When tackling the topic of stretch marks, or striae, knowing why they form is the first step. When the skin is stretched excessively because of rapid fat or muscle growth, small tears occur in the dermis that eventually appear as red, purple or silver lines on the skin’s surface. They can show up anywhere, but are most prominent on the hips, thighs and stomachs. One sure way to keep them away is to maintain a healthy weight.
However, stretch marks often appear during pregnancy, which is one time when you actually want to gain weight as your pregnancy goes on. It is believed that stretch marks may be preventable to a degree by keeping the skin well-hydrated and in good condition while you gain your baby weight. Using collagen-boosting topical products and drinking lots of water every day may help.
Some people are simply more genetically inclined to developing stretch marks. If you have discovered stretch marks, you may be able to significantly reduce them or even get rid of them all together. Treatments may be most effective when stretch marks are red in appearance since these are “young” and may respond better to treatment than older, silvery stretch marks. Treatment options include:
Laser and light treatments: Fraxel lasers, used for resurfacing the skin, are believed to stimulate collagen production, remove damaged tissue, repair fibers within the skin and improve the look of stretch marks on the skin after four or five treatments.
Topical products: Products that contain retinol and vitamin E may be some of the most effective in reducing the look of stretch marks. Talk to your doctor about a prescription retinoid. For a temporary solution, try a body makeup to cover them.
Surgery: If you’re considering a mommy makeover after the birth of your children, you may be in luck when it comes to stretch marks. If you opt for a tummy tuck, your doctor can cut away the stretched stomach skin during the procedure. Saggy, stretch marked skin on the hips and thighs can be addressed in the same manner with a lower body lift.
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