Stretch marks are a stubborn and difficult-to-treat affliction arising from intense stretching of the skin. As a result, its consistent, uniform structure is disrupted, which in turn results in the formation of scar tissue. Admittedly, the complete elimination of stretch marks, especially older ones, is difficult, there are a number of ways by which their visibility can be significantly reduced. There are also methods to partially stop the formation of stretch marks. Learn about the causes of stretch marks and see how to fight them!
Table of contents
- 1 What are stretch marks?
- 2 Where do stretch marks appear?
- 3 What do stretch marks look like?
- 4 What factors contribute to the formation of stretch marks?
- 5 How to prevent the formation of stretch marks on the skin?
- 6 Stretch mark removal – how to get rid of old stretch marks and how to reduce the visibility of new ones?
- 7 How to get rid of stretch marks – cosmetics for stretch marks, or maybe home methods?
- 8 Massages for stretch marks
- 9 Stretch marks and physical activity
- 10 Home peels for stretch marks
- 11 Oils for stretch marks
- 12 Plant extracts for stretch marks
- 13 The best creams for stretch marks – what are their characteristics?
- 14 Pregnancy stretch marks and stretch marks after pregnancy – how to avoid and how to fight them if they appear?
What are stretch marks?
In terms of health, stretch marks are nothing to worry about, but cosmetically they are quite a nuisance for many people. Taking the form of red welts along the skin and then extensive scars, they adversely affect the aesthetics of the figure. Contrary to appearances, stretch marks are a very common phenomenon. They affect as much as about 80% of the population. About 70% of adolescents and about 90% of pregnant women face this problem. What are stretch marks and how do they form?
Stretch marks are peculiar damage to the connective tissue that makes up the structure of the skin. They are formed by stretching the skin in an intense and rapid manner. They form whenever our body changes its proportions to larger ones at a rapid pace, such as in the case of a dynamic increase in body fat or muscle mass. The function of fibroblasts, which are responsible for the formation of key skin-building proteins – collagen and elastin – is then disrupted. The skin stretches intensely and cannot keep up with the production of new collagen fibers, while the old ones partially break down.
Where do stretch marks appear?
Stretch marks most often appear in those parts of the body where the skin is most taut and most heavily stretched, viz:
- on the buttocks,
- On the thighs,
- on the abdomen,
- on the hips,
- on the breasts.
They can also appear on the back, shoulders and calves.
What do stretch marks look like?
Stretch marks are parallel spindly bands that change over time. The process of stretch mark formation can be divided into two phases. The first is the inflammatory phase and lasts for several months. The second phase is a process of fading of the lesions and scarring.
Fresh stretch marks are slightly convex and red in color (because blood vessels are also damaged along with collagen fibers). They can take on a purple hue. They resemble cracks in the skin or recently acquired wounds from cuts. They can be swollen and sore, and may itch, pinch or slightly burn. Over time, stretch marks take the form of whitish, pearly, slightly concave scars.
What factors contribute to the formation of stretch marks?
Stretch marks appear in both men and women, but the problem predominantly affects ladies. The formation of stretch marks is mostly influenced by hormonal factors (e.g. when the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, is too high, which, as a result, contributes to the impairment of fibroblast function and slows down cell renewal and collagen production). The cause may also lie in rapid weight fluctuations, certain diseases and the use of certain medications. Sometimes genetic predisposition is decisive.
Most often stretch marks appear:
- during puberty, as a consequence of hormonal changes and rapid body growth,
- during pregnancy,
- as a result of rapid growth of muscle mass,
- in professional athletes,
- as a result of taking steroid agents,
- as a result of an increase in estrogen levels,
- as a result of vitamin and mineral deficiencies,
- in the case of certain medical conditions (for example, in Cushing’s syndrome),
- in case of high levels of stress hormone,
- as a result of rapid weight gain.
How to prevent the formation of stretch marks on the skin?
Although we do not have much influence on the physiological changes of the body, but to some extent we are able to confront stretch marks. We can both reduce the risk of their occurrence and influence the degree of visibility. How to effectively counteract stretch marks?
- Let’s try to maintain a healthy body weight. Let’s eat a healthy diet and lead an active lifestyle. Let’s avoid drastic changes in diet. Let’s watch out for fast food, sweets, ready meals, salty snacks, white flour products. A diet based on such products often results in rapid weight gain (and thus stretch marks).
- Systematically care for the skin. It should be regularly lubricated, moisturized, made supple, softened, strengthened, and dead skin should be exfoliated on a regular basis. The more dry, unnourished the skin, the greater the likelihood of stretch marks.
- Let’s take care of a constant supply of vitamins and minerals important for the skin, especially: vitamin A, vitamin E, B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, copper, silicon.
- Let’s take care of physical activity. Strong muscles, often stimulated to work, are at the same time better toned, firmer and more resilient skin.
- During periods of hormonal fluctuations or changes in body proportions (e.g. pregnancy, muscle mass-building cycle, menopause), let’s use anti-stretch mark creams.
Stretch mark removal – how to get rid of old stretch marks and how to reduce the visibility of new ones?
As with all scars, removing stretch marks is not easy and requires a considerable amount of dedicated time. Admittedly, the thorough elimination of stretch mark scars (especially those acquired long ago) is a very difficult task, but the good news is that it is possible to strongly reduce the the visibility of stretch marks, even out the color of the tissues within the lesions and level out the unevenness to the point where the stretch marks will be almost invisible.
