When you are born, your skin is even, soft, tight and one color. If you take good care of your skin, it might be this soft, tight and even-colored for a long time. But no matter how much lotion you use or how often you stay out of the sun, one day, you may look around your hips, under your belly on the sides of your thighs and see unsightly jagged lines running across your skin. How horrible! How did they get there? What could they be?
These are stretch marks. As their name suggests, they happen when your skin stretches out too much. Skin is usually pliable but when you gain or lose too much weight or suddenly grow several inches overnight, stretch marks or striae could result.
In regular teenagers, this is a result of growth spurts in puberty and sudden weight gain and weight loss. For example, if you suddenly put on a lot of weight in a very short time, the skin stretches out just as quickly, tearing the middle layer of your skin, which is known as the dermis. What are left behind are non-pliable scars that often look silvery, as the scar tissue grows between these tears. Pregnant women inevitably get stretch marks; only 10 to 20 % of pregnant women manage to be stretch mark-free.
Maybe you’re high-tailing to the gym a lot these days to prevent getting these horrid stretch marks, thinking as long as you keep the fat off, you’ll be free of stretch marks. Here’s another thing to worry about: bodybuilders and weight lifters are prone to them, too. As long as the skin is overstretched from the enlarging of your body – whether by fat or muscle – you will get stretch marks.
So, how can you make them go away? There are some surgical processes that may eliminate stretch marks, but these are quite expensive. Some popular methods are chemical peels and dermabrasion, which are also methods used in removing acne scars.
Of course, it would be best not to acquire stretch marks in the first place. Maintain a good diet and establish an exercise regime that doesn’t require the rapid building of your muscles. Also, keeping yourself continuously hydrated is good for your skin and its elasticity, so drink even more than the prescribed 8 glasses of water per day.
You can also buy lotions and creams that serve as preventive measures, to maintain your skin’s elasticity. Ordinary lotions will usually only smoothen your skin’s upper layer but not hydrating the layers beneath, which is why there are special lotions that are made precisely to prevent stretch marks.
Also, check the ingredients of the lotion or cream before you buy – you could be getting a product that’s laden with chemical and artificial materials. Products such as Revitol Stretch Mark Prevention Cream use ingredients that are 100% natural, including squalene oil, extracts from grapefruit seeds and aloe vera. They’re also proven to help decrease the appearance of already-existing stretch marks with continued use.
Stretch marks aren’t dangerous nor will they do further harm to your body, but they sure are unbearable to look at – especially on your own skin. Knowing the preventions and cures is already half the battle.