Are stretch marks permanent?
Skin Care mattersSaturday, April 16, 2016
With Michelle Vernon
About 70 per cent of men and women have stretch marks or striae which are indented streaks that often appear on the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks and thighs, shoulders and calfs. About 90 per cent of women will get them sometime after their sixth or seventh month of pregnancy, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
If your mother had stretch marks, then you’re more likely to have them too, since genetics plays a role.
If you have a lighter complexion, you will tend to develop pinkish stretch marks.Darker-skinned women tend to get stretch marks that are lighter than their skin tone.
Stretch marks aren’t painful or harmful, but some people feel distressed about the way they make their skin look
Stretch marks don’t all look alike. They vary, depending on how long you’ve had them, what caused them, where they are on your body, and the type of skin you have.
Common variations include:
Â· Indented streaks or lines in the skin
Â· Pink, red, black, blue or purple streaks
Â· Bright streaks that fade to a lighter color
Â· Streaks on the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks or thighs
Â· Streaks covering large areas of the body
You may not like how stretch marks make your skin look, but they don’t require medical treatment. If you do seek treatment for stretch marks, know that treatments are only partially effective and won’t remove them completely.
The following treatments are among those available to help improve the appearance and texture of stretch marks:
Derived from vitamin A, retinoids — such as tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova, Avita) — that you apply to your skin may improve the appearance of stretch marks less than a few months old. Tretinoin, when it works, helps to rebuild collagen, making the stretch marks look more like your normal skin. Tretinoin can irritate your skin.
Light and laser therapies
A variety of light and laser therapies are available to help stimulate the growth of collagen or elastin in your skin.
This type of treatment involves a hand-held device that blows crystals onto the skin. These crystals gently remove a fine layer of skin, promoting the growth of new, more-elastic skin.
A Dermaroller works by prickling your skin, and tricking it to renew skin cells by repairing itself. It is known to help with: acne scars, spot marks, scar removal, stretch marks, cellulite, wrinkles, hair loss, and collagen production for more elastic skin. Injury promotes removal of damaged collagen.
Factors to consider include:
Â· How long you’ve had the stretch marks
Â· Your skin type
Â· Convenience, as some therapies require repeated doctor visits
Â· Cost, as treatments to improve appearance (cosmetic therapies) often aren’t covered by medical insurance
Â· Your expectations
At home care
Supposedly, the proteins in eggs whites help your skin rejuvenate. Try putting the whites on your affected areas three times a day and hopefully watch your stretch marks fade away.
The vitamins and minerals in the juice help restore skin cells, thus making stretch marks less apparent. Simply slice a potato and rub it on the troubled spot.
The natural acids in lemon juice can help fade and bleach stretch marks. All you need to do is rub the juice onto your affected areas using circular motions and then let it dry for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off.
Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter
Massaging cocoa butter or shea butter into your skin a couple of times a day will help moisturise dry skin and also help stretch marks to fade. And if you apply it throughout your pregnancy, you may have a better chance at warding off stretch marks in the first place.
Aloe Vera is another treatment that can be used both during and after pregnancy to diminish stretch marks. It soothes and heals your skin, and is gentle enough to apply daily.
Dry skin is more prone to stretch marks because collagen and elastin fibers require moisture to stay strong. That’s why most stretch mark creams are really just good moisturisers. You can avoid their artificially inflated prices and instead opt for a quality cream with a cocoa butter, vitamin E, or sweet almond oil base. Extra virgin olive oil and mashed avocado are also great treatments for binding moisture to the skin.
To promote moist, healthy skin from the inside out, drink plenty of water (your recommended daily allowance is eight to 10 glasses) and eat a diet high in vitamin C, zinc, and protein. All are necessary for cell regeneration and maintaining collagen fibre.
Stretch marks are most common in fatty areas of the body: the lower abdomen, thighs, hips, butt, breasts, and arms. Getting plenty of exercise to keep your weight in check and improve muscle tone may help prevent them or reduce their appearance, although other factors are much more significant.
The good news is, there are some things you can do to prevent stretch marks, as well as reducing the appearance of both new and old ones. The marks won’t completely go away if prevalent ,but will diminish with recommended treatments after time.
Michelle Vernon is a Licensed Esthetician and Proprietor of the Body Studio Skincare located at 23 Central Plaza, Kingston 10
She may be reached at:
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