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Published: 02 September 2019

Body Issues: Stretch Marks

Body Issues: Stretch Marks

Stretch marks (medical name Striae distensae) aren’t solely the reserve of the female population; it’s equally a condition that affects men too.  Unofficially it is estimated that 80% of the population will have stretch marks, and 50% of women will develop them during pregnancy.  Even teenagers can’t escape; fast growth and body changes during puberty can cause them.  Body-builders who gain muscle quickly, may also get stretch marks on their arms, shoulders, and legs.  

Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched too quickly; the collagen and elastin tissues in the skin snap and break, initially appearing as pink, red or purple lines.  Over time they heal and the colour fades to a white/silvery line, or may disappear altogether. Stretch marks aren’t painful but they can be unsightly and cause embarrassment.

So, what can you do; firstly to prevent them, and secondly if you are unfortunate enough to already have them, how can you treat them?

Prevention

Diet

Omega-3 fatty acids help the skin stay supple. Many cold-water fish contain omega-3, mackerel, Salmon, sardines are all rich in fatty acids.  Vegetarians should include chai seeds, flaxseed, walnuts and soy beans in their diet.

Keep Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water can help elastic fibres be more flexible and keep your skin supple.

Moisturising

Keeping the skin supple may be helpful in reducing the risk of stretch marks.  Massaging your skin with almond oil, and products rich in natural oils such as cocoa butter or coconut oil can help moisturise and strengthen the skin.

Treatment

The appearance of stretch marks will improve over time but there are a few things you can try to speed this process up.

Clinical treatment

There are a variety of treatments at the disposal of the dermatologist and many of these are also available at beauty clinics.

laser therapy, such as pulsed light laser treatment
microdermabrasion
ultrasound treatment
radiofrequency treatment
chemical peels

A combination of these treatments may be required.

Lotions, Potions and Miracle Cures

There are no creams or oils proven to ‘cure’ stretch marks, however you may be able to limit the severity by using products as soon as they start to appear and incorporating them in your regular beauty regime.

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

HA occurs naturally in the skin and has recently become the most talked about beauty product ingredient as it has been found to be effective in treating a number of skin conditions.  Studies have shown that HA can make early stretch marks less noticeable.  HA does not work for everyone, and you are most likely to see the best results when it is used over a long period. 

Published: 02 September 2019