How to remove stretch marks
What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are, in a sense, a kind of scar. These clear marks appear on the skin as a result of tears below the dermis, the thicker skin layer below the epidermis. This usually happens when there’s drastic changes and stress on the collagen and elastin that support our skin. When this happens a stria forms, this the elongated and sinuous whitish or pink marks that appear on the skin of the thighs, breasts, hips, buttocks or abdomen due to tears below the dermis.
Although stretch marks are more frequent in women, men often suffer from them to, often on the legs, back and arms. When they first appear they adopt a pinkish or purple color but afterwards become reddish and finally become white. The coloration of stretch marks fade over the years, to become less noticeable.
What causes stretch marks
The skin is stretched to accommodate the increase in body volume. The skin is very elastic but if it stretches too much, the production of collagen ─ a protein that is responsible for making the connective tissue of the skin─ is altered. The less elastic fibers break and stretch marks are formed.
Stretch marks occur at these times:
- The rapid changes in weight, both the increase and loss of weight as the increase in body volume during pregnancy causes the appearance of stretch marks. In fact, between 50% and 90% of pregnant women will develop stretch marks. Thus, the hormonal changes typical of puberty (breast growth), pregnancy and menopause lead to the appearance of stretch marks due to women gaining weight at those times.
- Hereditary factors also influence the appearance of stretch marks, so if the mother and grandmother have had stretch marks it is very likely that their daughters have them too.
- The problems of the adrenal glands that are deficient in the production of cortisol (Addison’s disease), the poor condition of the skin due to a poor diet in proteins or vitamins, the reduced intake of water and the dehydration of the skin (skin dry) increase the risk of stretch marks.
- Aggressive physical preparation programs, such as lifting weights and the use of anabolic agents (corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory drugs) to increase muscle mass, favor the appearance of stretch marks.
- Also, unlike people of African origin who tend to have less stretch marks, obese people are predisposed to stretch marks.
What are the symptoms of stretch marks?
Stretch marks tend to itch and burn when they are forming. They are elongated and wrinkled marks, similar to scars or scratches.
How to prevent stretch marks
To prevent the appearance of stretch marks it is necessary to moisturize the skin well with good quality moisturizers. It’s also recommended to use anti-stretch mark cream and apply vitamin E oil once a week, especially during adolescence and pregnancy.
Aloe vera is a natural healing agent and skin softener, making it excellent home remedy for stretch marks. Apply good quality aloe vera to your stretch marks daily straight after your shower
Regular exercise and moderate sports (swimming and tennis) can be very beneficial. Maintaining a correct diet from childhood is also very important: your diet should never be devoid of fruits and vegetables and other foods rich in protein (meat, fish, eggs and dairy) and vitamins A, C and E. It’s try to drink eight glasses of water every day to keep the skin hydrated and supple.
Massages help to increase blood flow and showers with hot and cold water help to maintain firm skin and activate circulation. Both are these are very helpful in preventing stretch marks and helping to heal the ones that are already there much quicker.
Those people who want to lose weight should go to a doctor or nutritionist to find the appropriate diet for them. You should never lose weight too fast, aside from being unhealthy, quick weight loss always takes it’s toll on the skin.
Types of stretch marks
A stria passes through two phases: the red phase and the white phase. When the striae first appears they look red because the skin is inflamed but once the skin has finished widening, the tension disappears and the stria takes on a whitish tone. Mature striae are pearly white sinuous lines, several shades lighter than the surrounding skin, flat or slightly depressed compared to healthy skin.
How to treat stretch marks
Stretch marks are more of an aesthetic problem than a medical one. In the market there are many creams and cosmetic products that claim to eliminate stretch marks but most are inefficient and often quite expensive. In fact, currently there is no product that completely eliminates stretch marks but some creams, gels and oils (coconut, avocado, lavender, tangerine, olive or olive) help to disguise them. These products should be applied in the affected areas by a circular massage.
The treatments mentioned prior can make stretch marks less noticeable. However, it’s important to know that stretch marks can not be completely removed without the help of a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon.These specialists can use any of the many types of treatments available ─from actual surgery to techniques such as microdermabrasion and laser─ to reduce the visibility of stretch marks. However, these techniques are often expensive and its use during adolescence is not recommended because growth is still occurring. In addition, some striae just fade with the passage of time.
You should avoid tanning because stretch marks do not pigment and actually become even more noticeable -which I am sure you don’t want. Before a pregnancy the best idea is to embark on some preventive treatment, which maintains the elasticity of the skin: massages, hydromassages or other methods that help to maintain the elasticity and hydration of the skin.
Techniques such as dermabrasion with aluminum microcrystals or laser therapies help to erase stretch marks. The first consists of a deep exfoliation of the affected tissues that forces the skin to regenerate and as a consequence, the stretch marks disappear. In laser therapy, the laser beam penetrates the epidermis, generating heat in the deep layers of the skin and increasing elasticity, although it does not repair the rupture of the tissue.
The medical journal Journal of the American Medical Association recalls that there are treatments based on substances such as alpha-hydroxides and retinol (vitamin A) but some of those found on the market do not have enough concentration to achieve the desired objective.
How to remove white streaks
The first treatments to eliminate stretch marks and revitalize the dermis were based on the application of tretinoin (acid vitamin A), vitamin C, chemical peeling , mechanical ablative treatments such as microdermabrasion and ablative laser treatments (CO2 laser and laser by Erbio Yag).
