It may surprise you to know that 80% of the people living in the US have stretch marks on their body . It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, stretch marks can appear and develop during times of rapid growth; height or weight, and sudden changes in hormones. During these periods of weight change, your skin may produce stretch marks as a natural reaction to the sudden alteration in your body shape. That’s right, they can form even if you lose weight, too – not just if you gain weight.
Stretch marks are commonly believed to affect women more than men – paired with pregnancy and hormonal change - but men can also develop them throughout their life, too. And, for some of us, it is all dependent on our genetics and how our skin copes with sudden changes. Sometimes you might just be more prone to them in your DNA, but that doesn’t mean they have to be something that you’re stuck with.
What are stretch marks?
You may or may not know this, but a stretch mark is a type of scar that appears on the dermis layer of skin - the middle layer that supports your skin’s elasticity. As your skin stretches too tightly and suddenly, it will break apart, resulting in dark red and purple tear marks visible on the top layer of your skin. Over time, these marks will fade and become almost translucent and shiny, very similar to scar tissue.
Stretch marks normally appear in the early stages of life, particularly when you’re pubescent and your body changes quickly over a short amount of time. The most common places to find them are around your bottom, thighs, breasts, stomach, and arms. During pregnancy, the skin has to stretch a lot and at a rapid rate, resulting in a lot of women suffering from stretch marks on their abdomen.
How To Reduce Stretch Marks?
There is more than one way to get rid of stretch marks, and although some may cost money, the results will be worth it.
It is important to love your body and the skin that you’re in, but there is no harm in wanting to edit a few lines and bumps here and there, especially if it will make you feel more confident. Take a look at the six ways you can reduce and remove your tiger stripes.
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is the secret weapon when it comes to treating and repairing your stretch marks. This vitamin group contains organic compounds which include retinol, retinoic acid and provitamin A carotenoids like beta-carotene, all proven to help improve the health and appearance of damaged skin.
Incorporating more vitamin A into your diet and your skincare routine is simple and easy. Foods such as;
- Sweet Potatoes (which are packed with beta-carotene)
- Vegetables (orange & yellow)
- Dark green leafy vegetables
These foods are a great source of the vitamin needed to help support your skin, supplying you with beneficial levels of retinol.
When it comes to your daily skin care routine, vitamin A is found in retinoid creams, too. It has been proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the production of collagen in your body . This vitamin will stimulate the development of new blood vessels in the skin which can improve and enhance the skin color, helping rid any grey undertones and dark spots too.
2. Laser Therapy
Now, if you’re happy to spend a few dollars on treatment, laser therapy is a great option for removing stretch marks from your body. With two different types of laser therapy available, ablative or non-ablative, you can medically restore your skin to look how it did before the stretch marks formed. Both are non-invasive treatments and depending on your skin type and severity of scaring, the length of treatment will differ, too - anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes.
Ablative laser treatment, such as Erbium YAG and CO2 target the epidermis, generating new layers of skin that will be smoother and more even in color. Whereas non-ablative treatments like Fraxel penetrate deep into the middle layer of skin, the dermis, and enhance the production of collagen, resulting in youthful, plump skin, filling out the scared areas and leaving you with minimal imperfections.
When it comes to skin regeneration and treatment, sometimes a simple, natural root plant can be the answer. Ginseng is packed with medicinal workings that are proven to help boost the production of collagen in your skin. The more collagen your body produces, the brighter and fuller your complexion will appear.
Here at Cel, we have taken the beneficial properties of the ginseng plant and used them in our Face Mask, formulated to help reduce discoloration, brighten the complexion and increase the production of collagen. And although it is called a face mask, it is suitable for any part of your body. Massage any excess serum from the mask into the problem areas for a better result.
4. Radiofrequency Microneedling
Microneedling is a popular alternative to laser therapy as it brings fewer risks of discoloration and scarring. Microneedling, peels, and creams can produce better results, just with a longer treatment period - which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This process creates tiny puncture wounds on the upper layer of your skin, also “damaging” the layers below the epidermis. As the needles penetrate, they promote and encourage collagen production and elastin, a process that naturally takes place when the skin has been damaged to heal and repair the wound.
The best thing about Microneedling is that once the treatment is complete, your skin will stay stretch mark free...indefinitely. After this treatment, the only way the marks could return is if you create the same problems; sudden weight gain or pregnancy.
5. Coconut Oil
An oldie but goldie, coconut oil has incredible healing and moisturizing properties that are perfect for supporting the reduction of scars and stretch marks . Whilst the vulnerable skin is in the "red stage", applying coconut oil every day can take away some of the dark colorations and speed up the healing process. As the red/purple color beings to fade, the stretch marks will become “silver” and shiny - hardly noticeable.
Coconut oil is a cheaper option, compared to the medical treatments above - with the added bonus of applying the oil in the comfort of your own home. Why not add this to your daily skincare routine and before you know it, your stretch marks will reduce and fade.
If you want to splash the cash a little and make sure your skin blemishes are completely removed for good, microdermabrasion could be a suitable procedure. Using controlled blasts of sterile micro-particles, the top layer of skin is rubbed off gently, exposing the smoother, unblemished skin below.
Once the epidermis layer has been damaged, this forces the body to behave as if an injury has occurred in the treated area. New, healthy cells will form to replace the removed layer of skin, reducing the original damaged stretch marks. As the body is reacting to an injury, you may experience swelling and redness, while the skin repairs, although this will be temporary.
Although stretch marks can make us feel a little down and insecure - stopping us from showing our bodies off at the poolside or to our loved ones – there are some ways that we can reduce and treat them. Prevention can be hard, as many of us will develop them during puberty due to a sudden change of height or body shape but using the tips above can help you reduce them and give yourself the boost of self-confidence.