Q: How can I get rid of stretch marks?
A: Stretch marks occur when the skin is over-stretched like during pregnancy, during the growth spurt of the teenage years and during rapid weight gain or loss. So the skin, sort of, loses its elasticity, over stretches, leading to the breaking the of interconnected fibres of the middle layer of skin, dermis. When this happens, the blood vessels show through, with the characteristic red or purple colour stretch marks have initially. As the blood vessels contract, the pale fat underneath the skin shows through causing the stretch marks to assume their usual pale colour.
Stretch marks can also occur in people who have a family history, people with underlying health conditions like Cushing’s syndrome ~(where the body produces too much of the hormone, Cortisol) and sometimes after prolonged use/abuse of steroid creams (some of these are used to treat eczema).
Common areas for stretch marks to occur are the breasts, tummy, buttocks, upper arms, shoulders and thighs.
Before the appearance of stretch marks, the affected area becomes thin and you may develop an itch there. The stretch marks when they first appear are slightly raised but eventually, flatten out. As they flatten, the colour becomes less pronounced until they leave pale silvery or whitish streaks, depending on skin colour.
As described above, the ‘damage’ to the skin is done from the inside and not the outside. This makes it difficult to really take care of it from the outside. Having said that, creams that contain shea butter, cocoa butter and Vitamin E are thought to be useful in causing the marks to fade.
Other creams that contain olive oil, castor oil and fruit acids may also be helpful. There are some other advanced treatments like glycolic acid peels, laser therapy etc, (that you must NOT attempt on your own) that are helpful with old and new marks. Discuss these options with your dermatologist.
I hope that this helps.
Have a great day 😀