These aggressive techniques removed the affected skin, subjecting the patient to a long and annoying recovery after each session. The results obtained were not entirely satisfactory.
In addition, in many cases, when the mature white stria was treated, the healthy skin that surrounded it responded with a darker postinflammatory hyperpigmentation that, instead of hiding the stria, enhanced it. This effect occurred more frequently in skins of high phototypes.
Then the non-ablative fractional infrared laser 1540 began to be used . It is the only laser equipment that has been approved by the FDA for the specific treatment of stretch marks. The 1540 laser introduces energy micro-rounds that produce coagulation microcolumns of more than 1 mm deep to reshape atrophic collagen and elastin, reduce altered microvascularization and correct superficial pigmentary alteration.
In contrast, to treat mature white striae, the 1540 laser combined with the deep 1540 laser is used, as well as biostimulation by mesotherapy with revitalizing and restructuring substances such as silicon.
How to eliminate red streaks
Depending on the type of stria and the condition of the patient’s skin, different techniques are applied that complement the action of the 1540 laser.
The recent red striae are the easiest to eliminate. To do this, the 1540 laser combined with the pulsed dye laser is used, especially for red streaks, and targets the red color of hemoglobin
. Treatment results depend on each person, since, in reality, these techniques only induce the regeneration of the skin to be performed by the patient’s own fibroblasts. However, fibroblasts take up to six months to generate new collagen. Although the results are visible from the first sessions, it is necessary to wait between three and six months to observe the level of aesthetic improvement achieved. Generally, the treatment consists of four sessions that are applied every three or four weeks.
The mesotherapy is used as an alternative to laser. It consists of injecting into the body a substance specially designed to combat the appearance of stretch marks. Its use is recommended for the treatment of very recent red streaks.
How to remove stretch marks caused by pregnancy
One of the most frequent beauty rituals during pregnancy is to moisturize the skin to prevent the appearance of stretch marks.
Hydration should not be neglected in the postpartum either to reduce the stretch marks that have appeared or to prevent the formation of new stretch marks in the process of returning the skin to its previous state.
However, a well-hydrated skin depends as much on the diet as on the creams or products applied to the skin. For this reason, after pregnancy, it is recommended to eat antioxidant foods that help the body to produce collagen after pregnancy. It is also necessary to drink water regularly but not exceeding two liters per day.
Foods rich in vitamins C, A and E help prevent the formation of stretch marks. Vitamin C is present in oranges, kiwis, red peppers and strawberries. Carrots, spinach, tomatoes and dairy products are high in vitamin A and vitamin E is provided by foods such as avocado, wheat germ oil and olives.
On the contrary, it is advisable to avoid canned foods or food preparations with a high salt content because they dry the epidermis and favor fluid retention.
The body massagesThey help fight stretch marks. Very gentle circular massages accompanied by creams and vegetable oils should be done twice a day. The most beneficial oils are: argan oil, sweet almond oil and avocado oil, as well as rosehip oil, gotu kola and jojoba, previously diluted. In addition, the oil of sesame seeds, like aloe vera gel , has healing effects thanks to its high content of vitamin K, so it can be especially useful to treat both the striae of the belly and the scar of childbirth by cesarean section.
How to remove stretch marks from the buttocks
When a person gains or loses a lot of weight or does it too quickly, the skin stretches and if it is not well hydrated, small folds of skin break out and stretch marks appear.
The natural aloe vera gel and the pulp of the aloe vera plant help disguise stretch marks. These two plants increase the production of collagen and improve the elasticity of the skin between 60 and 90 days after the first application.
Vitamin E and cocoa butter as well as masks with avocado paste or snail slime disguise stretch marks.
Swimming can be a good method to prevent the appearance of new stretch marks.
Home remedies to remove stretch marks
Home treatments are less aggressive and less effective but may be useful when looking into how to remove stretch marks. These home remedies are best in the treatment of mild stretch marks.
Homemade lotions with vitamins or mineral blisters help treat the area. In general, these creams contain moisturizing and regenerating substances.
Cocoa butter, avocado oil, grape and almonds also moisturize and help regenerate the skin. Obviously, the results are not as satisfactory as those obtained with a laser treatment but disguise the stria.
How to remove stretch marks quickly
Laser treatments destroy scar tissue. As a result, the body begins to produce new collagen and replaces damaged tissue with healthy tissue, quickly and painlessly and without side effects. The skin reddens immediately after the laser treatment and the next day it becomes darker and begins to peel. After three or four days the desquamation ends and the body starts to generate new skin.
In addition, the patient does not need special care after treatment so he can continue with the daily routine.
The book Striae Never More, written by Karla González, Nutritionist and Professional Dermatologist, uses a totally natural method to eliminate red and white striae in two months.
How to disguise stretch marks with makeup
Once you kow how to remove stretch marks, you will probably have guessed that it still takes the skin time to regenerate and rebuild. In the meantime, you may be wondering how to hide stretch marks, so you can still wear whatever you want without feeling self conscious. There are many ways to reduce stretch marks via body makeup in your own skin tone
In addition to this, choose swimsuits that cover the bits you want to cover, which in turn may hide stretch marks. For example, shorts swimsuit for men help to hide the stretch marks around the buttocks and the upper part of the thighs. Swimsuits (swimsuits) full body hide the stretch marks of the chest and abdomen.
Whatever you decide to do with your stretchmarks, know that if you have them it isn’t the end of the world (since most people are in the same boat). Look after your skin and if you are prone to stretch marks, take time to mosturize your skin as a preventative measure.