Stretch mark is not a disease or a health condition. Having stretch marks is perfectly normal and harmless. Stretch marks are scars that appear on your skin because of tear in the dermis (the inner layer of skin). Stretch marks appear as discoloration of the skin, in most cases being lines somehow different in color from the rest of your skin. While stretch marks can diminish, they cannot disappear completely. You are bound to have stretch marks on areas of your skin under which there is a lot of fat deposits. The likely locations include your abdomen, breasts, under your arms, on your hips, your upper arms, on your back, thighs and on your buttocks.
Causes of Stretch Marks
Tear of the dermis that leads to stretch marks can be because of several factors, which include:
- Rapid stretching of the skin – This is very common in adolescents, when they experience rapid growth because of activation of various hormones, leading to rapid growth.
- Weight gain – As you gain weight, your body expands, making the dermis of your skin to stretch as well in order to accommodate the expansion. This leads to stretch marks.
- Pregnancy – While you are bound to add weight during pregnancy that certainly causes tearing of the dermis, the growing baby also stretches your abdominal dermis, causing stretch marks.
- Heredity – The tearing of certain areas of the dermis can lead to associated cells becoming permanently so. This is bound to be picked by genes. In this case, you can inherit stretch marks from one or both of your parents or pass on the same to your children.
Stretch marks generally appear as reddish lines, which fade off gradually to become light. The lines are generally soft to the touch. As stated above, the lines are harmless and do not affect your body or skin’s natural function in anyway. Some women develop very attractive stretch marks during pregnancy that their partners find irresistible, especially on their breasts and thighs. Some men have also been found to be simply attracted by stretch marks on a woman’s public areas of their skin such as on their legs and hands. What makes them attracted to such cannot be expressly explained.
Treatments for Stretch Marks
For some women, the sight of stretch marks is unbearable. They will do anything to get rid of the same at all cost. Varied stretch mark treatments are actually available. Such include:
- Creams – Varied creams are available in the market that are used to minimize the appearance of stretch marks. Those that have been found to be more effective are those containing Gotu Kola extract, vitamin E, collagen, Hyaluronic, elastic and menthol as ingredients.
- Tummy tuck – This is a surgical procedure where the skin below the area where a stretch mark appears is removed to eliminate the occurrence of stretch marks.
- Laser treatment – Laser treatment is the present most commonly used method of treating stretch marks.
You can actually prevent the occurrence of stretch marks. Dermatologists advice drinking adequate water on a daily basis as one way of keeping your body properly hydrated and making your dermal skin elastic enough to accommodate any stretching force and hence prevent tear. Eating a healthy diet rich in saturated oils is another way of ensuring that your dermal skin is highly elastic. Exercising has also been found to aid in dermal elasticity.