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Stretch marks: Why they appear and how to get rid of them

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What are stretch marks?

Basically, stretch marks are scars or disfiguring lesions. There are multiple names for these types of marks: striae, striae atrophicans, striae gravidarum, and striae distensae.

Although the names may sound intimidating, stretch marks are not really physically dangerous. But, developing them may negatively affect self-esteem and self-image issues. In today’s world of photoshop, these marks can become a cosmetic concern for many women.

How do stretch marks form?

Stretch marks are scar types that develop when our skin shrinks or stretches in a short span of time. The sudden change causes the underlying collagen and elastin that act as a support to our skin to rupture. These marks appear after the skin starts to heal.

The reasons which lead to stretch marks include pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, and so on. The skin cannot return back to its normal state after this period of intense growth. Even sudden growth spurts during puberty can cause stretch marks.

The most commonly affected areas are the abdomen, hips, buttocks, breasts, flanks, and thighs.

How can you get rid of stretch marks?

Before we list the different ways in which you can try to get rid of stretch marks, we like to point out that a single treatment may not work for everyone while some products may not work at all.

So, it’s mostly a trial and error game. Again, using these treatments does not guarantee 100% stretch mark removal but, you may see a reduction in the overall appearance.

Using stretch mark creams, gels, and lotions

Initially, there were concerns that using stretch mark creams and lotions were not really that helpful for stretch mark removal. Researchers then studied these topicals and concluded that applying the products diligently does have the potential to fade stretch marks.

Also, we would like to point out that stretch mark creams can be of two types: preventative and curative. These are two separate formulas that have to be used at two different times.

You should use the preventative stretch mark cream formula to prevent the appearance of stretch marks. You have to apply the cream before the stretch marks have even appeared. In the case of the curative formula, your stretch marks have already formed and you can use the cream to reduce its appearance.

Remember, these treatments take time but they most certainly do work to improve the texture of your skin.

Applying prescription medication

Research studies have proved that using prescription medication like hyaluronic acid and tretinoin can be really helpful to make the stretch marks less noticeable. These prescription medications can be brought over the counter and are very easily available in most pharmacies.

A type of retinoid, tretinoin is a prescription cream that needs to be directly massaged onto the stretch marks. You can also opt for retinol which is another type of retinoid to facilitate the fading of your stretch marks.

Using effective natural remedies

We are already aware of how helpful natural remedies can be. There are just so many home remedies that can be created using natural ingredients like coconut oil, almond oil, vitamin E oil, cocoa butter, and so on.

The idea here is to create a simple DIY that you have to make sure to follow regularly. For example, you can make a sugar and coconut oil mixture. Take one cup of sugar along with 1/4 cup of coconut oil and add a few drops of lemon juice to it. The overall consistency of this mixture has to resemble that of wet sand.

Massage this mixture on the stretch marks for about 10 to 15 minutes in a circular motion. It should be interesting to note that rubbing sugar on stretch marks is actually a common microdermabrasion method that has been used for many years.

Rubbing aloe vera gel is another home remedy that can be really effective to make your stretch marks less noticeable. Aloe vera has been used for skincare for many years now. Not only does this ingredient replenishes and nourishes the skin, but it also helps to improve the skin texture. In short,  it is exactly what your skin needs in case of stretch marks.

We put personally suggest you use aloe vera gel that is 100% natural. For this purpose, you can buy an aloe vera plant and use the fresh gel every day. If you decide to go for store-bought aloe vera gel, make a careful note of the ingredients used to create it. The product should not contain any harmful chemicals that can cause allergic reactions to your skin.

Opting for procedures carried out by dermatologists

A dermatologist can perform different procedures to help reduce your stretch marks but none of them actually guarantee complete removal. These procedures include the following:

  • Laser therapy
  • Radiofrequency
  • Chemical peel
  • Ultrasound
  • Microdermabrasion

Choosing to go for laser therapy or light therapy, for example, can be one of the best ways of removing stretch marks quickly and efficiently. In fact, even the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery recognizes this method as one of the most effective ways for stretch marks removal.

Under this procedure, a dermatologist will use a beam of light to break down your stretch marks gently. As you might have realized, laser therapy is actually a non-surgical procedure. This process lasts for about 30 minutes and can tremendously help to enhance the natural texture of your skin. In addition to this, the results are almost instantaneous.

Each of these procedures has its own set of plus points. There might even be times when your dermatologist will employ the use of more than one procedure for effective results. Having said this, some of these procedures may have possible side-effects. It’ll be best that you talk to your dermatologist to select a method that would work best for you. Try to schedule an appointment with the dermatologist that is board-certified and experienced.

Resources— American Academy of Dermatology, Very Well Family

Hey all! Big thanks to Katy Blevins for handing over the reins to me at the end of 2017 to fulfill my new years resolution to write...often! Based in Miami, you can find me blogging about family life as a mother of two young kids. But i'll also continue the Chaos and Kiddos theme of business, fashion, parenting, product reviews, and...well, I could go on and on.

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