Striae, or stretch marks, can be quite upsetting. You can develop stretch marks on your thighs, groin, abdomen, breasts, buttocks, back, and axillae. The classification of stretch marks is according to epidemiology, for instance red stretch marks are striae rubrae.
Striae are a kind of dermal scarring that occurs due to stretching of the dermis. They are most commonly owing to a rapid gain (or loss) in weight. The occurrence of these marks could be due to structural alterations of elastic tissue and dermal collagen and hormones.
As a result, an entire series of parallel rents in the skin appear. There is rarely a single stretch mark since these marks appear as several parallel lines.
The classic case is pregnancy. However, these marks are not only common among women but also men. Many times male body builders also develop these marks after rapid addition of weight or muscle mass.
No matter what the cause, striae, or stretch marks can occur owing to several factors. However, it is a fact that they are more common in women than men. It is also more prevalent in dark-skinned individuals who have a family history of having stretch marks. According to several studies, they are also more common in smokers than in non-smokers.
Increase in your weight and abdominal girth can cause stretch marks. However, a few doctors also suggest that people who engage in regular exercise and maintain a healthy diet have fewer chances of attaining these marks.
Nevertheless, there is plenty of research to conclude if lifestyle modifications can actually have a long-lasting effect on preventing stretch marks.
How to Deal With Stretch Marks
Although, you may not be able to prevent stretch from appearing, there are several ways to correct this skin condition. Intense pulsed light therapy, platelet rich plasma therapy, microdermabrasion and microneedling therapy, are a few popular ways of improving the appearance of stretch marks.
There are many cases of successful stretch marks treatment by means of pulse dye laser, which is a common laser that’s often used in dermatology for treating vascular lesions including cherry angiomas and port wine stains. They are a popular treatment for striae rubra. As the name suggests, these marks are red in color.
However, once these marks mature and become silver or white, they are more stubborn to treat. Doctors believe that nano-fractional radiofrequency therapy is successful for treating striae alba, and according to published reviews, radiofrequency in collaboration with other treatment methods such as platelet rich plasma therapy or microneedling are beneficial. However, it is sometimes difficult to compare the effectiveness of all the lasers since each paper employs various protocols and different treatments.
Apart from using natural remedies to deal with stretch marks, here are a few tested ways to enhance the appearance of stretch marks.
The topical vitamin A derivative boosts new collagen production. According to a 2014 study published in the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, affected individuals who used retinoid daily for over 16 weeks, successfully reduce the appearance of red or new marks. Nevertheless, don’t use it if you are pregnant.
Using A Rich Cream or Lotion
Another potent way of getting rid of striae is to use a petroleum-based moisturizer that effectively forms a protective seal over the skin. This treatment results in healing the skin for minimizing stretch marks.
Several dermatologists recommend treating stretch marks with a fractional laser, such as the Fraxel Dual. You will observe notable results after four or five treatments over the course of three months. This treatment method makes stretch marks almost invisible and reduces their appearance to a significant percent.
Microneedling with radio frequency can poke tiny holes in the skin for boosting healing, to help you get rid of all abnormal scars. Moreover, a radio-frequency laser heats underneath the skin and builds collagen to tighten stubborn marks. This technology is particularly useful for treating stretch marks in patients with dark skin, since there are no chances of triggering hyperpigmentation.
Using a Self-Tanner
You can also benefit from a self-tanner if your skin is fair to medium. Thanks to a self-tanner, you can hide unpleasant striae. The best part is that there is no smell or irritation.
Natural Ways to Remove Striae
Like all scars, stretch marks are permanent. However, natural remedies and other treatments can make them less noticeable and alleviate the itch. According to researchers, all products containing hyaluronic acid or centella prevent stretch marks. Our skin naturally contains hyaluronic acid while centella is an herb.
There are other natural products that help reduce stretch marks and minimize their appearance if not make them disappear forever. However, it requires strict discipline and a regular skin care routine.
Cocoa butter is a safe home remedy for reducing striae. It is safe for pregnant women to use throughout their pregnancy. The best time to apply it is before going to bed in the night. Massage it well so that your skin absorbs the lotion completely. With regular use over a prolonged period, you will notice that the stretch marks have faded away.
Lemon Juice and Cucumber
Thanks to the natural acidity of lemon juice, you can successfully reduce scar formation whereas the soothing effect of cucumber juice leaves the skin fresh. Take cucumber juice and lime juice in equal parts, and mix them together. Apply this mixture on the scars so that your skin soaks it up.
Stretch marks have a dried and shriveled look. You can enhance their appearance with moisture and nourishment. A great way to nourish stretch marks is to smoothen them by applying castor oil. However, the remedy only works when you use it regularly.
Striae correction products that are available at your local store are often very expensive. If you find that spending time and money is not bringing you any worthwhile results, get in touch with a board-certified dermatologist for choosing the best treatment.