To get the best results in reducing stretch marks, it is a good idea to address them as early as possible, preferably while they are still fresh and before they become typical scars. With older stretch marks we also have a chance to renew the tissue, mask the scars and reduce their visibility, the groundwork is in choosing the right products, natural ingredients and skin care methods. Also important is our consistency in applying skin treatments and, of course, a dose of patience.
Stretch mark reduction can be carried out with a professional or at home. Among the professional treatments we can choose from:
- deep peels (such as those using glycolic acid),
- fractional laser treatments,
- platelet-rich plasma treatments,
- 3D fractional micro-needle radiofrequency,
Treatments we can perform at home include:
- mechanical, enzymatic, chemical peels,
- massages using special creams and lotions for stretch marks or massaging accessories (such as Chinese bubbles),
- use of intensive serums for stretch marks and scars,
- application of body masks,
- applying ointments and oils.
Advanced stretch mark serum with high effectiveness: Smooskin
How to get rid of stretch marks – cosmetics for stretch marks, or maybe home methods?
Both cosmetics for stretch marks and home methods can be an effective way to neutralize them and stimulate the processes of tissue reconstruction. As with many skin deficiencies, the best results come from the simultaneous use of several methods of eliminating stretch marks. For optimal results, it is worth combining daily application of a good quality cosmetic for stretch marks with cyclic scrubs, masks, massages and exercise. And let’s not forget about healthy nutrition!
Massages for stretch marks
Massages strongly stimulate microcirculation in the skin, combat swelling and promote better cell nutrition. They improve metabolism and accelerate the drainage of toxins from the subcutaneous tissue. They make the skin regenerate more easily and make it more resilient. For massages against stretch marks, you can use simple accessories such as a Chinese bubble, silicone brush with tabs, roller, rough sponge or electric massagers. It is best to perform massages 2-3 times a week for several minutes at a time.
Stretch marks and physical activity
It is obvious that regular physical activity promotes good health, impeccable mental and physical condition and a slim figure. However, it is worth remembering that exercise is also an ally of beautiful skin. When muscles work intensively, blood flow through a given area is stimulated, resulting in better oxygenation and nourishment of cells, including skin cells. Systematic training of the body parts in question makes the skin in these areas better tightened, more elastic, less flabby, less prone to cellulite formation and less prone to sagging, damage, cracking.
Home peels for stretch marks
Peels are extremely useful tools for home skin restoration. They stimulate blood and lymph circulation, improving the quality of the skin. At the same time, they have an exfoliating and cleansing effect, improving the removal of dead skin and stimulating the formation of new cells.
We will prepare a homemade scrub from simple ingredients that we usually have in the kitchen. Example kits are:
- coffee, cinnamon, oil,
- coffee and coconut oil,
- brown sugar, vegetable oil, lemon juice,
- sea salt, flaxseed oil,
- honey, oil, orange juice,
- ginger, honey, oil,
- almond oil, ground flaxseed.
Oils for stretch marks
Systematically rubbed into the skin, vegetable oils have an amazing effect on its condition. They have a multidirectional effect, rejuvenating the skin and removing various imperfections.
They improve microcirculation, accelerate skin regeneration, reduce the visibility of skin changes. They also have a nourishing, anti-inflammatory and soothing effect. They increase the elasticity of the skin. They help restore the skin’s uniform texture. They protect and strengthen the skin, thus counteracting the breakage of collagen fibers. They are equally helpful in combating and preventing stretch marks.
Oils we can use to level and counteract stretch marks include:
- grapeseed oil,
- macadamia oil,
- linseed oil,
- coconut oil,
- shea butter,
- almond oil,
- geranium oil,
- ginger oil,
- jojoba oil,
- argan oil.
Plant extracts for stretch marks
The fight against stretch marks will also be helped by properly selected plant extracts. They nourish the skin, revitalize it, provide essential vitamins and minerals. They smooth and unify the structure of the skin. They stimulate cell renewal, while combating the problem of excessively dry skin. By increasing the stretch and elasticity of the skin, they counteract skin damage.
For skin affected by stretch marks, it is worth applying:
- aloe vera juice,
- soybean sprouts,
- alfalfa sprouts,
- mashed avocado pulp,
- Centella Asiatica extract,
- turmeric paste and vegetable oil,
- lemon juice,
- potato juice,
- beaten egg whites.
The best creams for stretch marks – what are their characteristics?
There are many cosmetics for stretch marks available in pharmacies, stationary drugstores and online. The most highly regarded and effective stretch mark creams and lotions are those in which you will find a composition of many ingredients highly effective in stimulating the skin’s recovery process.
Ideally, among the active ingredients there are oils and plant extracts combined with vitamins that act nutritionally and protectively. There should also be substances that stimulate collagen production in the skin. One preparation that works very well with stretch marks is a rich cream with high activity Revamin Stretch Mark.
Pregnancy stretch marks and stretch marks after pregnancy – how to avoid and how to fight them if they appear?
One of the most common unwanted consequences of pregnancy, in terms of changes in the appearance of the body, are stretch marks. During pregnancy, the skin in the abdominal area stretches heavily as the fetus grows. The skin on the breasts also undergoes increased stretching (as a result of the intense work of the mammary glands and the increase in breast volume).
In order to minimize the risk of stretch marks during and after pregnancy as much as possible, it is worthwhile to take care of moisturizing and elasticizing the skin at the earliest possible stage of pregnancy. We can reach for anti-stretch mark creams or home remedies (such as applying oils and plant extracts to the skin).