Stretch marks (Latin striae – strips;), skin atrophy strip, strip atrophoderma – a kind of atrophy (defect) of the skin in the form of narrow wavy bands (strips) of different widths, of white to reddish-purple color, localized mainly in the areas of maximum extension of the skin.
Stretch marks do not cause physical discomfort and in a couple of years get discolored. However, they don’t look appealing, causing some moral discomfort. Typically, stretch marks appear in the form of atrophic scars on the chest, abdomen, thighs and buttocks of the athletes who are gaining the muscle weight fast. The stretch marks may also appear on the inside of the arms and shoulders.
However, the hot topic of any mother-to-be is the Striae gravidarum (pregnancy stretch marks). Even though the issue is not the most painful one, the stretch marks are not the least problem of many mothers. There is a wide-spread opinion that it’s impossible to get rid of them. But is that really so? When and why do stretch marks often appear? How to remove stretch marks fast, safely and with minimal cost?
A lot of people, both women, and men have stretch marks on their skin (striae). And if men don’t take the presence of these stripes on skin to heart, stretch marks can actually disturb a self-perception of a woman. The stretch marks have no age limitations. The mechanism stretch marks formation is as follows: in case, the area of skin stretches in a short period of time the layers that are closer to the surface become thinner and even tear under the pressure. After some time, the tears are replaced with conjunctive tissue.
At first stretch marks have dark red color, but with time grow lighter and become almost invisible. Striae appear during pregnancy if a woman suddenly gains too much weight and sometimes because of some endocrinological diseases as an aggravating factor as well as, normally, at growing age (puberty striae, or teenage striae).
Mostly, women are concerned about the stretch marks, which appear on the belly during pregnancy. In winter, they’re seldom seen under clothes, while in summer even 1-2 years old striae will be visible as white stripes and small hollows, especially after sunbathing. But don’t panic – there are ways to remove those stretch marks you already have or, at least, make them less noticeable as well as prevent the appearance of the new stretch marks.
How to get rid of stretch marks and prevent them during pregnancy?
Tips to help you remove stretch marks
Sports. Physical exercise prevents the appearance of stretch marks because due to the exercise skin tone is maintained. Sports help to keep up your weight on the same level. Of course, it won’t aid you to remove stretch marks that have already formed after pregnancy but it’ll help to prevent new ones. New mothers are allowed to do sports as early as 2-3 months after childbirth.
Wearing the right underwear. It’s advised to wear bandage during pregnancy and the first days after delivery. And, of course, a bra. During pregnancy and breastfeeding period lacteal glands become considerably larger and need support. Otherwise stretch marks on breasts will definitely remain after childbirth.
Laser therapy. This method has a success in removing stretch marks. With the help of laser therapy procedures, “new” stretch marks grow lighter and “old” ones gain pigmentation what makes it possible to make them barely visible. Laser polishing of stretch marks is a really effective procedure. However, before taking this course of action you should wait till a few months after delivery pass. It should be noted that after this treatment crusts can form on your skin, but they will peel off by themselves after approximately two weeks since the procedure. The price of laser polishing may vary in different clinics and totals about 450$ per session.
Mesotherapy. During this procedure medications and nutrient substances are injected directly under the skin. The components of medical “cocktail” are chosen for each person individually and they usually are vegetable extracts, enzymes, amino acids, and collagen. This method is very effective and after ten sessions the condition of your skin will have already improved.
Moisturizing creams against stretch marks. Main components of those are: elastin, collagen, retinoids and vitamin E. Due to the regular everyday use of the cream striae won’t be so deep if they’d appear at all.
Vacuum massage. As a rule, it’s applied with the help of the device which effect is based on “suction” of the skin. As a result of this massage the state of skin, muscles, blood vessels and conjunctive tissue gets better. Thanks to the pressure differentials the blood flow inside the tissues intensifies, vessels become stronger, skin regeneration – faster. You can start a course of vacuum massage immediately after the end of a postpartum period.
Folk medicine methods. People at all times used olive and vegetable oils to prevent stretch marks. But instead of them long ago more effective and handy creams came. They still contain essential oils and natural components, combined with the compounds that moisture the skin and reduce the depth of stretch marks.
Talking about stretch marks and how to get rid of them, some women offer quite interesting and useful recipes. For example, a mixture of sugar, salt, and oil, which should be applied to problem spots on the skin while taking a shower. After that, you should use any moisture cream. As a result, you will get something similar to exfoliation. Red grapes are also used for removing stretch marks: apply the grape juice to the affected areas of skin.
There is another folk medicine advice how to get rid of stretch marks, you just need to choose the one suitable for yourself.
And, it should be specially noted: don’t make excessive use of ointments which contain hormonal substances. Under their influence, your skin with time becomes thinner and new stretch marks appear on it.
Tips to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy
The expectant mother should not:
- Eat too much food, containing carbohydrates: candy and farinaceous foods. The best course of action is to consume a lot of proteins – they are the main resource of elastin and collagen for your skin.
- Watch your weight; try to gain it gradually, not suddenly.
- Pour lukewarm water on your breasts and dry it with a terry towel.
- Wear bandage and other special underwear for future mothers. Then your skin won’t stretch and sag.
- Regularly apply creams, containing collagen and amino acids, to the affected areas of skin. Make sure that your skin gets enough moisture.