Stretch marks are one of those skin concerns that can be hard to get rid of. They are known for being adamant streaks on the skin that develop rather unwittingly in most cases.
There is no health risk associated with stretch marks but being a cosmetic concern, they can cause distress and apprehension easily. However, with natural remedies and salon treatments, you can reduce the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite. Furthermore, skin clinics and dermatologists also offer many cosmetic services to treat stretch marks and cellulite as well.
To learn more about how to treat them, keep reading as we show you how.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Narrow lines or streaks on the skin that often appear together are called stretch marks. They form when the collagen fibres in the dermis layer of the skin are damaged due to excessive stretching.
Collagen supports the skin’s smooth and supple structure and imparts the skin with its elasticity. But, when various factors cause the skin to stretch beyond its elastic limits, the collagen fibres tear. In addition, lesions form in the dermis and present themselves on the surface of the skin in the form of stretch marks.
The colour and appearance of stretch marks can range widely depending on how new they are. Freshly formed stretch marks can be red, pink or purplish in colour. Also, they can have a raised surface and oftentimes are accompanied by associated itchiness and irritation. Scientifically, these are referred to as Striae Rubra.
With passing time, the bright colour of the marks begin to lighten and they become more contiguous with the skin’s natural tone. Eventually, they become silvery-white in colour at a later stage or can turn the same colour as your skin tone. Additionally, the raised texture becomes smooth- this is referred to as striae alba.
Stretch marks that form due to pregnancy are called Striae Gravidarum, however, they can develop on any part of the body that experiences excessive stretching. The usual areas that experience this and develop stretch marks include the hips, thighs, abdomen, upper arms, breast/chest, and buttocks.
How Do You Get Stretch Marks?
Any change in the body brought about by external factors or internal ones that cause the skin to stretch more than its limit can lead to the marks. Other than the expansion, even the skin shrinking can cause stretch marks in some cases.
You can get these marks because of the following reasons:
Pregnancy Can Cause Stretch Marks.
The body goes through a lot of changes during and after pregnancy. As the baby grows, the belly stretches beyond its capacity. In turn, this can cause marks on the abdomen, thighs, hip, and sometimes even on the lower back. Also, stretch marks can occur on breast tissue, due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.
Suggested Article: Pregnancy Safe Makeup: The Best Beauty Product for Pregnant Women.
Weight Gain Can Cause Stretch Marks
When the increase in body weight is sudden and rapid, stretch marks often form as a result of the expanding skin.
Puberty Can Cause Stretch Marks
During this stage of life, the body grows rapidly and causes the skin to stretch rather suddenly and beyond its elastic limit.
Muscle Growth or Bodybuilding Can Cause Stretch Marks
Weight training to build muscles can also cause stretch marks because the skin stretches as the muscle grows.
Underlying Conditions May Cause Stretch Marks
Medical issues like Marfan Syndrome, Cushing’s Syndrome, and some adrenal gland disorders are associated with stretch marks formation. They can either impact the skin’s elasticity and fragility or cause weight gain due to the hormonal imbalance created from the condition.
Steroid Usage Can Cause Stretch Marks
Corticosteroid medications or topical usage, when used for longer periods of time, reduce collagen levels in the skin. Decreased collagen directly translates weakened skin elasticity making it extremely prone to developing stretch marks.
Fact: Stretch marks prevalence can also hereditary meaning if your parents have them, you have higher chances of developing them.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks and Cellulite
Preventing stretch marks and cellulite involves an ample amount of skincare combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Here are some helpful prevention tips:
Manage Your Weight
Avoiding rapid weight gain as much as possible is important. In the case of stretch marks being caused due to medical conditions or an underlying issue that is causing the weight gain, the situation might not be under your control. However, in most cases, it is possible to maintain a healthy weight by making some changes to the daily routine.
One of the easiest ways to prevent these kinds of marks is to exercise regularly, to help keep the circulation to the skin at sound levels and also to keep your weight under control. A healthy and balanced diet that contains unsaturated fats, healthy oils, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals can keep your skin healthy too.
When all the necessary nutrients direct to the skin cells, the chances of collagen weakening will be lower. Essentially, do not subject your body to any form of harsh diets that cause rapid weight loss as sudden weight gain is highly likely once you resume a regular diet. For this reason, among others, Yo-yo dieting should be avoided.
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We always hear how essential it is to drink eight to 10 glasses of water on a daily basis. Why? Well, water improves blood circulation, keeps the skin hydrated and supple, and also removes toxins from the body. Additionally, during pregnancy, it is essential to try using a healthy diet. It’s important to follow along with doctor-approved exercises to ensure that the weight gain is gradual.
All of these prevention tips, that promote skin health internally, needs to be supported by external measures as well. For example, applying a hydrating and moisturising after every shower will help to keep the skin soft and supple. Furthermore, organic and natural moisturisers like coconut oil and olive oil can be used too as the skin easily absorbs these and they can aid in preventing stretch marks.
Diuretic beverages that reduce moisture levels of the skin are best avoided. These include alcohol, soda, coffee, and tea. If you cannot avoid them completely, make sure to keep the intake as minimal as possible.
Suggested Article: Hydration Hacks: 12 Easy Ways to Drink More Water.
