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Stretch Mark Causes and Treatments

Woman applying cream to prevent stretch marks

Some skin issues are some common that people can easily forget about them. Acne escapes this by often being painful and recurring, but other ubiquitous complains can easily fall to one side. Pore size is a frequent complaint that gets rolled into one breathless advertising sentence instead of being treated as an independent issue. Stretch marks are similar. Products might have an impact, but the potential use is glossed over in favor of other products. You are likely familiar with stretch marks if you’ve ever had a child or experience significant fluctuations in weight. The commonplace nature of stretch marks does hide the fact that they are actually rather hard to deal with once they’ve happened. With this in mind, we have a quick primer on the causes and potential treatments for stretch marks.

What Is A Stretch Mark?
Interestingly, stretch marks are actually scars. Skin is meant to grow and shrink alongside your body’s normal weight patterns. The elastic nature is part of what, in our faces, help our skin remain firm and youthful while still being flexible. In the rest of our skin it helps ensure you don’t “outgrow” your skin…most of the time. Rapid weight gain can cause the skin to stretch to accommodate the changes and it can even stretch heavily while still being cohesive. The catch is that this hurts your skin when it happens as it has to repair the areas where the damage from the rapid gain in weight is too much for your skin to handle. Reddish purple scarring beneath the skin tends to mark fresh stretch marks though it eventually fades to a somewhat similar color to the skin around it. These areas of skin often remain somewhat folded even once weight has been lost as the damage to the collagen in the area is too extensive to properly repair.

What Causes Stretch Marks?
The simple answer is actually the most accurate: weight gain. As with most things though, there is a deeper level to the causes of stretch marks that needs to be examined as well. There is a hereditary component to them. The influence isn’t huge, but there does seem to be a pattern for notable stretch marks often running in particular families. You would do well to ask relatives if you’re particularly concerned about stretch marks. Additionally, parts of your life where hormones are more in flux are likely to result in stretch marks. Adolescents and pregnant people are at the highest chance for getting stretch marks due to the highly hormonal life events going on as well as associated rapid weight gains. Anyone can get stretch marks from rapid or substantial weight gain though and this should never be forgotten. It makes eating a healthy diet one of the best ways for anyone not expecting to become pregnant to prevent stretch marks.

Treatment Options
Much to the annoyance of people everywhere, there are actually few to no useful ways to treat stretch marks. There is some evidence to suggest that care of the skin during pregnancy can sometimes minimally affect the appearance of the stretch marks from pregnancy, but this is actually called into question by many medical professionals. Additionally, a number of previous products that have actually claimed to offer relief to those trying to fight of stretch marks have actually had these efficacy and safety broadly questioned. The good rule to follow is not to try any stretch mark treatments while pregnant to ensure both your own health as well as the health of any expected children. There may be some promise in laser skin treatments and other high tech skin care options in the future, but for now stretch marks are a fact of life for many people.

Stretch marks are quite common and almost every pregnancy will result in them. Other forms of rapid or substantial weight gain can also cause them to appear on the skin. Unfortunately, there are no safe and reliable ways to prevent or treat stretch marks. You are certainly entitled to try potential treatments, but it is always best to wait until after pregnancy if that is the source of the stretch marks. Outside of that, treating your body right and maintaining a healthy diet are your best options.

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