Everyone who has ever had them has wondered how to get rid of stretch marks. These colorful lines can show up nearly anywhere on the body, and they can be the cause of a great deal of self-consciousness. That’s why stretch mark removal is frequently sought after at the dermatologist’s office. Here is a closer look at what this phenomena is, and how to reduce stretch marks.
Answering the question, “What are stretch marks?” is the first step toward understanding them and how to minimize their appearance. Many people derive solace simply through knowing that they are not alone in their quest for a treatment for stretch marks. They are an extremely common occurrence and can literally happen to anyone. The bad news for women is that they are far more likely to develop this condition than men are. Nonetheless, there are men out there who are interested in getting rid of stretch marks. They are similarly helped just by knowing that they are not the only ones dealing with this condition.
While stretch marks can appear anywhere on the body, they are most commonly seen in places like the tummy, buttocks, hips and breasts. The upper arms and thighs are also frequently afflicted. Stretch marks usually begin as red or blue streaks or lines. With time they tend to fade to a silvery white that may still be quite noticeable.
Stretch marks usually come about as a result of skin that has been stretched beyond its natural capacity. These dermal scars essentially signal the deterioration of the outer layer of the skin. Scientists estimate that somewhere between 40 and 90 percent of women are plagued by this condition, usually after a rapid change in weight. The skin has difficulty adjusting to the sudden alteration and connective tissues grow weaker, resulting in scarring.
Although stretch marks are not dangerous, they may nonetheless be a cause for great concern. Women afflicted with the condition often become embarrassed and self-conscious and look for solutions to how to get rid of stretch marks. They can be the cause of adverse psychological and emotional effects, which is why so many people who have them are anxious for stretch mark removal.
Many women develop stretch marks during the course of pregnancy. By the time the expectant mother has reached the 25th week, it’s likely that she will have developed stretch marks. The condition is also common for women who experience sudden weight gain for reasons other than pregnancy or even those who undergo an extreme loss of weight. Teens frequently see stretch marks form as they go through puberty. Other times stretch marks are the result of training with weights or a medical condition.
Stretch marks begin in the dermis, or middle layer, of the skin. They get torn whenever there is rapid weight gain or loss. If these changes happen slowly and progressively over time, then the dermis has an opportunity to properly adjust and stretch. When it isn’t given this time tears occur, and they appear on the epidermis as discolorations.
The good news is that stretch marks typically lose color and fade over time. The bad news is that complete stretch mark removal is rarely possible. In most cases a treatment for stretch marks can significantly reduce their appearance, but it’s important to keep goals for treatment realistic. Even the best stretch mark cream may not be able to promise complete eradication. Still, there are topical treatments that can improve the appearance of affected skin.
While it may not entirely get rid of stretch marks, a stretch mark cream like tretinoin can make a big difference in the appearance of the skin. Tretinoin contains retinoic acid, and has been clinically shown to rebuild collagen. This helps skin to appear normal and healthy. In various studies researchers have found that the topical application of tretinoin reduces the length and width of stretch marks. While this treatment may be successful, it is not appropriate for use on pregnancy stretch marks. Findings suggest that the ingredients in tretinoin may be harmful to expectant mothers and their babies.
Another stretch mark cream, which is essentially a silicone gel, has also enjoyed some success. The silicone gel is applied topically at least once a day. Collagen levels typically increase with use while pigmentation reduces. Once again, studies suggest that this approach regarding how to reduce stretch marks will not necessarily make the streaks disappear, but they will certainly be less noticeable.
Microneedling for stretch marks is becoming increasingly common. Microneedling is procedure where microscopic punctures are made to the skin. When skin is injured, it begins a healing process that includes producing collagen and elastin and begins to regenerate itself– minimizing the look of scars and stretch marks. Regardless of which treatment for stretch marks is ultimately chosen, these therapies can stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, resulting in healthier, more supple skin.
Pregnancy stretch marks, and those that are caused by other rapid changes in weight, can be a major source of anxiety. Learning how to reduce stretch marks is an important step toward greater peace of mind. While it’s impossible to promise the complete eradication of these lines and streaks, techniques like laser treatment for stretch marks can produce wonderful and highly effective results.