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Stretch Mark Removal Tips and Remedies

Oct 13, 2007
Stretch marks, those ugly, spidery red and purple scars, can plague anyone. They appear with little to no warning, and seem impossible to get rid of. Many do not know what these marks are, where they come from, and how to prevent or remove them. Stretch marks occur when the skin stretches more rapidly than it can renew itself, blocking the flow of collagen. This produces scarring, which first appears as red and purple lines, but eventually fade to silvery indentations in the skin. Stretch marks can be caused by pregnancy, rapid weight gain, puberty, bodybuilding, or intense physical activity. Their presence is a great source of anxiety to many people, both men and women, and their removal seems difficult.

What Causes Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are caused when the elastic fibers that bind the skin (elastin & collagen) are overstressed, resulting in small tears in the form of stretch marks.

While skin's elastic nature is amazing in its ability to expand as we grow, unfortunately it has its limitations. Stretch marks (striae) are actually made up of scar tissue that result when the skin's ability to expand is exceeded. This can occur from pregnancy, weight gain, bodybuilding / weightlifting, as well as from rapid growth spurts common during puberty. Some other known causes can be the result of using steroidal creams or ointments, such as hydrocortisone, if used on the skin for longer than a few weeks. High doses of corticosteroids taken orally for longer than a month may also contribute to the occurrence of stretch marks.

Stretch marks may vary in their appearance. When they first show up they may have a reddish or purplish coloration and appear slightly indented into the skin, with a noticeably different texture. In many cases, stretch marks may fade over time to a more silver-white color; however, their texture normally remains fairly consistent. Because scar tissue tends to have less melanin (pigment), tanning may make them become more visible as they may not darken with the surrounding skin.

How Can You Get Rid Of Them?

There are several methods of stretch mark removal. Depending on what type you eventually choose, you may need to seek the advice of a doctor or other medical professional. This individual will be able to advise you specifically on an individual plan of stretch mark removal based on your personal needs. Should you go this route, be certain to tell your medical professional what medications, prescriptions and non-prescriptions, you currently use. Some hormone and steroid-based medications can cause or increase the incidence of stretch marks, disruption your removal and reduction plan.

Cosmetic procedures are the most reliable methods of stretch mark removal. Depending on the severity, dermabrasion methods of stretch mark removal or chemical peel procedures can be effective. These methods work best against small, thin, or surface based marks. Deeper or more severe stretch marks may require the use of laser surgery for effective removal. Topical treatments are also available, but depending on the product, they may or may not be effective.

Because it is generally considered a voluntary, cosmetic procedure, stretch mark removal may not be covered by your insurance company. Any medical procedure has the likelihood of being expensive. Before you decide what plan you wish to utilize for your stretch mark removal, it is wise to price the various plans. Different facilities may offer the same service at different prices.

As mentioned above, topical treatments - lotions and creams - are available for those who do not wish to or cannot afford surgical or other medical treatments. Some of these treatments are more effective than others, and it is wise to study the individual products before investing in a particular treatment. Those which are effective are best at their work if used prior to or shortly after the development of stretch marks. Use at the beginning of and during pregnancy is common. These creams help to keep the skin soft, preventing scarring as it stretches. Because of the difficulty of removal, prevention is usually the best remedy for stretch marks.
About the Author
Rick Jorgenson is the founder of Healthy Skin Care , an organization dedicated to helping people find resources and products related to taking care of their skin in a natural and healthy way. You can find more information about Health Skin Care at: Healthy Skin Care Tips
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