For most women, and even men, stretch marks are just a part of life. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with stretch marks, and in fact, you’re amongst the majority if you do have them, they can play a big part in our body image. If you’ve got stretch marks and you’re not loving them or you want to prevent getting them, read on to learn all about them.
What exactly are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are a form of scarring on our skin that appears as off-colour hued stripes or small marks. They can appear as white, purple or red-ish marks and are common on areas such as the hips, thighs, breasts and stomach.
How do we get stretchmarks?
Stretch marks form on the skin during rapid periods of growth such as weight gain, puberty and pregnancy. When the skin is rapidly stretched during these periods of growth, it is taken beyond its limits of elasticity causing the middle layer, the dermis to tear and deeper, darker layers of skin to show through.
Interestingly, you can also get stretch marks when you lose a significant amount of weight and the looseness of your skin causes sagging and as a result, stretch marks.
Can you ever completely get rid of stretchmarks?
Technically, yes. There are surgical treatments that can remove stretchmarks however topical creams and oils will only fade the appearance of the mark. That being said, there are plenty of non-invasive and topical treatments that can almost completely fade your marks.
How can we treat stretch marks?
While there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you have stretch marks, you can still embrace and be proud of your stripes while taking steps to reduce their appearance.
Collagen – Because the collagen bundles within your skin have torn apart to cause a stretch mark, using both topical and ingestible collagen products can help to rebuild the skin cells and reduce the look of your marks.
Exfoliation – Body scrubs and exfoliators are also a good way to help keep your skin healthy and also allow products to soak in deeper.
Retinol – Just like it helps to regenerate the skin on your face for a plumper and smoother look, it can help to do the same in areas on your body affected by stretch marks.
Body oils and topical creams – specially formulated products containing high levels of vitamins A and E work to soften and nourish your skin to help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Silicone and rosehip oil are two ingredients to look out for as they’ve both been shown to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Are there ways to prevent stretch marks?
For most of us, stretch marks are going to be unavoidable at one point or another in our lives. There are however a few things you can keep in mind to try to prevent stretch marks.
- Maintain a healthy weight and avoid yo-yo dieting
- Regularly exfoliate your skin to encourage healthy skin cell turnover
- Do your best to manage your weight gain during pregnancy. Common misconceptions that you’re eating for two can lead women to put on more weight than necessary for the health of their baby, leading to more stretch marks
- Keep your skin hydrated using body oils and moisturisers