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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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Spotlight Features

Keeping the Family Strong Through A Divorce

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The statistics are stacked against marriages as the data shows that more than forty percent of marriages end up in divorce or separation. While that is a tragic data point, we must remember that life goes on.

This is even more true for the children that are a crucial part of the family and the eventual proceedings. The point of this simple guide is to look at how to stay positive and strong through a divorce and separation and how to make sure that the family can stay strong throughout the process.

It is undoubtedly a monumental feat, but it is quite possible and very necessary as it can help to maintain peace, prosperity, and general stability over the long-term. Let’s find out more about staying healthy, positive, and keeping it together for the long haul to ensure happiness and strength for everyone involved.

Staying Positive Amid a Divorce

The first point is that you must maintain a sense of peace and calm within yourself during these stressful and usually hectic divorce and separation times. Ideally, this event is not something you have had to deal with several times in your life, and it is a singular event.

But even then, if it is a singular event, it will be all the more impactful as you do not have much experience.

It is easier to stay strong throughout a divorce or separation, but it is much more difficult to do so due to the intricacies involved in the entire process. Remember that you are conducting the divorce proceedings for a number of reasons. The main reason is usually that neither people are happy with the partnership and choose to go in a different direction.

In that event, it is necessary to ensure that you dig deep down and comprehend that it is for the best overall. It may be hard to do so at first, but it is necessary. You must accept that it happened, and only then can you move forward into the future.

It is a normal aspect of the process for you to require some time to cope and come to terms with this significant change. But remember that you must stay vital for yourself and your children.

It is not only about you and your future but your children’s as well.

The Peace of the Children

It is easy to think about yourself during a divorce and forget about the collateral damage involved in the process. By collateral damage, I mean your kids.

Your children may spend countless hours screaming and misbehaving due to the issues that this brings in their lives. It is not just your life that is going through a sense of disruption but theirs as well.

Remember to have meetings with your children and to help them cope with the process. It is easy to lash out and be hard on your precious children for no reason, fight that urge, be a better parent.

Find peace by spending more time with your children for the sake of spending time with them. You want to make sure that you are healing the hurt feelings early on so that your family stays strong even with the adjustment.

The Strength of the Family

A strong, bonded, and hopeful family unit is still possible even during and after a separation. The process is not easy and will take work but will be quite worth it in the end.

Ensure that everyone in the process feels as if there is an anchor and that everything is not being ripped away from them. Show how life will be after the event and how it is possible to navigate through the turbulent period without too much angst.

Remember that there is a life after the event and think about the long-term during and after the process.

 

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How to Organize Hand-Me-Down Clothes – Guest Blogger: Brittany Bullen

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Organize Hand-Me-Down Clothes | Brittany Bullen | Chaos & Kiddos
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A big welcome to guest blogger, awesome mama and social media extraordinaire, Brittany Bullen! She’s with us today sharing some great tips and tricks to keeping those kiddo closets in order. And once your hand-me-downs are ready for sale, be sure to check out Using Your Resources: How to Resell Your Used Items and Buy Second Hand and How to Store and Prepare Your Used Items for Resale for the next steps to the craze that is kiddo wardrobes.
 
Looking for the easy button for how to organize hand-me-down clothes for multiple kids– without pulling your hair out? Look no further, people!
 
How to Organize Hand-Me-Down Clothes - Guest Blogger: Brittany Bullen

Now that we’re on our third boy, we’ve finally got this clothes organization thing down to a science. Here are some easy steps you can follow to set up a storage system you’ll love to use for years to come.

 

1. Invest in a fabric box storage system. Mine is from ikea and I can’t say enough how much I love it! More on that later.

 

2. When you can afford it, buy more of the same kind of storage system. I know this might sound like a lot, but we currently have 20 separate boxes of clothes in the rotation.

 

3. Choose your “current size” box placement for the kids’ room. Our 8-box shelf is organized as follows: Top Row– underwear, 5T shirts, 18m shirts, dress clothes. Bottom Row– socks, 5T pants, 18m pants, Jammies.

 

4. When the kids outgrow a size, squeeze all of the outgrown clothes into the same kind of fabric box. I have a rule that we don’t keep any more clothes than we can fit into one box, the ikea fabric boxes are the perfect size for this. Put an index card with the size on top of the clothes so you can identify it quickly.

