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How To Eliminate Stretch Marks the Natural Way

Sep 17, 2008
First thing's first: What are these stretch marks that many of us so often cringe at as we look ourselves at the mirror?

Introduction

The general medical term is striae (synonyms include lineae atrophicae, striae distensae, and linea albicante). These abnormal and usually crooked bands or stripes that marr the skin when one experiences rapid stretching of the skin. Thus the term "stretch" marks. Stretching of the skin has many causes that will be tackled later. These bands or stripes initially appear as red to pinkish hues which later change into greyish white shades similar to scars. Aside from the variety in color, texture is also diversified. Some stretch marks may be felt as little ridges when felt while others may be indented and depressed.

Possible Causes

Stretch marks are usually found in people with any type of weight gain, weight loss or pregnancy. It is a type of scarring similar to acne scars and other types of improper skin recovery. Stretch marks often appear in the body where majority of fat cells are located such as the tummy, thighs, and hips. As one gains weight, the bigger these fat cells become. The bigger the fat cells, the more the skin is stretched to accommodate the added bulk. When the skin is stretched to a point where it becomes damaged and unable to recover to its normal state, stretch marks are formed.

Since pregnant women have enlarged abdomens, it is only logical that stretch marks appear on that particular area. Dramatic growth spurts during puberty and muscle development associated often with bodybuilders are also common causes when the skin experiences increase stretching. More serious underlying causes of stretch marks include diabetes, Cushing Syndrome, and Ehlers-Danos syndrome. Correction or treatment of such medical conditions should be done immediately to avoid more complications more serious than stretch marks. The excessive use of cortisone-based medications is also another culprit for striae. Corticosteroids inhibit collagen formation. Collagen is a substance that provide structural support to skin; thus, a decrease in collagen increases the development of striae as the skin has less support to work with making it vulnerable to stretching and tearing.

Possible Treatments

- Nothing. A few lucky people loss their stretch marks when they loss their excess weight. There are also pregnant women whose stretch marks disappeared after they gave birth.

-Invasive Treatments and Chemicals. Gaining popularity are invasive treatments for stretch marks such as laser therapy, chemical peels, and dermabrasion. Most often than not these options are expensive and require repeated treatment sessions to make the stretch marks less noticeable. Recovery is also a consideration when deciding to undergo such treatments. Swelling, pain, and discomfort are consequences that one is bound to experience as the body heals itself.

Natural Beauty Inside and Out

Good nutrition and healthy lifestyle are the key to getting healthy, glowing skin. Drinking sufficienta amount of water makes the skin dewy. Getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals will also result to more elasticity in the skin able to quickly recover by being able to "give" more, thus, preventing the possibility of stretch marks. Unfortunately people cannot always get the adequate vitamins and minerals through diet alone, thus, supplemental medications are available.

Creams and topical supplements can also help. Topical preparations usually contain vitamins E, A, and C that are essential for good collagen production. Other helpful ingredients are hydroxy acid and retinoids. Hydroxy acid gently and gradually removes the topmost layer of the skin revealing newer and healthier underlying skin cells to surface. Other benefits of using creams and lotions are their hydrating effect and alleviation of itchness, a common symptom associated with stretch marks felt by many people.
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