Stretch marks or striae are long narrow scars that occur in your skin when there is a substantial change of weight or stretching in your body. The human skin is made out of three main layers, the epidermis which is the outermost layer, the dermis, the middle layer and the hypodermic layer, the third and deepest layer of your skin. Connective tissue starts to stretch due to weight gain or stretching by say pregnancy in the dermis or middle layer of your skin, then the elastin fibers tear apart. When cortisone levels, a hormone produced in your body starts to rise, your skin starts to lose its elasticity. That’s when stretch marks start to appear.
They may appear from a range of purple to bright pink and end as a silver or gray light color. By touch, they feel as ridges or little indentations in your skins. They are by no means necessary a health issue but mostly an aesthetic problem, but remember they are very common and most women and men have it.
They appear just about anywhere in your body, but are mostly common in areas where fat is stored such as the abdomen, breasts, hips, flanks, buttocks and thighs.
What are the causes and risk factors?
Pregnancy is one of the main causes of stretch marks. According to recent studies, 75 to 90 percent of women will experience stretch marks during pregnancy or after birth. Another cause is rapid growth, seen in puberty that will lead to stretch marks. Yo-yo gain weight is another cause. Putting up a lot of gain weight in a short period of time and then losing it will lead to stretch marks. There are certain medical conditions that affect connective tissue, therefore people with Cushing’s syndrome or Marfan syndrome will develop them. People who need a prolonged use of corticosteroids as well may have a higher risk.
A recent dermatology study found that there is a genetic factor. 4 specific genes increased the risk by 40 percent.
How can you get rid of them?
There is no miracle cream that will make them disappear, but fortunately, there are certain natural remedies that will help you diminish them and help you fade them more quickly and save you some money before you decide to go through the scalpel.
Remember that old acne treatment? Recent studies have found that applying these creams daily reduced stretch marks by over 20 percent. Retinoids will make your skin smooth and younger. Using extracts of Vitamin A creams will help you improve your skin, certain foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes will also increase the levels, so be sure to include them in your diet, but avoid these creams if you are pregnant.
Microdermabrasion is one of the few clinically proven methods that will actually fade out the stretch marks. The procedure is somewhat expensive, but sugar seems to work in the same way. With that cost benefit, it is worth a shot.
Mix one cup of sugar and add ¼ of either almond or coconut oil in the mixture. Later, add a few drops of lemon juice in it. Use the mixture to exfoliate, and rub it in your skin where you have the stretch marks. Make sure you rub the mixture for about 8 to 10 minutes. Rinse it off with warm water while you shower.