Stretch marks are streaks that appear on the abdomen, breasts, hips, arms, thighs and buttocks. They are not harmful or painful. It is caused when your body grows faster than your skin can keep up with. Your skin is elastic but when there is rapid growth of the body the elastic fibers under the surface of the skin breaks. At first, there might be itching, then red or pink streaks will appear on the skin.
Being overweight is not the only cause of stretch marks. It can happen to anybody- overweight or slim. Once the skin is stretched to its maximum capacity, the elastic fibers will break and those unwanted streaks will appear. The red streaks will eventually fade to silver or pink.
A lot of women see the streaks for the first time during pregnancy
Some of the causes of stretch marks include
- Using creams that contain hydro cortisone or hydroquinone( skin bleaching cream)
- Puberty – When there is rapid growth and weight gain
- Rapidly gaining or losing weight
- Being female
- Being overweight or obese
Most times, stretch marks fade away on their own. They are not painful but because it is not beautiful and maybe located at a part of your body that is visible for everyone to see, you may want them to disappear.
Stretch mark fade cream that promise to make stretch marks disappear do not work. They may make the marks lighter but making them disappear completely is unlikely. Some of the creams contain chemicals that bleach the skin. This will make the marks lighter but will not make them disappear.
Creams that contain Retin A or Retinoid cream can help in making stretch marks lighter. However, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your Doctor before using Retinoid cream because of side effects.
You can see your dermatologist to discuss other options like microdermabrasion or laser therapy
In laser therapy the dermatologist uses laser to encourage the production of collagen by your skin while in microdermabrasion a device is used to blow crystals on your skin. The crystals remove a layer of skin and stimulate the growth of new skin.
There is no proven way to prevent stretch marks. It may happen on your skin or it may not. This does not mean you should not take steps to help your skin and hope for the best.
- Drink water regularly
- Always moisturize your skin with rich lotion to maintain elasticity
- Avoid rapid weight loss with fad diet
- If you have a weight loss goal, aim to lose not more than 1 kg in a week. This will give your body time to process the change and know what to do with it
- Moderate aerobic exercise and strength training helps to keep the skin firm
Stretch mark is not a life threatening event. It should not stop you from enjoying life. If it appeared on your skin because of pregnancy, realize that you have nurtured and given birth to a wonderful child.
That is a small price to pay when that child gives you a smile or hugs you or says I love you.
You can also use make up to conceal it.
Exercise, a healthy lifestyle and diet rich in fruits and nuts will go a long way in helping you have a beautiful skin.