Stretch marks are a common visual condition that many have, especially those of us who have had significant weight changes or have been pregnant. While stretch marks pose no medical risks, they are often unsightly and can ruin the appearance of your skin.
They are a constant frustration, and they’re hard to hide.
Because of this, many look toward ways to help remove these striation marks. This article will explore more behind stretch marks and shows a few ways you can safely lessen or remove them. We’ll look at old stretch mark removal, and stretch mark prevention options.
What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are long, permanent lines (striations) that form on your skin. These marks develop due to various reasons, discussed below, and can form in both men and women.
They are most common in women, due to the physical changes associated with pregnancy.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
There are numerous reasons why stretch marks occur. This includes:
- Weight gain/obesity
- Medical conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome
- Extended usage of corticosteroid creams
These will cause the collagen in your skin to stretch, usually more than your body is able to cope with. Because of this, your middle skin layer (the dermis) will tear.
The end result is stretch marks.
Where Do Stretch Marks Form?
Stretch marks can form anywhere on your body. However, they often appear on your stomach, legs, hips, and thighs. This is because these areas on the body tend to have a thin layer of skin which can affect the collagen levels.
Can Stretch Marks Disappear on Their Own?
Yes, sometimes stretch marks will disappear on their own. At first, they might look red, but then fade out in a few weeks and months to have a faint white look. However, with the use of various lotions and other removal techniques, stretch marks can be removed a bit faster.
Old Stretch Mark Removal Techniques
There are a handful of ways that stretch marks can be removed.
While a little pricey at a salon, laser therapy has become one of the most popular methods to use when it comes to treating stretch marks. While laser therapy can’t always completely remove the marks, it can significantly reduce the appearance of them. Most laser therapies will use red light as it helps to produce collagen and remove bacteria around the area.
This non-invasive option usually has sessions that last anywhere from 30-90 minutes. It will typically take a few months before you start to see results. While there are home treatments you can use, a professional dermatologist or skincare specialist will usually have more powerful laser therapy devices so you get faster results.
Light Therapy Treatments
Like Laser Therapy, Light Therapy is another popular salon option that has gradually entered the home market. These treatments involve shining specific frequencies of light onto the skin, which cause various beneficial effects. See our article on the benefits of light therapy for a general overview.
There are a few specific products designed to target stretch marks on the market, and perhaps the StriaLite Stretch Mark Solution is the most popular. It is absolutely worth trying out if other options fail.
Lotions tend to be one of the most affordable ways to help remove old stretch marks. Most of these lotions will contain petroleum jelly which helps to create a protective layer over the skin. This way, your skin can get to work repairing itself, including removing stretch marks. This is because they reduce the appearance of stretch marks and tone them so they don’t stand out.
One excellent lotion to try is Mederma Stretch Mark Therapy. This cream is quite effective, not terribly expensive, and is available without a prescription.
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This treatment involves a skincare specialist gently running a special sanding device over your skin. By doing so, it removes the layer of skin that is holding the stretch marks. In addition to removing stretch marks, this treatment also helps to remove dead skin cells and improve your complexion. Keep in mind that spa microdermabrasion treatments might be a little pricey for some and shouldn’t be used if you have certain medical conditions.
However, there are several home microdermabrasion machines that are not particularly expensive and can work wonders for stretch marks. The Trophy Skin MicrodermMD, which we reviewed here, is quite popular, and would be a good choice for tackling stretch marks.
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As one of the newest stretch mark treatments on the market today, microneedling works to rejuvenate the skin which not only improves its texture, but reduces stretch marks on it. Because of this, it’s often considered to be one of the most effective stretch mark treatments.
Microneedling works by rubbing a device full of small needles over your skin. While this might sound painful, it’s not. The needles have a slightly blunted tip which allows the skincare specialist to run the device over your skin without it poking you.
Like Microdermabrasion Treatments, it is possible to get microneedling done at a Dermatologist or with home treatments. Those found at Medispas and salons are often longer and more powerful needles that are not safe for home use. That said, there are many home derma rollers for stretch marks that can reduce the visibility of stretch marks as well.
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Preventing Stretch Marks From Forming
If you want to make sure that stretch marks don’t continue to form on your body, you can keep the following tips in mind.
Watch Your Weight
Most stretch marks are usually caused because of weight gain. Because of this, it’s important to watch your weight if you want to prevent the formation of stretch marks. Extra pounds will only stretch your skin which can lead to the formation of these marks. You can help to maintain a healthy weight by regularly exercising and eating fruits and vegetables.
Eat Food High in Vitamins A and C
Another way to help prevent stretch marks is to eat food high in vitamins A and C. Both of these vitamins are crucial when it comes to skin cell growth. By eating food options high in them, you can help your skin to stay healthy and firm as they will encourage new skin cell growth.
Some items full of these vitamins to consider eating include:
- Sweet potatoes
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is also crucial when it comes to preventing the formation of stretch marks. Water will help to keep your skin hydrated which can prevent inner skin layers from tearing easily. In fact, dry skin is often a cause of stretch marks. Due to this, it’s important to drink plenty of water to help keep your skin hydrated.
Moisturize Your Skin and Use Sunscreen
Another way to help keep your skin healthy and prevent stretch marks from forming is to moisturize your skin often. This will not only help to prevent dry skin, but keep it firm.
Sunscreen will also work to prevent UV rays from damaging your skin. UV rays are often the cause of collagen breaking down in the body which can cause sagging skin. Sagging skin can eventually lead to stretch marks. By using sunscreen, you can better help protect your body not only from stretch marks, but severe sun damage as well.
Use a Stretch Mark Prevention Cream
As a preventative precaution, you can apply creams designed to prevent stretch marks. This is particularly useful for those who are pregnant, or who know they will be undergoing some body re-shaping.
Thena Natural Wellness Body and Belly Cream is an excellent choice for stretch mark prevention, and will lessen the impact of stretch marks when applied consistently throughout pregnancy.
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While stretch marks are usually a natural occurrence, they can be prevented and treated.
We hope that the above information has given you some avenues you can explore to solve your striation frustrations. Your stretch marks can go away or be softened, but it may take diligence and effort. Good luck!