good results using specially formulated lotions. However, if your stretch marks are more severe then surgery may be the option for you.
Self Care strategies for Living with Stretch Marks
With stretch marks,'prevention is better than cure'. It is impossible to remove the marks totally, although they may become less conspicuous with appropriate treatment over a period of time.
The best treatment is preventive care. So, as soon as you face the fact that you are gaining weight quickly that won’t drop off, or big muscle development from body building, or know that you have become pregnant, you should start a programme of daily massage of the most affected areas on your body.
Home Remedies for Stretch Marks
Stretch marks affect many of us, young, old, male and female - but the good news is that home remedies for stretch marks have been shown as an effective way of reducing their appearance and helping us to gain confidence in our bodies once more.
Whilst this isn’t a solution for those who want to go about getting rid of stretch marks that already exist, you can prevent further stretch marks by using the advice above.
Drink water, eat a balanced diet, avoid rapid weight gain and make use of a specially formulated stretch mark cream. Prevention is far easier than finding a cure.
Use a turmeric lemon pre- bath cream, massaging it into the skin. This helps to maintain the elasticity of the skin and provides protection.
Creams and Lotions
Home remedies for stretch marks can also make use of ingredients found around the home. Many people use cocoa butter sticks or lotions and find success, as well as creating their own body scrubs containing olive oil and ingredients such as Aloe Vera.
However, there are also a number of creams available to buy, which have been specially formulated with all of the vitamins that your skin needs to stay healthy. Dermology is a top selling stretch mark cream that comes with the added benefit of a free trial to help you see the results for yourself.
Exercise is an important remedy for stretch marks for two reasons. Firstly, it can help your skin to become more toned and resilient to stretch marks, and secondly, it can help to prevent further stretch marks from forming when you gain weight. Make sure you exercise regularly to keep your skin in good shape.
Massage Your Skin
Massaging your skin is a great way to help improve circulation. Combining this well specially bought lotions, or home made alternatives, can also work well to keep your skin in top condition. Rubbing your skin with exfoliating ingredients can also help them to fade and become less noticeable.
The best way to reduce your stretch marks is to combine cream treatments with a number of DIY measures.
When you apply your cream, make sure to massage the area - this will improve circulation and put your skin in a better position to repair itself.
You’ll also need to drink plenty of water each day, and make sure your diet is balanced.
Self Help Stretch Marks Remedy During Pregnancy
Though there are other causes of stretch marks, pregnancy is the most common. If you are pregnant, or planning on getting pregnant, then start preparing your body early with a number of home remedies.
1) Eat a balanced diet - eating a healthy, balanced diet is essential not only for keeping your skin healthy during pregnancy, but also for giving your baby everything it needs.
2) Drink plenty of water - again, it’s important to keep your skin healthy by staying hydrated. Your skin will be more elastic, reducing the chance that it will break throughout your pregnancy.
3) Gain weight steadily - this is perhaps harder to control. There’s no avoiding the fact that you will gain weight quickly throughout your pregnancy, so preventing stretch marks could be difficult. However, you do have some control over the momentum.
Remember how much you need to eat: contrary to common myths this is only around 500 more calories than you are used to. These calories should also come from a balanced diet.
Throughout your pregnancy, you should be gaining around 2-4lb across the first 12 weeks, 10-14oz a week between weeks 12 and 28, and 2-6lb a week from weeks 28-40.
You should always seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about the rate at which you are (or aren’t) gaining weight through your pregnancy.
Preventing stretch marks is far easier than getting rid of them once you have them.
However, it’s important to realize that there are no guarantees, especially if you are pregnant - and around 90% of all women will develop stretch marks at some stage during pregnancy. They are also common throughout puberty, periods of weight gain and weight loss.
NOTE: You should try to avoid any sudden weight gain when you aren’t pregnant, as this is also a common cause of stretch marks.
Diet change strategies:
The simplest place to start is with your diet and exercise routine. In many cases, looking at the causes of stretch marks is the best way to help reverse their results.
To begin with, you should already be drinking plenty of water each day. When your skin is dehydrated, it’s more prone to breakage. This can also occur from drinks that contain caffeine, so make sure to drink extra water when you’ve had tea, coffee or soda.
When it comes to your diet, home remedies for stretch marks should mean that your skin gets enough nutrition to adequately protect and repair itself. This means eating foods full of vitamins, such as carrots, milk and citrus fruits. Eat plenty of nuts, as these include zinc, and eggs for protein.
Remember - it’s important to get medical advice if you are concerned about your diet or are making any sudden, drastic changes.
Vitamin & Nutrient Associations
Can Vitamin E help stretch marks?
Every single person with stretch marks wants a magic cure. This is totally understandable, as nobody likes stretch marks. Recently, people have been looking at the connection between stretch marks and the use of vitamin E to improve their appearance
Vitamin E contains antioxidants which act as skin protectors and healers. Antioxidants in vitamin E give skin a healthy glow and appearance by ridding the body of free radicals. Due to its skin healing properties, vitamin E has naturally come into focus as a possible remedy for stretch marks.
Although vitamin E will not rid you completely of your stretch marks, I’m sure you agree that any improvement is a good improvement, right?
Vitamin E for stretch marks can come in several different forms. Some people have had good success with vitamin E oil caplets. These caplets seem to work quite well on newer stretch marks, but have even managed to reduce and fade the appearance of older stretch marks on some women who have tried this particular remedy.
The caplet should be cut open so that the vitamin E oil can be applied directly to the stretch marks. After a shower is the best time to apply the oil as your skin is clean at this time. The vitamin E oil should be allowed to soak into your skin, do not attempt to wipe it off. This should be done daily for maximum results.
Whilst the oil has worked for some women, others have no had such luck with this form of vitamin e for stretch marks. Instead, some women swear by vitamin E supplements. That is, by simply buying vitamin E tablets and taking them on a daily basis. This form of vitamin supplement can also assist your health in other ways, as your whole body is reaping the rewards of the vitamin E.
Vitamin E and stretch marks still require some significant testing and researching to discover if it really can be a magic cure for stretch mark sufferers. In the meantime, try some vitamin E oil or supplements and see if it makes a difference to the appearance of your stretch marks.
Even when we try to eat well, we're disadvantaged. The nutritional content of most food has been compromised over the years, not only by deficient soils and modern production, transportation, storage and processing methods, but also by the enormous amounts of chemical and artificial substances added to promote growth, storage life, taste and appearance.
It's for this reason that more and more medical authorities are advocating the use of vitamin and mineral supplements. However, finding them in the right combination can be both confusing and costly.
The nutrition products I am going to recommend you make use of knowledge gained from the botanical world's 6,000 year history. They incorporated health building nutritional herbs with the best modern technology to help our bodies cleanse and detoxify so that the cells - the tiniest living units - can be as fully nourished as possible.
This allows the cells to grow, repair and to perform their functions with the best possible efficiency so that we feel and look better and are more able to prevent and fight disease. Once the body begins to clear itself of toxins it can more efficiently absorb nutrition.
You may find benefit from our information on detoxification as well as a bit about detoxing because of change of diet
It may be due to difficulties with your digestive system that is causing your body to be starved of key nutrients, vitamins or minerals. In this case you may find useful answers by reviewing our article on Nutrition For Your Cells. There is also more information here about why is nutrition such an issue nowadays?
It may be that your metabolism has slowed due to pressures that have been placed on your system through life in general or through specific “challenges” you have faced in the last few months or last few years. Review this by looking at our article about balancing your Metabolic Rate.
Further reading through our articles on Stretch Marks health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist you body to heal from the inside out.
We wish you well in your search for solutions to this Stretch Marks problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.
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