HOW TO GET RID OF STRETCH MARKS – A SMALL COMPENDIUM OF EFFECTIVE METHODS
Stretch marks are one of the most annoying skin imperfections. They don’t look very aesthetic and disturb our silhouette. To make matters worse, stretch mark removal is usually lengthy and demanding and does not always bring the expected results. Stretch marks are the result of a tear in the collagen fibers and are a form of scarring. This is why it is so difficult to restore the previously smooth and homogeneous structure of the skin in the places where they appeared. Fortunately, there are a number of methods that can stimulate intensive skin regeneration and reduce unsightly wrinkles. How do you activate skin recovery? How to get rid of stretch marks? You will read this article.
WHAT ARE STRETCH MARKS AND WHAT ARE THEIR CHARACTERISTICS?
Stretch marks are characteristic scars caused by rapid stretching of the skin. They differ from normal scars in that they are not caused by a mechanical injury but by endogenous processes, e.g. B. metabolic or hormonal nature. Stretch marks do not appear individually, but in larger clusters. Most often they are in the form of stripes (similar to a tiger skin) or parallel lines.
Depending on how much the skin is stretched, stretch marks can cover smaller or larger areas and be more or less pronounced . Depending on how much time has passed since the stretch marks first appeared, they may vary in color and severity (e.g., fresh stretch marks are more pronounced and intense in color and are often associated with swelling and pain).
The formation of stretch marks and their development is a process that occurs in two stages:
- Stage one stretch marks (red stretch marks) – this is the initial, inflammatory phase that usually lasts a few months. At this stage, the stretch marks are newly formed, convex, sharp-edged, parallel to each other, red, violet or lilac in color, and in texture and appearance resemble fresh scars similar to those from lacerations. They can be accompanied by swelling, itching, burning and pain. Dermatologists often find that removing stretch marks in this first phase is easier than in the second.
- The second stage of stretch marks (white stretch marks ) is the atrophic phase, when collagen and elastin fibers are rebuilt and scarring occurs. Stretch marks fade, become less visible and change color from reddish to white. They become slightly concave and can be slightly wrinkled. Although the stretch marks are less pronounced at this stage than in the first phase, they are still noticeable (the collagen and elastin fibers regenerate, but their structure remains partially deformed).
HOW DO STRETCH MARKS FORM AND WHERE DO THEY MOST COMMONLY APPEAR?
Stretch marks are a blemish mostly associated with women, but they are also a problem for men. When we gain weight quickly and heavily, but also in any other situation where our body is expanding rapidly, the skin is stretched more to adapt to the new shape. As a result, the skin becomes tighter and tighter, and the collagen and elastin fibers that make up the skin weaken and sometimes break down altogether.
Although collagen fibers are naturally very elastic, they can be disturbed by rapid and dynamic changes in the proportions of our figure . Stretch marks therefore appear on body parts that experience rapid growth within a short period of time. The most commonly observed are therefore:
- stretch marks on abdomen,
- stretch marks on thighs,
- stretch marks on the buttocks,
- stretch marks on the breasts.
Stretch marks on the shoulders, back, knees and calves, on the other hand, are observed less frequently.
WHO IS MOST LIKELY AFFECTED BY STRETCH MARKS? CAUSES OF STRETCH MARKS
Our skin is naturally very resilient and flexible, so it can retain a high level of elasticity even if we gain a few pounds in a few months. However , a strong and rapid change can lead to a rupture of the collagen and elastin fiber network and the appearance of stretch marks. Pregnant women, for example, are exposed to this effect, but not only.
