Stretch marks are a common cause of cosmetic concern for women and men alike. Also referred to as stria within the medical community, these marks while harmless, can be unsightly and embarrassing for those who have them.
What are stretch marks? How does it happen? How to fix stretch marks naturally? These are just a few of the common and most searched questions that will be answered.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Put simply, stretch marks are grooves in the skin that may appear as streaks, elongated indentions or even ripples.
They may be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. Although they may look scary, they are perfectly harmless.
Common areas in which stria may appear can include but is not limited to the abdomen, breasts, hips and thighs. However, they may also appear on the arms, back, and lower legs as well.
The stretch marks can be small and barely noticeable or they may be larger and more prominent.
How Do Stretch Marks Happen?
Stretch marks develop when the skin is stretched beyond its elasticity. Collagen, which is an integral part of elasticity will play a huge role.
When the body expands in an area where there is not enough collagen to support the skin, the expansion of the skin will result in stria.
The severity of the marks will depend on how much the skin is stretched.
What Causes the Skin to Stretch?
Stretching of the skin can be caused by multiple things. Although weight gain can be a major perpetrator, you do not have to be overweight to get stretch marks.
They can occur during normal spurts of growth, as a result of pregnancy or anything that can contribute to weight gain.
Weight lifters and bodybuilders who are in excellent shape may even find they develop stria in the areas in which they are building muscle.
Who Can Get Stretch Marks?
Contrary to popular belief, stretch marks are not limited to women. Anyone can get stretch marks. You may also be surprised to know that stria affects those of various ages. Young or old, you can get stretch marks.
Anytime there is not enough collagen to support the changes of growth that causes stretching of the skin they can develop.
However, some may be more likely than others to get them based on things like age, health status, and lifestyle choices.
What Are the Risk Factors for Stretch Marks?
As previously mentioned, anyone can get stretch marks but some are at higher risk than others to develop them.
While genetics can play a role in who will get them and the severity, there are several groups that may be more prone to this problem. Some of these risk factors are preventable and others are not.
Those at the highest risk are those going through puberty, bodybuilders, women who are pregnant, anyone who suffers from any condition that may cause rapid weight gain, and even those who have some surgeries, such as breast implants.
Do Stretch Marks Hurt?
Stretch marks are not painful and should not cause any medical problems. However, the changes caused by the stretching of the skin can lead to irritation and mild discomfort. As a result, the area affected may become itchy or irritated.
Dryness may also become an issue. Therefore, it is important to care for the skin and avoid further irritation. This can be accomplished by utilizing a moisturizing cream or lotion regularly and by avoiding scratching of the area.
Do Stretch Marks Go Away?
Stria does not just go away on its own. Rather, they tend to change over time and may become less noticeable.
The markings may fade in color, eventually blending in with the surrounding skin. The extent to which they fade will depend on several factors, including the severity of the marks, the duration in which they have been there, and several other factors.
Properly hydrating the skin can aid in diminishing the appearance. It is also worth noting that if you continue to gain weight or stretch that area of the skin further, they can actually become worse.
Can Stretch Marks Be Prevented?
Yes and no. Prevention of stretch marks may not be entirely possible for all individuals. Avoiding significant weight gain can aid in prevention or minimize the marks but as noted, it is possible to get stretch marks at a healthy weight and size.
Another important component to prevention may include good skincare. As a matter of fact, products with certain ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid have been shown to aid in not only prevention but minimization of stria.
How Can You Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
There are a variety of products and even procedures that can assist in eliminating the appearance of stretch marks.
There are several creams, lotions, and serums available that are sold over-the-counter. Many procedures are considered elective cosmetic treatments and are not covered by insurance.
Multiple treatments may be required before a dramatic difference can be seen. Some of these treatments do not get rid of the marks but minimize the appearance only.
Are There Natural Remedies?
How to fix stretch marks naturally? It can be done. Many men and women alike turn to natural remedies.
Statistics indicate that natural treatments can be just as effective as other types of treatments.
Natural remedies typically consist of the use of topical treatments with things such as Vitamin A, Aloe Vera, coconut oil, and several other naturally derived ingredients.
Some may combine one or more of these ingredients or others which may not be mentioned here.
How Else Can Stretch Marks Be Combatted?
Perhaps one of the most important and overlooked considerations when it comes to the prevention and treatment of stria is moisturization and hydration of the skin.
Properly hydrated skin is crucial to the treatment of almost any type of skin issue. As a matter of fact, any natural remedies and even cosmetic procedures will require the skin to be moisturized in order to be the most effective.
Skin that is moisturized is healthier, maybe more elastic, and less prone to the irritation and dryness that frequently accompanies stretch marks.