- Women's Health
Guide on How to Prevent and Get Rid of Stretch Marks
This guide was written to help you better understand a common body concern. The questions: "What is the cause of stretchmarks?" and "How you can prevent stretchmarks?" are answered and homoepathic remedies (such as using olive oil) are given as well.
Top Tips For Preventing Stretch Marks
- Keep skin hydrated
- Keep skin moisturized
- Eat right
- Maintain constant weight, gain or lose slowly
Stretch marks are caused when skin expands in response to sudden weight gain. While skin does stretch to a certain extent, at some point - which is going to vary from person to person - when it is stretched to it's limit the inner layer of skin actually tears. In addition, there can be loss of collagen and elastin in the skin. This underlying layer of skin shows through the upper layers and looks streaked.
At first stretch marks appear as pink or purple lines. These are the result of damaged capillaries. Over time they look white. Stretch marks are the scars of the torn inner layer of skin. Stretch marks are most common on thighs, abdomen, hips, breasts and upper arms. Once stretch marks appear they are extremely difficult to get rid of.
Stretch marks often result from weightlifting or drastic weight loss, as often experience after gastric bypass or lapband surgery. Almost all pregnant women are at risk to develop stretch marks.
Stretch marks are permanent, but there are stretch mark treatments that can be used to prevent stretch marks or minimize their appearance.
Just for Kids - Teenagers can also develop stretch marks from weight loss or just rapid growth during puberty. TeensHealth put together a nice webpage that speaks directly to the special concerns of teens struggling with stretch marks.
MedicineNet.com - This site features several articles about stretch marks. All the articles are reviewed by a medical doctor. Topics include weightlifting and pregnancy as causes as well as a glossary of terms associated with stretch marks.
Will You Get Stretch Marks? - Medical News Today gives us this article listing the factors associated with pregnant women getting stretch marks. Some things are under our control, while others are not.
If you do develop stretch marks, try to maintain a sense of humor!
Stretch Mark Myths
According to AllAboutStretchMarks.com, these are the top ten myths regarding stretch marks.
- Only pregnant women get stretch marks.
- Only women get stretch marks.
- Stretch marks go away once you lose the weight.
- You can't prevent stretch marks.
- Only plastic surgery can treat stretch marks.
- Once you get stretch marks, you just have to live with them.
- Stretch marks aren't worth the time to treat.
- Stretch marks are expensive to treat.
- Teenagers and children don't get stretch marks.
- Insurance will pay for stretch mark treatments.
Prevent Stretch Marks
Creams and Lotions
Many lotions sold to treat stretch marks contain alpha hydoxy acid (AHA). This helps to exfoliate the topmost skin cells so that new skin cells grow in their place. These lotions provide subtle improvement gradually over time. They must be regularly used for a long period of time to get and maintain results. Look for formulations with vitamin AHA, plus vitamins A, C and E to aid in diminishing the appearance of stretch marks.
How to Choose a Stretch Mark Cream - This article at AskBaby.com provides some advice for how to choose a cream to treat stretch marks. For example, look for creams that aren't too greasy to be absorbed quickly into the skin.
Because stretch marks are caused when the skin is damaged, the healthier you can keep skin, the better chances you have at avoiding stretch marks. Eating foods rich in zinc, as well as vitamins A, C, and D, can improve skin's quality to prevent stretch marks. Nuts fish, citrus fruits, dairy products, carrots, and eggs are all skin friendly foods. Keep skin hydrated by drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water per day. Soft skin will be more supple and less prone to tearing.Just for Weightlifters
In addition to the other measures listed here for avoiding stretch marks, body builders should take care not to gain muscle too quickly. Steady muscle growth will allow your skin to stretch slowly, decreasing your chances of developing stretch marks.
Bodybuilder's Info - TeenBodyBuilding.com has a very detailed article with excellent information for bodybuilders of all ages. Stretch marks do not have to be a part of your love of body building.
Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy - The Expectant Mother's Guide gives us a detailed plan to help pregnant women prevent getting stretch marks. They advocate the holistic approach - the more measures you take the better!
WikiHow Stretch Marks - Here's another great resource in the form of a list. This wiki provides a five step program followed by tips to keep skin smooth and stretch mark free.