The main causes of stretch marks:
- Rapid, intense weight gain (e.g. due to a change in diet to a higher-calorie diet, a significant reduction in physical activity, hormonal imbalances, metabolic disorders)
- Frequent, rapid changes in body weight, alternating with weight gain and loss (eg, as a result of strict dieting followed by a return to old eating habits)
- Pregnancy (stretch marks during pregnancy and stretch marks after pregnancy are the result of rapid expansion of the abdomen and severe stretching of the skin associated with fetal growth and development)
- Rapid bone growth in adolescents
- Rapid growth of mammary glands in teenage girls
- severely elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol (high levels of this hormone contribute to the disruption of fibroblasts, the cells responsible for collagen production, causing collagen fibers to weaken and break more easily)
- Hormonal fluctuations (e.g. during menopause)
- Taking steroids.
- Bodybuilding and competitive sports (intensive training contributes to the growth of muscle tissue, which in turn leads to the formation of stretch marks)
- Inadequate skin care (insufficient hydration and moisturizing of the skin can increase the frequency of breakage of collagen and elastin fibers and promote the formation of stretch marks)
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the diet
- endocrine disorders
- Genetic predisposition to the formation of stretch marks
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HOW TO WIN THE FIGHT AGAINST STRETCH MARKS? FIRST OF ALL, PREVENT THEIR EDUCATION!
Getting rid of stretch marks can be a difficult and lengthy process. Therefore, the first thing we should do is minimize the risk of them reoccurring in the future. Regardless of whether they are pronounced, advanced stretch marks or just delicate, barely noticeable skin changes, it is extremely useful to take preventive measures to prevent stretch marks from spreading and appearing elsewhere on the body.
So what should we do? The key to preventing stretch marks is body weight control . It’s wise to check your weight and girth regularly, or simply look in the mirror to see if your body fat is gaining. Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding rapid weight gain will help prevent unnatural stretching of the skin and tearing of collagen fibers.
The best way to avoid sudden weight gain is to eat a healthy diet with adequate calorie content and an active lifestyle . In order to prevent the formation of stretch marks, it is advisable to increase the amount of products rich in vitamins and minerals important for the skin (e.g. vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc). These are mainly fruit and vegetables , but also grains, cereals, bran, nuts, almonds, vegetable oils, fish, cheese and groats.
HOW TO PREVENT STRETCH MARKS DURING AND AFTER PREGNANCY?
How to Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy? Above all, we should avoid eating for two . An increase in body weight of around 10 kg during pregnancy is normal, but 20 or 25 kg is definitely too much. You should take care of a valuable, healthy diet , eating in such a way that you do not starve, do not refuse meals, but also avoid uncontrolled eating, overeating and the intake of hundreds of excess calories.
If you get cravings, it is advisable to reach for healthy snacks instead of fatty dishes, sweets or chips.
The time immediately after childbirth is also important. During this period, the metabolism accelerates, so it is the best time to take care of the return to the old weight. Eating a light, healthy, nutritious diet and moderate exercise will help us get back in shape quickly and reduce the risk of stretch marks.
On the other hand, you should not use overly restrictive slimming methods after pregnancy. Any drastic diets and strenuous workouts are not recommended. Rapid, severe weight loss can do us more harm than good. The process of losing weight after pregnancy should be done at a moderate pace , so that our skin can slowly and gradually adapt to the new figure.
Another important point is proper hydration of the body . By systematically supplying the body with large amounts of water, we support our skin from the inside out. A high level of moisture in the body makes our skin more resilient, better hydrated, firmer and more resistant to damage.
During and after pregnancy, we should also take care of increased skin care , regularly rubbing in creams and lotions with properties that strengthen collagen fibers, improve skin elasticity, lubricate and moisturize. A special stretch mark cream that not only protects and improves the condition of the skin, but also has regenerating properties, is an excellent support for skin exposed to stretching.
Weight management during pregnancy, avoiding sedentary lifestyle, eating healthy, staying hydrated, gradually losing weight after pregnancy and using the right cosmetic products are ways to avoid stretch marks or reduce their severity and visibility .
HOME REMEDIES FOR STRETCH MARKS
STRETCH MARK DIET
Stretch mark removal is a process where the best results can be achieved when the skin is treated from the outside and the inside at the same time . The latter measure consists mainly in the observance of an appropriate diet . In this context, it is extremely important to eliminate junk and highly processed foods from the diet and introduce natural, nutrient-rich foods.
