Every month or so we seem to get a new topic asking about stretch marks! And really, the answer to people's problems never changes, so I figured, why not give everyone a one-shop-stop to all their stretch mark needs?
What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch Marks, also known in the dermatological world as striae, are, simply put, lines that appear on your body - usually purple or red in color when they first appear, and which gradually turn to a more silvery-white color over time.
They occur in the dermis, which is the middle layer of our skin - it's the elastic part of our skin that allows it to retain its shape even though we move and stretch and grow.
Why do stretch marks occur?
Stretch marks occur when the dermis, that stretcy layer of skin, is stretched rapidly or overstretched, and the resulting effect is these scar lines.
Stretch marks can be caused from a number of things, including the following:
Weight gain (often related to natural weight gain during puberty, as a person's body is maturing)
Are stretch marks bad for me or my skin?
Not in the slightest! Stretch marks do not negatively affect the way your body and skin work or heal
I have stretch marks on my stomach/breasts/thighs/back/legs/etc. is that normal?
Yep! Pretty much anywhere you can grow, you can get stretch marks. Different people have stretch marks in different areas, based on where their bodies experienced change to cause them - for example, a person who went through a quick growth spurt when they were younger could possibly have stretch marks on their legs; a woman who experienced breast growth during puberty or pregnancy could have stretch marks on their breasts; a person who is doing a lot of weight training could experience stretch marks in the areas where their bodies are building muscle.
Who has stretch marks?
Everybody! Well, close enough to everybody can have stretch marks: tall people, short people, lean people, curvy people, muscular people, younger people, older people, everybody!
Will my stretch marks ever go away?
Well, not really. Like most scarring, stretch marks are permanent marks on the skin. However, like a lot of scarring, many people notice that stretch marks can fade over time, as long as you keep your skin and body healthy.
What can I do about my stretch marks?
The easiest, most cost effective thing to do? Learn to love them, or at least not pay them any mind.
There really is no "cure" or "remedy" for stretch marks, and there's really no reaosn there needs to be!
There are a few easy, healthy things you can do to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, or help prevent them in the future (note that not all of these are guranteed to work for everybody), these include the following:
1. Keep your skin nourished and healthy!
Healthy skin can heal more quickly and is less likely to experience damage - to keep your skin healthy, it is important to keep your body healthy, as well. So drink plenty of water, and get your proper nutrients. Also, keeping your skin moisturized is a great way to keep it happy.
Some people recomend cocoa butter, some vitamin E or aloe, others just like a good lotion.
2. Use sunscreen, seriously!
UV rays are incredibly harmful to your skin, and exposure to the sun can damager your skin severely, as you all may well know.
Tanning or suburns can often make skin troubles much worse, and tanning, especially, can make natural pigment alterations on your skin (such as stretch marks and other scarring) all the more visable.
But what about those creams they advertise on TV, or what about surgery?
Honestly? Most of the creams they sell, avertised to help reduce stretch marks, work just the same as any good lotion might. One of the main differences between a regular moisturizing lotion and the creams they advertise is that the creams may contain collagen or elastin, to try and mimic or replace the natural pcollage and elastin protiens already in our skin (those two are some of the things in our skin responsible for its elasticity).
And surgery? We're talking a LOT of money for a potentially painful treatment which could cause a lot more harm than good! Plastic surgeons and dermatologists are advertising everything from laser treatments to chemcial peels to "get rid of stretch marks" - but those procedures can leave your body worse for the wear if you don't react well or follow exact aftercare procedures, and is it really worth all that money (and it's a LOT, remember - insurance doesn't cover for unnecssary, cosmetic procedures) and stress and potential damage just for a few natural, unharmful lines?
I think that just about covers it! If you think I'm forgetting anything, let me know! [Smile]
(Originally posted by dailicious on the old boards here: http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimat ... 05122.html)