The striations are some marks on the skin in the form of clear lines. They appear on abdomen, thighs, chest, hip and glutes. When they are new, their appearance is more appreciated, but over time they are less visible. We suffer mostly women, but in some case also men. They are very common in adolescents due to growth and stretching of the skin. They are also very common in pregnancy, especially in the third trimester.
Stretch marks change appearance over time. At first, appear pink, can be linear or as parallel marks. Gradually they become enlarged and can turn red to purple, often with a wrinkled surface. Finally, they take on a white color and a slightly flatter texture. Usually, they are between 1 to 10 millimeters wide and several centimeters long.
They are not painful or symptomatic of any skin disease, but some people may worry about beauty issues. Although there is nothing to make them disappear, some treatments can improve their appearance and make them less visible.
Who can have stretch marks?
Anyone can develop stretch marks, but some factors increase the risk, such as being a woman, genetics (having a personal or family history of stretch marks), being pregnant, being overweight or obese, gaining or losing weight quickly, and taking corticosteroids. People with certain syndromes that affect cortisol metabolisms, such as Cushing’s syndrome, Marfan’s syndrome, or certain genetic disorders can also have stretch marks.
A problem of elasticity
Like when you stretch a rubber to the maximum that is no longer able to return to its initial shape and becomes wrinkled, the stretch marks, similarly, occur by a stretching of the skin that causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers.
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Its intensity is affected by several factors, such as genetics, the degree of stress that the skin undergoes the speed of stretching, and our body’s cortisone levels. A hormone produced by the adrenal glands that weaken the elastic fibers of the skin.
Treatment for stretch marks
Various treatments and cosmetics are posed as a possible solution to stretch marks. There are also some preventive methods.
Stretch Marks: Do They Work?
The idea that you can prevent or treat stretch marks with the use of creams, oils or lotions is not backed by solid evidence.
Even so, many creams are sold to prevent or treat stretch marks. They are cosmetic products based on fats such as cocoa butter, and vegetable oils rich in essential fatty acids (e.g. linoleic acid, linolenic acid). Other oils used are almonds, wheat germ, rose hip, grape seed, evening primrose, linseed and a long etcetera. Vitamin E or vitamin C is also added.
However, as cosmetics they are, they cannot repair internal skin damage like the one that causes stretch marks. They can leave the skin hydrated and flexible as with any moisturizer or emollient, and relieve the itching in the case of stretching the skin of the abdominal area in the pregnant woman. But it is not worth spending a bundle on them.
Medical Treatments: Do not expect miracles
If you do not like to have stretch marks, even if they are harmless, before embarking on a treatment, it is important to know that none eliminate them completely and some have adverse effects.
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Treatments that help improve the appearance and texture of stretch marks are retinoid creams, laser, and microdermabrasion. None has proven to be more consistent or successful than others.
Creams with retinoids:
Derivatives of vitamin A, retinoids applied to the skin can improve the appearance of newly developed stretch marks (within a few months). Vitamins A derivatives can help rebuild collagen, making stretch marks look more like normal skin. But they can have adverse effects, be irritating to the skin, having to avoid exposure to the sun. It is not a recommended option for pregnant or lactating due to possible adverse effects of the cream, which can affect the baby.
A variety of laser therapies is available to help stimulate the growth of collagen or elastin in the skin. Adverse effects include skin irritation and hyperpigmentation of the skin.
This type of treatment is done with a device that by microcrystals gently removes a thin layer of skin, promoting the growth of new, more elastic skin. May irritate the skin, produce redness and itching.
Stretch Marks Prevention
The best way to reduce the likelihood of having stretch marks is to maintain a healthy weight. In the case of pregnancy, where you gain weight for a relatively short period, you should avoid increasing more than recommended and eating well and exercising.
Despite the claims made by cosmetic brands and how pleasant it is to be massaged with “anti-stress” creams, at best they will help the skin to be flexible and moisturized on the outside, but they have no preventive or Repair of stretch marks, which are formed at a deeper level.