What are stretch marks?
Skin will not come back in its original form if it has been stretched by rapid growth because of pregnancy, weight gain, or extreme weight loss. Instead, it becomes marked by a form of scarring called stretch marks, or striae.
Mostly, stretch marks start off as reddish or purplish in color, and then become glossy skin that further appears streaked in silver or white.
Men and women can get stretch marks on several areas of their bodies, including the abdominal area, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms or lower back.
How are stretch marks treated?
There are many treatment options available for stretch marks. Generally, treatment of these scars is quite difficult. Mostly treatment improves the appearance of stretch marks and will not cause them to go away completely.
Patients respond differently to treatments, and so results vary widely. If you are serious about dealing with unwanted stretch marks, it is best to be in the care of a dermatologist who can recommend your best options.
If you go to a dermatologist, he or she will take a detailed medical history, including medications you are taking. Some of the medications can cause stretch marks, and it is very important to be open and honest with your doctor.
Those medications include hormones and steroids. It is important to remember that each treatment plan may require several visits and several treatment rounds.
Dermabrasion or chemical peel can be used to address unwanted stretch marks, and there are new advances in laser surgeries that can help the color and texture of the stretch marks.
These advances help to blend stretch marks in with the surrounding skin. The degree of success with any treatment will be influenced by your age, skin tone, and diet.
It is important to note that insurance coverage probably will not cover stretch mark removal because it is a cosmetic procedure (even if the stretch marks are particularly severe).
Lotions and creams
There are plenty over-the-counter treatments for stretch marks. If you are a pregnant woman who is concerned with stretch marks, let your doctor know before you start to begin preventative treatment.
Often, your doctor can suggest some creams too. It is important to note that creams and lotions may or may not work, since a person's genetics play a role in stretch mark formation.
Drink plenty of water. Accurate intake of water keeps your skin soft and less likely to develop stretch marks. Excessive intake of caffeine can increase your risk of stretch marks. If you're stuck on your caffeinated coffee or tea, make sure you balance the fluids.
Remember, stretch marks can also result from nutritional deficiency. Be sure to consume foods that promote skin health:
- Zinc-rich foods such as nuts or fish.
- Foods high in vitamins A, C, D, such as carrots, citrus fruits and milk.
- Protein-rich foods.