Stretch marks: what are they and can I get rid of them?

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Although there are many different sizes, colors, and forms of people, practically everyone gets stretch marks. They can appear in children during puberty, in pregnant women, in pregnant people, and in anyone who has had major weight gain or loss.

Now that you know what stretch marks are, can you also get rid of them?
How do stretch marks appear?
Stretch marks, also known as striae distensae, are a common type of dermal or skin scarring that are typically neither symptomatic or hazardous but can be upsetting to some people for cosmetic reasons, according to Emilee Sandsmark, MD, an OBGYN at Banner Health Clinic in Loveland, Colorado.
When our skin stretches or shrinks rapidly, stretch marks form. The collagen and elastin that support our skin’s structure may tear as a result of these sudden changes. Your tummy, hips, thighs, and even your breasts may develop red, purple, or dark brown lines as the skin begins to recover. The medical term for this stain is striae rubra. These lines will eventually transform into striae alba, which resemble scars and are hypopigmented (lighter in color than your overall skin tone).
Stretch marks don’t happen to everyone, but hormone fluctuations and probably even heredity may contribute. Stretch marks are most likely to appear during growth spurts, pregnancy, and periods of fast weight loss or gain.

Can stretch marks be avoided and removed?
There are many over-the-counter topical medications, lotions, and oils available on the market, as well as Google-able home cures, that promise to prevent and treat those ridges and indentations. They are not, however, a genie in a bottle. Sadly, there isn’t much you can do to stop them, and occasionally they may never completely go.

In light of this, we consulted Dr. Sandsmark to get her expert opinion on some of the most widely advertised stretch mark products.

coconut oil and cocoa butter
Although they have been suggested as treatments and preventative measures, things like cocoa butter and olive oil haven’t been proven to make a substantial difference. It wouldn’t hurt to try either of them as neither is linked to harm and is safe throughout pregnancy, according to Dr. Sandsmark.

creams with collagen-elastin hydrolysates, vitamin E, and Centella asiatica extract
Stretch mark appearance has been proven to be reduced by some lotions like Mederma that contain a herb called Centella asiatica extract, however Dr. Sandsmark stated that more research is required to determine the safety and efficacy of these products.

belts for the belly and maternity shapewear
These products are frequently promoted to expectant mothers as ways to prevent and decrease stretch marks, but there is no proof that they do so. Dr. Sandsmark speculated that the issue might arise from the fact that these products are frequently and realistically worn only occasionally, which might not be sufficient to effectively relieve skin stress.

When an incision has healed, “some dermatologists routinely recommend this product for scar reduction,” according to Dr. Sandsmark. Since stretch marks are a form of scarring, you could also try this (and it might be more successful than, say, cocoa butter).

Tretinoin topical
In some tests, but not all, this kind of cream helped to improve the look of striae. According to Dr. Sandsmark, “This is really the only topical, non-procedural approach that has been proved to be of any effect and has been sufficiently examined to potentially prescribe.” But wait until after your baby is born if you want to use tretinoin cream; it’s not thought to be safe during pregnancy.

Before noticing any improvements, patients must apply a thin film of retinoid products to the troublesome area for at least three to six months (or longer).

Procedures performed in the office
Pulsed dye lasers, fractional lasers, microneedling, dermabrasion, and phototherapy are examples of procedural therapies. It has also been demonstrated that radiofrequency and chemical peels offer minor advantages. However, you should speak with a dermatologist whose practice includes aesthetic operations if you’re interested in these types of medical treatments. Depending on your skin type, the location and intensity of your stretch marks, they can decide which technique to employ.

your body in your arms
Our bodies are always changing as we develop, become older, or grow and shrink. The reality that no one’s body is perfect is something we must accept. There will always be things we want to change here and there. Therefore, even though you can try out many of these therapies and treatments to lessen stretch marks, the best treatment may just be to accept your body as it is, wrinkles and all.

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