Stretch marks, also called striae by dermatologists, are very common, especially among the female gender. People detest stretch marks and would do anything to avoid having these marks on their skins. You might be one of these people. If so, you need to understand what causes stretch marks. And in this guide, you will also learn about the prevention and treatment of stretch marks.
But first, what are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are scar-like marks with a different texture and hue different from that of the skin. These marks look like the skin has been overstretched and is almost tearing in some cases. In other cases, it looks like little linear lines of marks scattered over a particular area of the skin. Some people believe that what causes a stretch mark determines the way it appears.
Symptoms of Stretch Marks
One significant way of knowing that you have stretch marks are the marks in itself. These marks, however, do not always look alike. Sometimes, it is hard to tell if they’re stretch marks or something else. One way to be sure is the places the marks appear in and the color of the mark. Below are some signs and symptoms of stretch marks.
- Stretch marks appear mostly on the thighs, abdomen, hips, buttocks, and breasts. But they also appear in other places like the underarm and the upper arm. One thing you should look out for is the fat in those areas where you see these marks. If that area has a high concentration of fat, then it is most probably stretch marks are what has grown out there. If the area has lost much fat too, the same can be the case.
- If you have stretch marks, the color of your skin is different from that of stretch marks. Every scar has a different hue from that of the skin. However, stretch marks tend to have specific colors. Reddish, purple, pink, blue, or even black marks are suspected signs of the marks. The color that a person gets depends on their actual skin tone.
- Another sign of stretch marks is itchy skin. Although this does not occur with everyone, some people’s skin is scratchy just before the marks start appearing on their skin. Even when they are still fresh on their skin, this itchiness might continue.
Causes of Stretch Marks
There are many factors to look at when talking about the causes of stretch marks. Let’s look at them one after the other.
Many women experience stretch marks during pregnancy. This is because, during pregnancy, the body stretches to make room for the growing fetus. Some women’s bodies cannot take these stretches. They start to have stretch marks, especially in their stomach where the baby is growing. Some women even experience stretch marks after pregnancy. This happens when their body is trying to get back to its normal shape.
● Weight gain or loss
When certain parts of your body grow bigger or get smaller, you’ll likely have stretch marks, especially if this growth or reduction happens very fast.
Teenagers get to the age where their body starts to get mature. For ladies, they start to grow bigger in various parts of their bodies. Many teenagers, during this period of rapid changes and growth, start to have stretch marks. This is what causes stretch marks on buttocks in most cases.
● Medical Conditions
Various medical conditions can increase the level of cortisone in the body. Cortisone is a hormone that the adrenal gland naturally produces. Too much of this hormone can make the skin lose its elasticity. Medical conditions that can make the body produce too much cortisone include adrenal glands disorders like, Ehlers-Danlossyndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, e.t.c.
● Use of Corticosteroids
People use corticosteroid drugs and lotions for various reasons. This includes the treatment of medical conditions like arthritis, asthma, leukemia, anemia, e.t.c. While these drugs and lotions do work for those things, they also have their side effects. One of these side effects is stretch marks.
Some things put you at higher risks of having stretch marks than other people. These risk factors are as follows:
● Female Gender
There is a higher percentage of women with stretch marks than men. Women are at a higher risk of having stretch marks than men because of their bodies and the stages it goes through.
● Family history
This is another significant factor. Some families have a long history of stretch marks. If you are from that kind of family, then the possibility of having stretch marks is very high.
Prevention of Stretch Marks
Looking at the various causes of stretch marks, you can think of ways to prevent your body from having them. Regardless, these are just precautionary methods. They do not guarantee that you’ll never have stretch marks.
The easiest way to prevent them is through healthy living. Exercising regularly and healthy eating will likely keep your body in check. Your body will not undergo rapid changes that can lead to having stretch marks.
How to Cure Stretch Marks
Many people have written on how to get rid of stretch marks. However, there is not one proven cure for stretch marks. It is like eczema; some people say that certain things cleared their skin from it. Nonetheless, none of these things has been proven by medical practitioners.
● Home Remedies
People believe that if you apply herbal treatments that are good for the skin, you might clear your skin of stretch marks. One herbal treatment that is well talked about is Aloe Vera. Another that is well known is Shea butter. Coconut oil also is said to be able to take away the different colorations that stretch marks give to your skin. However, none of these has been medically proven.
● Lotions and creams
If you search on how to remove stretch marks fast, various lotions will pop-up. Indeed, several kinds of lotions and creams have been used to treat stretch marks. A good example is the tanning lotion. Tanning lotions can reduce the color difference between your skin and the stretch marks. This can make the stretch marks fade and look like they are not there. Moisturizing lotions help reduce the itchiness of the part of the skin affected by the stretch marks. However, there is no proven fact that lotions cure stretch marks.