For example, it is worth adding more products with vitamin K to your diet. It stimulates the skin’s regeneration process and preserves its proper elasticity. It is found in strawberries, tomatoes, dairy products, eggs, and especially green vegetables (eg, broccoli, kale, spinach, lettuce, parsley, zucchini, cucumber, sorrel).
Large quantities of products rich in vitamin E , the so-called youth vitamin, should also be on the menu. It’s found in seeds, whole grains, vegetable oils, dairy products, liver, olives, melons, spinach, nuts, and almonds.
Zinc can also help improve skin elasticity. It is found in significant amounts in the following foods: nuts, sprouts, bran, legumes, parsley, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, fish, meat, liver, buckwheat groats, seafood, green vegetables and yellow cheese.
It is also worth resorting to products rich in vitamin C , which stimulates collagen synthesis and supports skin regeneration. An interesting method of treating stretch marks is a topical and internal treatment with carrot juice. It is very rich in vitamin C and other skin-beneficial minerals and vitamins (such as vitamin A ). It tastes great and invigorates and nourishes our whole body at the same time. Applied externally (e.g. in combination with sea salt), it fights skin impurities, makes the skin more elastic and promotes the repair processes in the skin.
HOMEMADE COSMETICS AGAINST STRETCH MARKS
A good home remedy for stretch marks is an aloe vera treatment (fresh aloe vera leaf juice is rubbed into the affected skin periodically). Aloe stimulates the skin’s renewal process, increases its moisture content and provides it with many valuable nutrients.
Coconut oil for stretch marks is also very popular. It contains valuable antioxidants for the skin, has an anti-aging effect and accelerates the regeneration of damaged skin.
When listing home remedies for stretch marks , one must not forget to mention such natural remedies that are helpful in rebuilding the skin like
- egg white foam mixed with lemon juice,
- potato juice,
- onion juice,
- cocoa butter mixed with bran,
- flaxseed oil,
- rose oil,
- argan oil,
- Scrub made from cane sugar and olive oil.
Apply the chosen ingredient or mixture to the affected skin, wait a few minutes and rinse off. When using oils alone, rinsing is not necessary. Home treatments for stretch marks should be carried out systematically , preferably daily, for at least 4 weeks.
OTHER STRETCH MARK REMOVAL METHODS
READY-MADE PRODUCTS AGAINST STRETCH MARKS
In search of effective yet convenient and practical remedies to get rid of stretch marks, we can not overlook a range of ready -to-use products specially designed to correct this unsightly blemish. Of these store-bought stretch mark supplements, the most popular are: stretch mark creams, lotions, ointments, and gels.
They contain a wide range of active ingredients (usually plant extracts and oils specially selected for the needs of the skin) with repairing properties that stimulate collagen and elastin production, lighten discolorations, smooth, moisturize, protect, and overall skin color improve, nourish and accelerate the disappearance of scars. One of the most advanced and top rated preparations of this type is the Revamin Stretch Mark cream .
In addition to using home remedies and ready-made preparations, it is worth paying attention to a healthy diet and an active lifestyle . These two factors not only improve the condition of our skin, but also have a positive effect on our health and well-being.
STRETCH MARK TREATMENTS
If we have more free time, we can also use professional treatments in beauty salons or aesthetic medicine clinics. Microdermabrasion , which involves peeling away the outer layers of the epidermis , is one of the most useful ways to remove stretch marks. The result is an improvement in the firmness and smoothness of the skin.
Another treatment for stretch marks is needle mesotherapy , in which special nutrients and regenerative substances are introduced directly into the dermis. Stretch marks are also treated with the fractional laser . This treatment removes the outer layers of skin, reducing the visibility of scars and stimulating collagen production. A chemical peel with glycolic acid can also help reduce stretch marks.