Stretch marks are characteristic lines on pink or pearly-white skin. Many women, both young and mature, slim and fuller in shape, struggle with stretch marks. They occur most often when the skin is not able to stretch sufficiently, e.g. during pregnancy. Fighting this problem is not easy, and with time it becomes more and more difficult, so you should act as soon as possible.
How do stretch marks form?
Stretch marks are nothing more than scars that appear when the skin is not able to stretch and crack enough. When the skin stretches, the epidermis becomes thin and damaged, and losses are replaced by connective tissue. It is distinguished from healthy skin by its structure and color. It has the form of characteristic, uneven lines.
Most commonly observed are stretch marks on the thighs, stretch marks on the abdomen (most often after pregnancy), stretch marks on the breast (most often in girls during puberty), stretch marks on the buttocks, stretch marks on the back (in bodybuilders) and stretch marks on the legs.
Stretch marks accompany various physiological conditions and may be a consequence of the disease.
Causes of stretch marks
A direct cause of stretch marks is sudden stretching of the skin due to rapid weight change. This is usually the result of rapid weight gain, intense muscle mass gain, pregnancy or maturation (changing body proportions). However, not every pregnant woman has stretch marks on her abdomen, and not every teenager has stretch marks on her breast.
Many other factors indirectly influence the appearance of changes, for example:
to take certain medications.
That is why stretch marks and teenage stretch marks are so common – apart from skin stretching, we are dealing with a hormonal imbalance.
Dietary errors and stretch marks
As it turns out, stretch marks may have one more reason – improper diet.
Stretch marks are the result of mechanical damage to collagen and elastin fibres, which are the scaffolding of our skin. People with eating disorders or unhealthy eating habits are particularly at risk of developing stretch marks. As a result of restrictive or incomplete diets, there are shortages of nutrients necessary for the proper synthesis of collagen.
The quality of collagen deteriorates and the skin becomes thinner and less durable. When we gain a few kilograms after finishing a diet or hunger strike, the skin will stretch and the weakened collagen and elastin fibres will crack, which will be visible in the form of spindly strands on the skin.
The appearance of our skin will be adversely affected by frequent weight fluctuations or loss of a large number of kilograms in a short period of time.
Types of stretch marks
Striae can be divided into two types (according to the stage of formation): red striae and white striae. At the beginning the changes are red, sometimes pink. This is an inflammatory phase in which they have not yet begun to heal. Over time, their colour begins to fade. Many women think it’s a good sign and stretch marks will disappear by themselves.
No way! This is a signal that the scar formation process has begun. In the last stage, the lines take on a pearly-white colour. It is almost impossible to completely remove such fixed changes, and action to reduce them should be taken when we observe red striae, without waiting for them to start to fade.
Phases of striae formation
The first phase of striae (inflammatory phase) can last up to six months. Stretch marks are then easier to treat, so this is the last chance to start using specialized creams for stretch marks. It supports natural mechanisms of skin healing. If we do nothing, stretch marks go into the atrophic phase – they take the form of white scars.
These can be removed only with treatments such as: laser Emerge, Pollogen Legend (Surgen) and Dermapen/Mesopene, needle mesotherapy, Harmony XL Pro iPixel and CO2 laser. Treatments are effective, but are associated with incurring a cost per series.
The picture below shows when it is best to start using creams and massages to get rid of stretch marks (this is phase I) – then there is the best chance to get rid of stripes on the body faster and more effectively.
Where do stretch marks appear?
Stretch marks may appear in different areas of the body. Their location depends on the reason for their appearance. For example, stretch marks in teenagers form on calves, thighs and buttocks.
Obese people are characterized by stretch marks on their stomachs, hips and thighs. Stretch marks resulting from pregnancy are most often located on the abdomen, breasts and hips. Where stretch marks appear also depends on the gender.
How to fight stretch marks?
The later we take steps to reduce stretch marks, the worse the results will be. Therefore, you should act as soon as possible! The best solution is prevention. So if you know that you are at risk – you are pregnant, take hormonal contraception, your mother or sister have stretch marks – act now!
