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The Truth about Stretch Marks

The Truth about Stretch Marks
by Joanne Elliott

 

What is a stretch mark?

Stretch marks (or Striae Gravid arum) is a term that refers to the scars on your skin which are caused damage to the elastic fibres that help skin stretch. Stretch marks are perfectly normal, and most women - and even some men - have them!

What do stretch marks look like?

Depending on your skin color, stretch marks start out as pink, reddish brown, brown, or very dark brown streaks. After time they can fade to a more silvery color that’s lighter than your other skin.

Where do they normally happen on your body?

They can happen anywhere on your body, but are most common on hips, breasts and buttocks.

How can I avoid getting stretch marks?

Whether you get them or not is simply a matter of genetics… that is, how elastic your skin is. There’s nothing you can do, so don’t worry about it either way!

Does cream help?

Many women use various types of creams, lotions, and oils to try to prevent stretch marks from forming. Unfortunately, while such products soothe and soften the skin, there is no medical evidence to prove that they actually work! So beware of advertisers trying to sell you expensive products claiming that they prevent stretch marks!
This said, there is some new medical research which shows that some specific creams may be able to help the appearance of stretch marks. Apparently, using 0.1 percent Tretinoin cream (commonly known by the trade name Retin-A) on stretch marks will slightly reduce the length and width of stretch marks.
(N.B. As this is a new development, Tretinoin should not be used during pregnancy or breast feeding).

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy can also help improve the appearance of stretch marks. This is where a surgeon uses different types of lasers, depending on the color of the stretch marks. Traditionally, one type reduces the color of dark stretch marks, the other stimulates the production of pigment-making cells in already faded stretch marks. There is an even newer type of laser therapy that can also be used help the body produce collagen to help restore the elasticity of the skin in depressed stretch marks. This is a very serious and expensive route to follow. You would need to talk your decision through fully with a skin specialist before making a final decision.

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