You look in the mirror, and you see them. There are stretch marks draped across your body. They’re making you feel more than a little bit self-conscious.
They do that to a lot of people. The good news is that they’re not dangerous. They won’t go away completely, but they should fade over time.
The only circumstances where you need to go to the doctor about them is if they’re covering a large portion of your body. Other than that, there are little things that you can do to lessen their effect.
Before you can start implementing common remedies, it’s good to know what caused your stretch marks in the first place. Keep reading to learn more.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are long narrow scars that form when your skin stretches and shrinks at a rapid rate. The quick change causes the skin’s support system to rupture. As the tear heals, it forms the marks.
They often occur in the stomach, thigh, upper arms, lower back, breasts, and hips. They sound a lot worse than they are. For the most part, you won’t have to go to the doctor with them.
The only time we would recommend making an appointment is if they cover a good portion of your body. Other than that, it’s all a matter of waiting for them to fade.
Stretch Mark Causes
There are a few reasons why you may be dealing with stretch marks. Pregnancy is the most common cause. Puberty, certain creams, and medical conditions are also common reasons for seeing these angry red marks.
When a woman becomes pregnant, the hormone changes they experience can soften the fibers of their skin. When this happens, it makes them more vulnerable to developing stretch marks either before or after they give birth.
Almost 50 percent of all pregnant women have to deal with stretch marks. They’re almost impossible to avoid due to the rapid weight gain that comes with pregnancy.
Kids shoot up fast. They’re going through growth spurts, gaining muscle from playing sports, and their hormones are all over the place.
All these quick changes can take a toll on their bodies in the form of stretch marks. Doctors often recommend not treating the marks while a child is still growing. It will sort of defeat the purpose.
Collagen is the thing that supports your skin and keeps it healthy. Prolonged usage of corticosteroid creams can reduce the amount of collagen your body has.
When your skin no longer has the support that it needs, it will become more vulnerable to stretch marks.
Certain medical conditions such as Marfan and Cushing’s syndrome can reduce the elasticity of your skin. Not only will Cushing’s syndrome make your skin more fragile, but it can also cause rapid weight gain. Both of these things are a recipe for stretch marks.
There are a lot of risk factors of stretch marks that aren’t linked to weight gain and pregnancy. If you have a family history of them, that won’t help matters.
Women are more vulnerable to developing stretch marks than men. Having breast enlargement surgery is a rapid change that can make stretch marks form.
Most women who become pregnant experience stretch marks. Your risk increases, however, if you give birth while you’re still young.
Treating Stretch Marks
While removing stretch marks might be out of the question, you can lessen their appearance by using certain creams and lotions. If all else fails, your dermatologist can help you as well.
Go to a Dermatologist
If your skin condition is noticeable enough to have you feeling self-conscious, there are a few procedures that your dermatologist will recommend for stretch mark removal.
You can get a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, ultrasound, radiofrequency, and laser therapy. For you to get the best results, your doctor may use a combination of these treatments to help you.
For the most part, the side effects of all the procedures are pretty minor. If you put yourself in the hands of a skilled professional, you’ll only experience a little redness.
Creams and Lotions
There are many topical creams and gels that boast helping out with stretch marks. None of these products are 100% effective, but they can reduce the appearance of minor marks.
For mature marks, you’ll need to talk to your dermatologist. Whatever product you choose, massage it directly into your stretch marks at least once a day for a few weeks.
Don’t go to a tanning bed to try and get rid of your stretch marks. All it’s going to do is make them much more noticeable. You can use a self-tanner product.
The self-tanner will sort of camouflage your stretch marks. It won’t get rid of them, and it’s not a permanent solution by any means, but it can help.
Preventing Stretch Marks
The easiest treatment for stretch marks is preventing them in the first place. Eat a balanced diet to keep a healthy weight, and avoid yo-yo dieting.
For those who are pregnant, try to lose weight gradually after you give birth. Getting rid of all of it at once can cause stretch marks to form.
Kick Those Stretch Marks to the Curb
Do your stretch marks have you feeling self-conscious? While this skin condition is the bane of some’s existence, it’s not as bad as you may think.
Talk to your dermatologist to find out what you can do to fade your stretch marks and get your confidence back. For more tips that will help you take care of your skin, visit the Beauty section of our blog.