Stretch Marks – Causes, Treatment and A Lot More
Ever seen the parts of your skin grow too quick and resulting in the skin to look broken from its other parts and are long, narrow? Then you know what a stretch mark is. This is nothing to worry about. It is pretty common in general and occurs in various parts of the body like the stomach, hips, backs, shoulders, breasts and thighs etc.
This kind of occurrences happens when the skin does not grow normally and usually occurs due to pregnancy, puberty, weight gain or weight loss.
They take quite a long time and do not go away easily, but several methods help in accelerating this process of skin development.
Let’s get into some itty bitty details about the causes, treatments and various other ways you can help yourself with the stretch marks.
When you have an abnormal growth of skin, the skin doesn’t have enough collagen(a protein that makes your skin more elastic). Higher levels of Cortisone, a hormone naturally produced by your adrenal glands, can make your skin lose its elasticity.
Some of the most common causes are:
● Pregnancy: 50 to 90 % of women who are pregnant experience stretch marks during or after birth.
● Puberty: Rapid growth is typical in young people going through puberty. This can lead to stretch marks.
● Rapid weight gain: Putting on a lot of weight in a short space of time can cause stretch marks.
● Medical conditions: Marfan syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome are common causes for stretch marks. Marfan syndrome leads to decreased elasticity in the skin tissue, and Cushing’s syndrome leads to the body producing a lot of hormones that leads to rapid weight gain and skin fragility.
● Corticosteroid use: Prolonged use of creams and several lotions can decrease levels of collagen in the skin. Collagen strengthens and supports the skin, and a reduced amount can increase the risk of stretch marks.
The skin consists of three key layers. Stretch marks form in the dermis, or middle layer, when the connective tissue is stretched beyond the limits of its elasticity. These layers are connected with fibres and provide in stretching of the skin while also connecting them. But in case of excessive, unwanted, rapid stretching, it leads to the dermis layers to tear off, thus allowing the deeper layers to show.
These marks eventually fade away, leading to silvery, white, or glossy appearance, which is caused due to the pale fat beneath the skin becoming visible instead of the usual blood vessels.
Stretch marks can be caused by other risk factors such as family DNA, chronic diseases, BMI variations etc.
Vitamin C serums:
Vitamin C is crucial to the production of collagen. Vitamin C is used to make different types (18) of collagen found in the human body. Vitamin C is also required to form the main ingredient to produce collagen, called pro-collagen.
Without a healthy supply of vitamin C, your body simply cannot produce collagen efficiently. Additionally, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant which can also protect your existing collagen from free radical damage.
Vitamin C can be supplied to the body through many fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, grapes, are especially good sources of vitamin C. Using Vitamin C serums also helps. Vitamin C is also present in many of the available beauty products and also is available easily in the market.
Vitamin E serums:
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found naturally in foods such as avocado, asparagus, eggs, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
Vitamin E can be consumed orally through food, supplements and gel capsules. The body always provides a fixed amount of Vitamins to the skin in some form or the other.
Vitamin E oil boosts collagen production, a connective tissue that keeps skin elastic. With more elasticity, your skin will be less susceptible to tears and stretch marks.
It can also be taken with the help of serums by applying it directly on the skin. This helps in making and supporting new skin cell growth and revs up cell regeneration.
Aside from keeping stretch marks at bay by keeping skin supple and moisturized, vitamin E can also help prepare you for a vaginal birth and reduce the chances of an episiotomy.
Retinol/ Vitamin A:
Topical retinoid creams, which come from vitamin A, may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. These creams tend to be most effective for red stretch marks. Retinoids increase collagen production.
They may help fade newer stretch marks, but they can cause your skin to become red, irritated, or scaly. The effects may be less drastic on white stretch marks, or there may be no observable difference at all.
People who wish to try topical creams can ask their doctor about a retinoid called tretinoin. Tretinoin helps rebuild collagen, though it may cause skin irritation and may not be safe for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Retinoids increase collagen production. They may help fade newer stretch marks, but they can cause your skin to become red, irritated, or scaly.
Zinc is essential for collagen production, which is the connective tissue that holds the skin together. Zinc is also necessary to repair skin wounds. Zinc-rich foods include meats, fish, Brazil nuts and turkey.
Almond Oil, Olive Oil, Shea Butter
These natural creams and oils may help make your skin feel softer, but it isn’t clear if they help or prevent stretch marks. There was a report where pregnant women who applied these creams and oils on their stomach showed lesser amounts of their skin getting stretched.
The Final Verdict:
Prevention is the best way to reduce the number of stretch marks on the body. This can be done by various methods such as
● Eating a balanced, vitamin-rich diet, increasing the amount of vitamin C and A.
● Drinking water also helps.
As these can be unavoidable, using the above methods to reduce these effects. They pose no short or long term health problems, thus making them only a cosmetic thing.