Imagine this: it’s summer and you’re going on a beach trip with your friends. You want to wear a cute bathing suit, but there’s a problem.
You want to enjoy your vacation, but suddenly you feel self-conscious about your body.
Sound familiar? If you can relate to this scenario, you belong to the 80 percent of American men and women affected by stretch marks.
That’s right, even men struggle with stretch marks.
I know I’ve always wondered — What causes stretch marks? And, more importantly, how do I get rid of them?!
What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks typically look like bands of parallel lines on your skin. Before they emerge, you may notice your skin feeling thin and itchy. Stretch marks usually start as wrinkly, grooved streaks that can be pinkish, reddish, gray or dark brown, depending on the color of your skin. Over time, these lines assume a lighter or darker appearance from your actual skin tone, making them more apparent. While stretch marks can appear anywhere including your arms and legs, they commonly affect the following parts of your body:
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Many factors can cause stretch marks, but the primary underlying reason they appear is a sudden stretching of the skin.
Your skin is made up of 2 layers:
- The dermis – the deep, dense connective tissue layer, and
- The epidermis – the superficial, surface “skin” layer.
When the skin is stretched suddenly, the epidermis (outer layer) tears and exposes the deep underlayer (the dermis). The tears typically happen as long, parallel lines, so those dark lines you see are the dermis showing through the tears.
Rapid changes in your body don’t allow your skin enough time to expand gradually. These changes include:
- Weight Gain – Sudden, rapid weight gain is one of the leading causes of stretch marks in adults – and is the easiest cause to avoid.
- Puberty – Adolescents experience growth spurts in both height and weight gain, making them prone to stretch marks.
- Pregnancy – Up to 90 percent of pregnant women get stretch marks, due to the sudden increase in abdomen and breast size, as well as associated weight gain.
- Increased Cortisol Levels – Cortisol is a stress hormone that regulates metabolism. It increases during pregnancy and puberty, and is associated with weight gain and increased belly fat.
- Using Corticosteroid Creams – Applying corticosteroid creams for long periods of time can reduce collagen in the skin. Less collagen decreases the skin’s elasticity, making it prone to stretch marks.
- Marfan Syndrome (MFS) – MFS is a genetic condition of the connective tissue that leads to decreased skin elasticity.
How Do You Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
The bad news?
Stretch marks don’t really completely go away.
The good news!
They eventually fade, even without treatment.
However, if you don’t want to wait for time to minimize those ugly lines, there are things you can do to speed up the lightening process.
- Collagen Boosters – Topical creams with lupin seed extract, StriVectin-SD and Pro-Sveltyl promotes collagen production to improve the skin’s elasticity, reducing the appearance of stretch marks.
- Tretinoin Cream – The active ingredient Retin-A helps restore the skin’s collagen and even treats wrinkles. However, tretinoin can cause skin irritation and scaling. It’s not advisable for pregnant women.
- Moisturizers – Skin care lotions with vitamin E, shea butter and cocoa butter can help your skin feel soft and supple. However, there is no high-quality evidence that proves simple moisturizers can significantly help lighten stretch marks.
- Microdermabrasion – This cosmetic procedure uses small crystals to gently remove the top most layer of the skin, revealing new skin underneath. It’s been proven to reduce the appearance of old stretch marks.
- Fractional CO2 Laser Therapy – This cosmetic laser procedure is used to reduce stretch marks and wrinkles. It’s one of the latest tools in non-surgical skin renewal treatments that can be used on both dark and light skin tones.
Help Your Stretch Marks Heal with Skinception
Skinception is an intensive stretch mark therapy cream that boosts collagen and elastin production to restore the skin’s elasticity. Tested on women with post-pregnancy stretch marks, Skinception is shown to reduce the appearance of dark lines in just 2 months. It’s active ingredient Regestril reduces up to 72.5 percent of visible stretch marks to reveal smooth and healthy skin.
Let’s face it, having stretch marks can make you uncomfortable with your appearance. We know in our heads that the most important beauty is what we have on the inside, but we sure would like our outer appearance to match our inner beauty!
Just remember, you’re not alone. Men and women of all ages and all sizes have stretch marks. And, if you want to give time a helping hand in the stretch mark healing process, there are things you can do to help those dark lines fade to a barely noticeable level.