Covering Stretch Marks
In this news clip a doctor discusses laser treatment for stretch marks.
Get Rid of Stretch Marks
While using lasers to treat stretch marks is a new application, they are proven to improve skin texture when used for skin tightening on other areas of the body. Skin is numbed and then tiny holes are created in the skin to reduce the appearance and induce the skin to create new collagen. This treatment for stretch creates significant improvement in tone and texture, as well as an overall younger looking skin.
Check out this news story documenting one women's experience.
TopDocs - This article goes into detail about how laser treatments work and what you expect from laser treatment for stretch marks. There is also the ability to search by state for a doctor who can provide this service.
A physician talks about the procedure and results of abdominoplasty.
The appearance of skin can be improved and stretch marks made less visible with treatment by dermabrasion. In dermabrasion, the skin is frozen and then and scraped, or sanded with a special instrument. New, smoother skin grows in place of the removed upper layer.
Chemical peels are a process where an exfoliating chemical treatment is put on the skin. Like with dermabrasion, the new skin that grows is in better condition than that it replaces.Surgical Removal
Also know as a tummy tuck, abdominoplasty is perhaps the most drastic ways to eliminate stretch marks. The surgery achieves this by removing excess skin in the abdominal area, so if there are stretch marks, they are cut off. Of course, there are other benefits of the tummy tuck. A tummy tuck is the only way to achieve 100% removal of stretch marks.
Ask a Plastic Surgeon - Board certified plastic surgeon Michael Bermant answers questions on this site. Topics covered include treatment for stretch marks (focus on abdominoplasty), specific cases, and causes. There are also links to lots of before and after photos of tummy tuck patients. If you are considering this option, read up!
More Home Remedies For Stretch Marks
All these were found In Internet Forums that did not appear to be associated in any way with creams or medical treatment options.
- Vitamin E Oil - Apply Vitamin E oil after taking a shower. Do not wipe it off. Apply daily. If you don't shower every day, clean the stretch mark area with a wet cloth and apply. You can cover the area with band-aids or gauze (use medical tape to secure).
- Coffee - Grind coffee into a powder and mix it with hand lotion. Rub into stretch marks for about 60 seconds and wipe off with a warm towel. Apply twice daily. Results take about two weeks.
- Olive Oil - For prevention, put olive oil on all areas that could be affected by stretch marks twice a day. (Also works for wrinkle prevention.)
- Flaxseed Oil - Rub flaxseed oil on stretch marks after showering and again efore bed.
Diva's Skin Care Blog - This skin care professional tested four different stretch mark crème and compares the results. The test included women who had developed stretche marks during pregnancy, as well as because of significant weight loss. There are pictures and recommendations at the end.
All About Stretch Marks - Here is an entire website dedicated to the lowly stretch mark. While this is a great resource, keep in mind that the primary purpose of this website is to sell you the pulsed light stretch mark treatment marketed by this company under the trade name ReLume.
If you'd rather not go under the laser or knife, you can diminish the appearance of stretch marks with natural intervention. Here is a list of the best remedies that are out there.
Recipe for Homemade Stretch Mark Body Scrub:
Sugar, Olive oil, Cod liver oil, Vitamin E oil/cream, Aloe Vera gel
Mix together and work gently into skin. Exfoliating rids the skin of dead cells and stimulates blood flow.
Recipe for Homemade Stretch Mark Cream:
1/4 cup Cocoa Butter, 1 Tbsp. wheat germ oil, 1tsp. light sesame seed oil, 1tsp. Apricot kernel oil, 1tsp. Vitamin E oil, 2 tsp. grated beeswax, 1 tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
Mix together all ingredients except vanilla extract. Heat gently until the cocoa butter and beeswax have melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool completely. Store in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid. Massage into your skin.
Homemade Stretch Mark Lotion
1/2 virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup aloe vera gel, contents of 6 capsules of vitamin E, Contents of 4 capsules of vitamin A
Mix all ingredients using a blender and store the mixture in the refrigerator. For best results use daily
*You can also apply the gel of a fresh aloe vera plant directly to skin. Let it dry for several hours or overnight and rinse.
Recipes Source: Felicia Syring for KnowingWhatsBest.com.
Pregnant? Stretchmarks aren't the only thing you'll be dealing with. Click here for great online pregnancy resources.