Being a mom of three, I know how it feels having a few stretch marks here and there, and although I’ve had days where I feel hopeless about them, I’ve learnt to just manage and live with them.
Stretch marks seem to cause issues for many women out there for various reasons. What I think every woman should know about them is how they form, what causes them, and the different ways you can go about managing or getting rid of them.
What are they?
Stretch marks are long and narrow stripes or lines that are formed on your skin that have a scar-like appearance. People can get them just about anywhere on their body, but women tend to get them during pregnancy on their stomachs.
What causes them?
To first understand how you can go about preventing or even getting rid of these dreaded marks, you should first know how they’re formed in the first place. Basically what happens – and why they’re called “stretch??? marks – is when the middle layer of your skin undergoes consistent stretching, those layers actually tear, creating a mark. When your skin lacks the elasticity to accommodate the stresses of the stretching, that’s when the tear can happen.
Using certain harsh chemicals can also cause problems. Any products that contain chemicals like steroids (Research shows that corticosteroid can weaken elastin fibers and break down skin collagen significantly) this will increase your chances of getting stretch marks. So yes this is why some people get stretch marks from using some bleaching creams.
Prevention and treatment
The good news is that stretch marks can be prevented, well at least most of the time. Although genetics has a lot to do with whether you’ll get stretch marks or not, you can do certain things in order to prevent them.
One thing you can try is keeping the skin at risk for stretch marks moisturized. There are so many natural ways to moisturize the area that there’s really no excuse not to. You can use natural oils and butters like Shea butter, Coconut oil, and even cocoa butter. They offer natural and long-term moisture and work by increasing your skin’s elasticity and allowing it to stretch further without damaging it. Although this is not guaranteed, there is no harm in trying.
In pregnancy gaining weight too quickly can contribute to you getting stretch marks…now I know pregnancy is not a time to diet but please people you cannot be eating for two…I did that with my first pregnancy and I know what I suffered. Watch what you eat, be healthy and be active. Gain the weight over a period of time and you might just save yourself…. this has worked for a few people I know.
There are a few topical options for stretch marks. But you need to understand that topical treatments can, at best, provide some improvement so do not expect dramatic results or a miracle. You want to treat newly formed stretch marks; that is, less than six-weeks while they are still pink or red. Why? At the beginning stage, there is blood supply that can help with the effectiveness of topical treatments. You are most likely out of luck when the stretch marks turn light or dark.
Treatment of stretch marks
Alpha Hydroxy Acids such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, malic acid, etc can help with some improvement. Research shows that continued use of a gentle exfoliant can produce collagen production and thicken the dermis over time. Chemical exfoliation can help minimize the “appearance??? of stretch marks.
Retinoids/VitaminA – Retinoids such as Tretinoin (Retin-A) can give some improvement. Why? Research shows that retinoids, which are prescription products, can promote collagen production along with other wonderful benefits to the skin. The higher the concentration the stronger it is and the more potential you can get an irritation. DO NOT USE RETINOID/VITAMIN A if you are pregnant. You can use it after you have your baby.
Laser use is tricky on dark skin. The wrong type of laser can cause discoloration and scarring on darker skin tones. One of the most frequently used lasers for stretch mark removal on dark skin is the excimer laser, which works by stimulating melanin production in light colored stretch marks so that they grow darker and match the skin around them
I’m not going to lie; sometimes I still get upset that I have stretch marks. But to be really honest, they are a sign of something beautiful. Whether you get stretch marks from pregnancy or from something else, there’s no reason to be ashamed of them.
Learning to accept them can actually improve your life! They make you who you are so be proud relax and enjoy yourself!