 

How to Organize Hand-Me-Down Clothes - Guest Blogger: Brittany Bullen

 

5. Put the boxes not currently in use in a place other than the kids’ room, but preferably not too far away or you’ll never want to rotate them. Ours are in the hall closet next to the boys’ room. That way, when we need a new size, we just switch out the boxes. Easy as that!

 

It’s taken us 6 years to figure it out, but I can definitely say that this is the best, easiest, most efficient system we’ve used and we’ll be sticking with it.

 

What tips do you have for keeping your kids’ clothes organized? Leave them in the comments!

headshot.jpgBrittany lives with her husband and three sons in Utah. She is a playwright, composer, actress, singer, thrift shop lover, Mormon and aspiring vegan. She is the founder of the International Bloggers Association, is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science and the Cognitive Behavioral Society (’cause why not). Brittany has a B.A. in English-Writing from Denison University and has an imaginary Ph.d. in Googling stuff she wants to know. You can keep up with her at BrittanyBullen.com.

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Going After The Job You Really Want

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In the years that my children were in grade school, I enjoyed getting to know the support people in their buildings – the custodial staff, the secretaries, the para-professionals – and it never ceased to amaze me how the two latter groups consisted, in large part, of former lawyers, accountants, and business executives.

Similarly, many of the women stacking shelves at our local Gap store and manning the counter at the spin and barre studios were former accomplished professionals, too.

The pull of a low-stress job and a school-hours or flexible schedule must be strong, I used to assume.

But I was wrong.

True, working the same hours as your children is convenient, and having a job that you don’t ‘take home’ with you at night and over weekends, has its advantages. However, I learned through two decades of coaching and placing these women that it wasn’t the schedule or the workload that drew them to these positions. It was the safety.

Most of the aspiring women-returners I’ve met in the last 20+ years arrived at my office already defeated. When, after having a child, they were faced with the “all or nothing” choice to work 60 hours a week, or quit and stay home, they chose the latter, leaving behind careers that they loved and becoming part of the female brain drain that plagued (and still plagues) the U.S. Then, when they’re ready to opt back into the workplace, résumé gaps and related biases have made it difficult for these women to land.

By the time they come to me – a kindred spirit, having been one of them myself – they are discouraged and fully expect rejection as ‘punishment’ for taking years off to raise their children. Which, of course, is ludicrous, and I get right to work helping them erase that narrative from their heads.

But in the heads of the ones who don’t come to me, that narrative is on a continuous loop. Many of them are now helping our kids in the classroom and signing us in to spin class because they settled for ‘safer’ jobs.

A 2015 Women in the Workplace study conducted by LeanIn.Org and management consulting firm McKinsey found that 43% of leadership-track women derail themselves for child rearing at some point; 90% of them with the intention of returning. These women should be assuming leadership roles, growing companies’ bottom lines, and changing workplace culture, yet many are stuck. They don’t know how to properly prepare for their career re-launches and they get quickly discouraged by early rejections.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Women-returners are unquestionably employable. Employers my partners and I polled consider them the best hiring demographic. I’ve personally witnessed hundreds – probably over 1,000 – of them find fulfilling work in my small corner of the world (Connecticut).

Some things make it easier, of course, like keeping up with industry trends, staying current with certifications and licensure, and maintaining relationships with old clients and co-workers. But even women with significant skill deficiencies and long-lapsed credentials can return to work successfully if they have these five things:

1 – realistic expectations based on thorough research and honest self-assessment

2 – a compelling résumé that meaningfully accounts for her opt-out years

3 – a commitment to remediating skill gaps on the job or through inexpensive means like online classes or local continuing education courses

4 – aggressive (not a popular word among women, but spot-on here) networking to get in front of connectors and hiring managers

5 – flexibility and the willingness to consider unconventional offerings like temporary projects or low-paying internships as a way to get a foot in the door.

The economy is improving. The labor market is tight. The voluntary quit rate is at a 17-year high. Employers are competing to hire good people. And, these days, you don’t have to be perfect to be ‘good people’.

Your gapped résumé, your ‘not entirely perfect’ experience, your application that meets only 60% of the job criteria, are all plenty good enough now.

So, if you are wistful for more challenge (and money) than your current job can provide; if you want to get back on the corporate track, but are playing it safe working for minimum wage; listen up. Your time at home was valuable; its impact will be long-lasting, but you have an opportunity now to take advantage of favorable economic timing and get back to the work that you really want to do. Go for it.

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