Prevention always gives better results than treatment. To some extent, we have an influence on whether stretch marks appear on our skin. Therefore, we can take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of their occurrence. The weight should be maintained at a constant level, through a healthy diet and moderate physical activity.
You should also control your hormone balance and treat any of its disorders with an endocrinologist. It may be necessary to give up some exercises aimed at rapid muscle development. Massages have a good influence on the skin, because they make it more flexible and improve its blood circulation, so it is worth using them even before stretch marks appear.
Massaging areas threatened with stretch marks is also a great opportunity to apply a good cream to stretch marks. Synergic action of the massage and cream will make the skin stronger and more resistant to stretching.
Stretch mark creams
The perfect solution is to use the right creams. Ideal should consist only of natural ingredients with a complementary effect:
Regenerating: such ingredients will stimulate the reconstruction of collagen and elastin fibers, which cracking causes the appearance of stretch marks,
Moisturizing: Moisturized skin is a strong skin! Thanks to such substances, tissues will not be susceptible to stretch marks, and will be able to defend themselves against damage and negative impact of environmental factors,
Firming: thanks to such ingredients, the skin will be able to stretch more efficiently, so that no new stretch marks will appear. In addition, existing lines will be reduced more quickly,
Strengthens vessels: strong vessels and efficient circulation will positively influence nourishment, oxygenation and hydration of the skin.
Such a rich composition of active ingredients of natural origin can be found in Strialys cream. It will be perfect in the fight against already existing changes, as well as a prophylactic cosmetic. It comprehensively fights stretch marks, but also deeply cares for the skin.
Stretch mark diet
What should a stretch mark diet look like? It should provide all necessary nutrients, be rich in vitamins, macro- and microelements. The condition of our skin is especially responsible for vitamins A and C, which are most often lacking in low-calorie and low-fat diets. Vitamin A is responsible for the ability of skin cells to regenerate and protects it against free radicals.
Its source are animal foods, such as liver or fish oils, as well as plant products, such as vegetables and fruits rich in carotenoids, such as carrots, pumpkins, broccoli, tomatoes, apricots, mangoes. Fats are necessary to assimilate vitamin A, so they must be delivered together in one meal. Vitamin C takes part in the synthesis of collagen, stimulates its production and protects collagen fibers from breakdown.
Its best sources are vegetables and fruits, such as paprika, parsley, acerola, blackcurrant, citrus. It is best to eat them raw, without any heat treatment, because vitamin C is sensitive to high temperatures.
Avoid sweets and processed products. They contain sugar, which destroys collagen in a process called glycation.
Stretch marks are often a consequence of obesity. It is connected with excessive secretion of hormones – corticosteroids – by the adrenal cortex. Their too high level causes fibroblast dysfunction, disturbing the production of collagen. We should therefore strive to reduce body weight, of course, in a balanced way.
When losing weight, it is better to avoid any “miracle diets” that promise a rapid loss of weight. These diets usually end up with a yo-yo effect and another weight gain. According to dieticians, a safe rate of weight loss is 1 kg per week. Thanks to this gradual weight loss, there is a greater chance that the effects of the diet will be permanent, and the skin will not be so exposed to stretch marks.
Treatments for removing stretch marks
For stubborn stretch marks that cannot be removed by the use of a cream, specialist treatments can be applied. This may be necessary for people who have delayed the use of appropriate cosmetics until the lines have become white.
You can select Remember, however, that even in such a case you should use a cream such as Strialys! This will make the treatment even more effective and prevent the recurrence of scars.
Although stretch marks are only an aesthetic defect, they are quite a big problem, often taking away self-confidence. At the same time, as in the case of all scars, it is very difficult to remove them.
The most important thing here is time – you should reach for a good cosmetic as soon as possible, such as Strialys. The best solution is to use such a preparation before stretch marks appear. Prophylaxis is a great idea for people who are particularly vulnerable to changes.