In dermatology stretch marks are technically called as striae, these striae are nothing but the scarring of the skin (has a different color). Stretching of the skin due to rapid growth or rapid weight gain results in stretch marks. Hormonal changes in the body due pregnancy, puberty or even hormone replacement treatment might lead to stretch marks. Stretch marks due to pregnancy usually affects the belly region but sometimes it also affects areas like breasts, thighs and buttocks. The stretch marks can also appear in other regions where large amount of fat is stored like triceps, upper arms and under arms. Stretch marks do not pose any major health risk or affect the optimum functioning of the near by muscles; however they look ugly and might affect the self-esteem of women.[box type=”info”] Statistics
- The prevalence of stretch marks range from 50% to 90%, depending on the race and age of the women studied.
- 43% of the women enrolled developed stretch marks before 24 weeks of gestation.
- 71% of teen age girls suffer from various degrees of stretch marks.
Some of the major causes of stretch marks are[checklist]
- Low maternal age
- High body mass index
- Rapid weight gain of over 30 pounds
- Excess secretion of glucocorticoid hormones.
Whenever the dermis is affected and fibroblasts are prevented from forming collagen and elastin fibers, there is a chance of stretch marks. Sufficient collagen and elastin fibres are necessary for keeping the skin taut.
Prevention and Treatment:
Maintaining and optimum weight, regular exercise, proper lifestyle and a balanced and nutritious diet can prevent stretch marks to some extent. There are several efficient treatments to cure stretch marks; according to this post the most common treatments available to improve the appearance of existing stretch marks are laser treatments, micro dermabrasion, tretinoin creams and creams containing collagen and elastin. The post also elaborates on how natural remedies and supplements can improve appearance. Multi-vitamin supplements, shea butter and drinking ample amount of water can also reverse the condition.
There are several other Ayurvedic home remedies too;
1) Making a paste of de-seeded apricots and applying over the marks for one month can remove most of the stretch marks. The paste should be applied for 20 minutes and then washed off with warm water.
2) The plant collagen in Aloe vera is a great home remedy for stretch marks. After removing the thorns in the leaves of Aloe vera, the gel inside should be extracted. Apply the gel over the stretch marks, leave it for 100 minutes and then wash it off with warm water.
3) Some natural oils like lavender oil, chamomile oil and almond oil contains bio-active agents that act on the stretch marks. Applying these oils regularly can remove the marks completely.