Natural DIY Remedies to Reduce the Appearance of Stretch Marks
The shelves at beauty and drugstores are laden with so many products that claim to treat your stretch marks in just a few days or weeks. However, whilst they might be able to lighten them slightly, they don’t offer effective treatment. Furthermore, some of these products can contain potentially unhealthy ingredients like parabens, sulphates, and silicone. Essentially, the best way to avoid these and still reduce the appearance of stretch marks is to use natural remedies that use organic and safe ingredients.
Here are our favourite natural DIY remedies for stretch marks:
Aloe Vera taken out freshly from an aloe leaf is excellent for treating many skin problems, including stretch marks. Not only does it contain moisturising and healing components that will restore the suppleness of your skin, but it is also anti-inflammatory in nature.
Apply the gel once or twice every day until the marks go away. You can also add some vitamin E oil to it for extra moisturisation.
The abundance of vitamin C that is within lemon juice can promote collagen production in the skin. Simultaneously, its natural bleaching properties will lighten the stretch marks with regular application.
Apply the juice directly on your skin and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
Note: If you worry that lemon may dry up your skin, make sure to apply a nourishing moisturiser after you wash it off.
Suggested Article: Lighten Pitted Acne Scars and Body Blemishes with Natural Home Remedies.
Some of these highly concentrated oils can work wonders for your stretch marks. Popular essential oils that you may use include lavender oil, sandalwood oil, tangerine oil, and frankincense oil. Due to their high concentration, essential oils can irritate the skin. For this reason, it is best to mix them with carrier oils like olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil or almond oil.
Apply the oil blend twice a day and massage it into the skin.
Being rich in fatty acids, shea butter deeply moisturises and conditions the skin. It also has antioxidants in it and anti-inflammatory properties that improve the skin renewal and healing process.
Simply, melt a pea-sized amount of organic shea butter in between your hands. Then, apply it on the stretch marks and massage gently until the skin absorbs.
Try and reapply two to three times in the day.
If you plan to use to any of these natural remedies during and after pregnancy, consult with your doctor first. For example, for pregnant and nursing women it is important they avoid ingredients like frankincense oil. We always recommend that you check with your doctor before you start using any of these remedies.
Salon Treatments You Can Use to Get Rid of Them
The cosmetic complaint of stretch marks is a common one at skin clinics and one that dermatologists often hear. Professionals can work through means of using the latest scar removal technology to get rid of them. In fact, certified aestheticians can too perform these salon treatments. Here are the treatment options available at salons, spas or skin clinics for stretch marks removal.
Laser Treatment for Stretch Marks
Different types of laser equipment have been approved by the FDA for using them to get rid of these kinds of marks, scars, and similar skin concerns.
Pulsed Dye Laser Treatment
Pulsed dye laser treatment can help to lighten new stretch marks that are still red or pink in colour. The light energy from the laser simmers down the blood vessels and thus reduces the intensity of the marks.
Fractional Laser Treatment
Fractional laser is another popular equipment used for laser stretch mark removal. The light energy goes into the deeper layers of the skin and, in turn, this causes injury to the tissue internally. Following this, it triggers the skin’s natural healing process and encourages the production of new collagen. With the production of new collagen, the marks that were present are able to heal.
On the skin’s surface, these internal changes reflect in the form of lightened stretch marks. Additionally, this laser treatment for stretch marks also works for older marks that have become almost white. However, the main drawback is the laser stretch mark removal cost. This is down to some individuals requiring repetitive sessions to produce the results.
During microdermabrasion, a specialist uses a tool to exfoliate the skin using crystals. The exfoliation process works at removing the damaged the top layer of the skin. It also improves collagen production in the dermis. This, additionally, helps the stretch marks to eventually lighten.
Many use the procedure to treat scars, wrinkles, and even large pores. Furthermore, it is said that these marks can be reduced to a certain extent with just a few sessions of Microneedling.
How? Well, the professional will use fine needles to prick the skin. The injury due to the needles heals by the skin using the natural healing process. During this healing, the product of fresh collagen diminishes the intensity of the stretch marks.
Best Cellulite Removal Products
The DIY remedies and salon treatments recommended for getting rid of stretch marks can reduce your cellulite as well. However, it’s important to remember that they are not anti-cellulite in nature specifically.
The fat deposits that form under the skin, and give it that dimpled appearance, can be reduced using specialised cellulite removal creams.
Our top favourites for best cellulite creams include:
Soap & Glory Sit Tight Super Intense 4-D
This brand is best known for its amazing skin cleansing and moisturizing products, Soap & Glory also sells a cellulite removal cream that is great at restoring your skin’s smooth appearance. Its active ingredients firm and tighten the skin while reducing cellulite with regular usage.
Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream
The buttocks are a common site for cellulite and this anti-cellulite cream claims to tighten the skin and diminish those fat deposits within a few weeks.
It contains a potent form of caffeine that improves circulation and reduces cellulite. Additionally, its nourishing cupuacu butter and coconut oil nourish and smooth the skin. Furthermore, many women even regard this as the best anti-cellulite cream in the market currently!
Clarins Body Fit Anti-Cellulite Contouring Expert for Women
Clarins is a brand that many of us trust for its skincare products. In fact, this particular product is known to be one of the best cellulite creams because of its ability to give the skin an instant lift.
The lower body areas which can prove to be adamant against anti-cellulite products respond well to this cream because of its effective ingredient list.
Nivea Skin Firming & Toning Gel-Cream
Our list wouldn’t be complete without a budget buy option for best anti-cellulite cream from a drugstore/chemist. This particular product from Nivea contains lotus extracts and L-carnitine, which deeply nourish the skin and reduce cellulite in just a few weeks.