Photo Credit: Mederma
(via HealthNewsDigest.com) – Most women who have experienced the rigors of pregnancy have a permanent reminder in their stretch marks. Unfortunately if your mother had stretch marks during her pregnancies, you are more likely to have them as well. These marks appear as red or dark horizontal threads along the skin, and can become permanent scars. Stretch marks occur when skin stretches and expands quickly and beyond its limit. Tiny tears appear in the supporting layers of skin. Pregnancy stretch marks are most common on the abdomen, breasts, thighs or buttocks. The biggest issue for most women is how to get rid of them and prevent new ones from forming.
According to Dr. Shirley Madhere, a New York plastic surgeon, “Actually 10-20% of men have some stretch marks, but otherwise, they are more commonly seen in women. The keys are prevention and to start treatment early.” Prevention is clearly better than treatment or removal. Rapid weight gain, during pregnancy and otherwise, is a primary cause of stretch marks. The best way to avoid them is to keep your body and skin well hydrated to increase skin elasticity and prevent stretch marks from forming. Apply generous amounts of rich emollient creams containing cocoa or shea butter, wheat germ oil and vitamin E on your abdomen, thighs and breasts. Avoid scratching as your stomach expands and your dry skin becomes itchy. Religious daily use of moisturizing creams will help heal stretch marks by rebuilding the structure of your skin.
The classic French pharmacy brand Lierac Paris has a long history of fighting stretch marks with its best selling Phytolastil Solute which was originally launched in 1975. This light gel formulation is recommended for use twice daily during pregnancy as well as a solution to improve stretch marks you already have and contains botanicals alchemilla, ivy and horsetail. Another over the counter stretch mark remedy is Bio-Oil that contains PurCellin Oil™, which is indicated not only for stretch marks but also for scars, uneven skin tone, aging and dehydrated skin. Interestingly, PurCellin Oil was created in the lab to mimic the preen gland oil that ducks secrete and spread on their feathers. This addition maintains an oil base but the formula is a cream that is absorbed by the skin. One of the more recent stretch mark remedies is Mederma Stretch Mark Therapy, a silky gel which contains a blend of ingredients plus the botanical extract Cepalin®, hyaluronic acid and centella asiatica leaf extract. The trick is that you have to apply it evenly and massage it in a circular pattern into the areas where stretch marks are most likely to show up (thighs, butt, tummy, knees) twice a day to enjoy the benefits.
For newer stretchmarks that are pigmented, laser therapy is among the permanent solutions that have recently emerged. Laser energy is used to repair the skin’s natural synthesis of collagen. The new Palomar Lux1540 fractional non-ablative laser recently received FDA approval for the treatment of stretch marks. Clinical studies have shown that subjects treated achieved an average improvement of between 51% and 75% in the appearance of their stretch marks. The treatment is comfortably tolerated because it only treats a small segment of skin at a time, leaving healthy skin surrounding the area untouched for faster healing. Lastly, don’t forget the old stretch mark standby of retinol, retinaldehyde and prescription strength tretinoin that help strengthen skin tone, texture and reduce pigment from stretch marks. RoC Retinol Anti Stretch Marks Moisturizing Care gives skin extra resilience to reduce their appearance.
Wendy Lewis is President of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd, Global Aesthetics Consultancy, author of 10 beauty books and the Founder and Editor of BeautyintheBag.com