This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
Stretch marks are a common part of pregnancy for many women. Many factors of pregnancy can lead to stretch marks anywhere on our bodies. When our skin stretches or shrinks rapidly, bands of lines known as stretch marks will appear and may vary in color. Most people have stretch marks, regardless of their weight. Stretch marks can occur with rapid weight gain or loss because the skin will stretch and shrink quickly. You may develop stretch marks during your pregnancy or after birth in these areas:
- Upper arms
What causes stretch marks
Stretch marks occur due to two primary factors:
- Skin stretching: Stretch marks can develop when the skin is stretched beyond its normal capacity.
- Elevated cortisone levels: Cortisone is a hormone naturally synthesized by the adrenal glands. Stretch marks can develop when excessive levels of cortisone in the body lead to a reduction of the skin's elasticity.
Moreover, certain situations increase the likelihood of stretch marks:
- Pregnancy: Many women experience stretch marks during pregnancy as the skin stretches to accommodate the growing fetus, especially on their stomachs. Continuous stretching and pulling can result in the development of stretch marks.
- Rapid weight fluctuations: Stretch marks may also appear when a person undergoes rapid weight gain or loss. Adolescents and teenagers might notice stretch marks following sudden growth spurts from puberty.
- Use of corticosteroids: The application of corticosteroid creams, lotions, or pills can contribute to the development of stretch marks by reducing the skin's ability to stretch.
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How to treat stretch marks
Stretch marks are naturally occurring scarring that will fade over time. There is no need to treat it. However, some products and medical treatments may help with lessening the appearance of stretch marks.
Here are some common treatments:
- Moisturizers may minimize or eliminate stretch marks, but it is not guaranteed to completely remove them. But it may lessen the appearance faster than if they are left to fade on their own. We recommend trying our Kushae Premiere Silk Body Oil - the only moisturizing, non-staining skin oil that improves skin elasticity, reduces inflammation, and boosts mood. Our fast-absorbing dry oil blend provides hydrating moisture to the bikini area, cuticles, face, legs, arms, and even your "hair down there." PubMed and Scientific Information Database tells all in studies proving that lemon essential oil – one of our featured ingredients – is a powerful mood-improving agent. Coupled with its gentle exfoliating power and skin elasticity-enhancing qualities, our oil can help you minimize the appearance of stretch marks and alleviate itchiness.
- Prescription creams: Specific topical treatments available by prescription, such as tretinoin or hyaluronic acid creams, may help make new stretch marks less visible.
- Laser therapies: Pulsed dye laser therapy is a medical treatment that helps stimulate collagen and elastin production and works best on newer stretch marks. You may experience skin discoloration from this laser therapy if you are darker skin. There is also fractional photothermolysis - a laser treatment that targets small areas of the skin and is similar to pulsed dye laser therapy but carries less risk of skin damage. Lastly, excimer laser therapy stimulates melanin production to match the stretch marks' color with the surrounding skin.
- Microdermabrasion: This treatment involves using tiny crystals to polish the skin; microdermabrasion can reveal new skin under the more elastic stretch marks and potentially improve the appearance of older stretch marks.
It is crucial to understand that there is no guarantee that any natural treatment, medical procedure, or prescription medicine can completely remove stretch marks. Additionally, medical treatments for stretch marks are expensive and carry some risk of side effects, including swelling, skin irritation, and redness.
How to help prevent stretch marks
Stretch marks prevention may work for some people because some of us may be predisposed to them because of genetics. When trying to prevent stretch marks, make sure you stay hydrated, maintain a balanced diet, and engage in regular exercise. By doing these three things, you can avert stretch marks caused by abrupt changes in weight, including those occurring during pregnancy.
There are ways to prevent stretch marks, but remember that genetics play a significant role in stretch marks. There is no guaranteed method to completely prevent them, even with the consistent use of oils, lotions, or creams. Ultimately, it is essential to embrace that stretch marks are natural, common, and do not harm one's health.