Sunday, May 20, 2007

All About Stretch Marks

stretch marks are scarring of the skin as the result of connective fibers breaking due to lost elasticity. They are the result of damage to the second layer of skin, called the dermis. They first appear as reddish or purplish lines. Gradually, they fade to a paler color and become less obvious.

Most people associate stretch marks with weight gain, pregnancy, and weightlifting. Puberty may also contribute to stretch marks as do breasts augmentations. Most commonly, stretch marks appear on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and breasts. For bodybuilders, they may also appear on the upper arm/shoulder area. They are primarily a cosmetic annoyance and rarely a health concern.

Preventing Stretch Marks

For adolescents and pregnant women, stretch marks may not be possible to prevent. Rapid weight gain and weight loss can contribute to stretch marks. As a result, rapid weight gain and intense dieting can cause stretch marks.

If you anticipate the possibility of stretch marks, for example due to pregnancy, you may try applying creams or oils with vitamin E, cocoa butter, and lavender. However, there is no guarantee that these will work.

Treating Stretch Marks

The best time to treat stretch marks is when they first appear. As they fade from reddish to pale, they become harder to treat. Some options for treating stretch marks are creams and laser treatments. Chemical peels have been used to treat stretch marks, but there is no evidence that these are effective.


If stretch marks on your body keep you up nights and a late-night infomercial on TV promises you a cream that will cure them after only a few weeks, don’t buy it. Most creams may soften your skin, but they won’t get rid of stretch marks.

However, some creams that a doctor can prescribe contain Trentinoin, which may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Before you use such creams, consult your doctor. If you are breast feeding, you cannot use Trentinoin.

Laser Treatments

Laser treatments are applied by a surgeon, who uses different types of lasers depending on the color of the stretch marks. One type of laser reduces color, while another treats faded stretch marks. Newer laser treatments stimulate the body into producing collagen to help restore the elasticity of the skin.

Even though treating stretch marks is difficult and sometimes ineffective, remember that almost everyone has them! Even your friend or coworker who you think has that perfect body probably hides a stretch mark or two. Maintain a healthy diet and sustain a healthy body weight to prevent new stretch marks from appearing.

source :

No comments: