The human body is pretty interesting – and skin even more so! Protein, keratin, collagen and other components make it the miracle that it is!
Our skin is our biggest barrier against extreme temperatures, environmental damages and harmful chemicals. And of course, it gives us the appearance we cherish so much. But like our bodies and anything, it’s also prone to wear and tear. Stretch marks are some of the telltale signs of that wear and tear.
With so many bodily changes occurring throughout our lives, have you ever wondered what stretch marks are and what they mean?
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks, medically known as striae, are a form of scarring on the skin with an off-color hue. They are caused by tearing of the dermis, which is often a result of the rapid stretching of the skin associated with rapid growth or weight changes. Stretch marks may also be influenced by hormonal changes associated with puberty, pregnancy, bodybuilding, or hormone replacement therapy. You probably recognize them as the skin stretches across your abdomen, arms, buttocks, shoulders, breasts and other body areas that look like thin slivers. They also feel smooth and are slightly different than the epidermis surrounding it.
What Causes Them?
When your skin stretches and contracts time and again, it causes the skin-building material to break and stretch to accommodate the changes. Usually, stretch marks are caused by:
- Rapid Weight Gain
- Muscle Building
- Puberty and Growth Spurts
- Genetic Disposition
- Health Conditions
There are two main types of stretch marks:
Striae Rubrae: These are new stretch marks that appear red or purple. This coloring is due to the blood vessels showing through the tears in the dermis. Striae rubrae are often slightly raised and can be itchy.
Striae Albae: Over time, stretch marks mature into an older version known as striae albae. These are usually white or silver in appearance, are less pronounced, and are more in line with the skin's normal texture, though they remain visible.
What Do Different Kinds Of Stretch Marks Mean?
Initially, stretch marks can look pink, red, brown, black, silver, or purple. Over time, the color fades, and the narrow bands sink beneath your skin. If you touch them, you might feel a slight ridge or indentation on your skin. Although stretch marks are common in both men and women, they are more frequent in women, especially during and after pregnancy.
Stretch marks don’t necessarily look the same. In fact, depending on what’s going on in your body and even your ethnicity, they can be colored differently.
However, it’s important to know what your stretch marks can look like so you can take better care of yourself.
White Stretch Marks: White stretch marks are scars that have been on your body for quite a while, meaning they’re old scars. The best way to treat these is by hydrating and moisturizing the skin regularly.
Silver Stretch Marks: If your stretch marks are silver, this means they’ve been around for quite some time. Silver stretch marks are harder to combat. However, with sufficient care, they can be controlled and improved.
Pink/Red Stretch Marks: Think red as a warning sign! Rapid weight gain, pregnancies and lack of moisture can cause the epidermis to form red streaks. The red hue is the result of blood vessels being visible through a fresh tear in the skin’s epidermis. Luckily, these can be treated easily.
Purple/Blue Stretch marks: The darker the stretch mark, the newer it is. But the best part is that they can be easily controlled, treated and lightened.
However, if your stretch marks are red, purple or similar to these hues, it’s best to check yourself for adrenal gland issues like the Cushing’s Disease, Marfan’s Syndrome or the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
How to Treat Stretch Marks
Stretch marks aren’t dangerous; they only cause mild discomfort such as itchiness. Also, even though they appear red, pink or dark purple in the beginning, they typically fade and lighten over time. Therefore, stretch marks don’t require any medical treatment. However, if you want to improve the appearance of your skin and reduce stretch marks, you can consult a dermatologist.
Treating stretch marks, which are often a result of rapid skin stretching due to growth spurts, weight gain, or pregnancy, involves several approaches. While completely erasing stretch marks may not be possible, their appearance can be significantly reduced. Topical treatments like retinoid creams, which are derived from vitamin A, can help to rebuild collagen and make the marks look more like your normal skin.
Some of the most popular stretch mark treatments are:
Retinoids provide many benefits to your skin, including a reduction in the appearance of stretch marks. Creams such as tretinoin are popularly used on new stretch marks to lighten their appearance. However, retinoid creams aren’t recommended if you’re pregnant. Your doctor will most likely prescribe you alternatives.
Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive procedure that helps remove the outer layer of your skin through a rigorous process of exfoliation. Getting rid of the topmost layer of skin helps make way for new and potentially more elastic skin. By doing so, it helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks, and improve the overall appearance of your skin.
Chemical peels help reduce stretch marks and improve the texture and appearance of your skin by removing the outer layer of skin cells. This skin treatment also helps stimulate your body’s own healing process, encouraging it to produce more collagen to offer support to the underlying structure of your skin. The longevity of the results of the peel depend on its depth. A typical chemical peel treatment to reduce stretch marks includes the use of trichloroacetic acid to remove the outer layer of skin and promote skin growth.
Light and Laser Therapies
Many dermatologists also suggest the use of either red or blue light and laser therapies. The most common laser treatment for stretch marks is the pulsed-dye laser treatment that helps in the stimulation of collagen and elastin in your skin.
Topical creams and lotions are one of the best ways to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Certain contain all-natural ingredients that hydrate the skin and help get rid of red or pink stretch marks. This treatment typically doesn’t work as effectively on old and faded stretch marks. If you are looking for a fantastic natural cream for stretch marks, check out the amazing stretch mark cream by ML Delicate Beauty!
Even though these stretch mark treatments can help improve the appearance and texture of your stretch marks, it’s quite unlikely that you will be able to get rid of them completely. A good idea is to try a few treatments together and see how that works.
Hyaluronic acid and certain peptides may also aid in this process. Laser therapy is another option, which works by stimulating collagen and elastin growth. Microneedling, which uses tiny needles to prick the skin and stimulate skin regeneration, is another technique. It's important to keep in mind that these treatments may vary in effectiveness depending on the age and severity of the stretch marks, as well as individual skin types. Moisturizing the skin regularly and maintaining a healthy diet that supports skin health can also be beneficial in preventing new stretch marks.
Check out our go to miracle stretch mark removal cream – it’s packed with nature’s goodness and has tons of positive reviews because it actually works!
Let’s talk – how do you feel about your stretch marks? Do you prefer natural treatments or intensive procedures?
- How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks Using Natural Ingredients
- Stretch Marks and Your Body
- The Best Stretch Mark Removal Cream
- Microdermabrasion and Stretch Mark Removal Cream
Christine Wright is a trusted beauty expert and an esthetician who is loved by editors and bloggers. She is a prolific writer on the topics of natural, chemical-free skin and body care. She also does reviews on store brand beauty products, with fairness and a real point-of-view. She is well-known of creating products for specific skin types, especially to those with ultra-sensitive faces.
Opinions expressed are those of the writer.
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