There are few skin issues as widespread as stretch marks. They are one of those seemingly inevitable issues for many of us given they are highly easy to causes and more than a bit frustrating to treat. Stretch marks are widely viewed as unsightly by society and as a result, many of us end up feeling shame over them. This doesn’t make much sense since stretch marks are a natural result of simply living after a certain point, but social views have a way of warping how we view such things. Even if we don’t necessarily feel ashamed of them, many of us just want to tidy them up because they conflict with our visions of ourselves. This is entirely reasonable when contrasted with an enforced shame. That’s why we’re going to take a quick look at the causes and potential treatments for stretch marks. This should give us all a clearer idea of what we can do to minimize their occurrence and how to respond to them properly to correct any that have already appeared.

Causes
Stretch marks are, in essence, a form of scarring. Repeated stress on skin tissue in the area of the stretch marks results in their appearance as the skin is no longer able to keep up reliably with the demands of the body. They most frequently happen in response to rapid weight fluctuations that demand the skin to grow and stretch in response. Skin can only grow and stretch at a particular rate though. Too much stretching leads to the skin stretching more than it is comfortable with and damaging the skin. This creates the scar tissue that is represented by stretch marks. They do help keep the skin intact and together, yes, but their comparative obviousness next to the rest of the skin makes them stand out. The fact that stretch marks are scar tissue is part of the reason they are so difficult to deal with a lot of the time. Fortunately, there are still options available to us for treating them even if they won’t completely remove the stretch marks.

Woman applying lotion after shower

Treatments
Most treatments for stretch marks revolve around trying to repair the damage as much as possible. As a result, you’ll find the major focus rests on medicated creams. Moisturizers and skin nourishing creams, in particular, tend to form the central roles in fading the marks. The former helps by hydrating and plumping the damaged skin to reduce the overall appearance of the stretch marks. Nourishing products take a different approach. They try to stimulate the collagen production in the area so that the damaged areas can be filled back in some. This will actually reduce the overall appearance of the stretch marks over time, but there is no viable way to make them entirely vanish. Cosmetic treatments do exist that can further help reduce the appearance of stretch marks though. Strong forms of exfoliation such as peels and dermabrasion tend to be favored as they remove layers of dead skin that can make stretch marks more apparent, but laser treatments exist too. These can stimulate collagen growth or help lighten darker areas to smooth out the appearance of stretch marks.

Prevention
Actively taking steps to prevent stretch marks is a little easier than you might think. A subtle factor that can influence outcomes is how much sun damage an area of skin has taken. Remember that sun exposure leads to free radical damage that degrades collagen in the skin over time. Excess sun damage practically ensures that the skin will end up being more prone to stretch marks. Remember to apply sunscreen to your skin before going outside. Apply it to all of it too to ensure proper protection. This will decrease your chances. Additionally, try to avoid scenarios where rapid weight gain and loss are likely. These will create the situations most likely to cause stretch marks. Your body is able to handle gradual weight gain and loss by allowing your skin to grow and stretch at a healthy rate. Let your body have the time it needs to avoid problems. This is a good thing to remember in all situations given your body, unlike modern society, doesn’t revolve around instant gratification.

Stretch marks can be a frustrating problem for many of us. After all, they leave particular areas of our skin with often obvious marks that make us feel poorly about ourselves. There is no reason to feel ashamed of those marks though. They are a natural part of the human body and pretty much everyone has them. Remembering this and taking the right steps to fade the stretch marks can help turn them into something we can accept about our bodies and manage over time.

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