For most people, stretch marks are ghastly and a nuisance. The best measure and treatment for stretch marks is to never get them in the first place, as trying to get rid of them can be pretty challenging. The amount and degree of severity of individual stretch marks will vastly vary from person to person. Unfortunately a lot if it comes down to good ole genetics.
Stretch marks are caused when our skin stretches beyond its comfortable limits. The two most common reasons people get stretch marks are rapid weight gain and loss and pregnancy. Many teenagers are also afflicted by them as their hormonal levels increase pumping more steroids into our bodies and causing sometimes quick growth and increased or fluctuated weight.
Genetically, some have a component or disorder that directly affects the tissue and how it grows and expands. If one of your parents has been prone to stretch marks it is quite likely that you will be predisposed to them as well regardless of preventative measures taken. Because the actual cause of stretch marks is vastly unknown, it is hard for the scientific community to place a finger on how to definitively prevent them but there are some things that can be done to minimize the likelihood of them or at the very least, the amount of them.
Upwards of 85-90% of women have some sort of stretch marks in varying degrees somewhere on their bodies; even those who are otherwise very slim. This is what prompted doctors and scientists to investigate their cause further and how genetic factors have been attributed to stretch marks.
Stretch marks in their infancy are generally light pink to dark red; as they and we age, they often turn a milky white or silver in color. Finding things to cure or get rid of stretch marks has been frustrating particularly to the female population since their discovery.
The best way to prevent stretch marks is to watch your weight carefully. Any quick increase or rapid decrease in weight will most likely result in stretch marks. Most weight gain is due to over eating and eating the wrong things. Carbohydrates and large amounts of sugar will cause rapid weight gain often. Therefore, as well as watching your food and drink intake it is also recommended that one exercises regularly.
Keeping your body moisturized and hydrated is also an effective way to prevent stretch marks especially when pregnant. Hydrated and moisturized skin results in the skin and tissue being more elasticized and when there is weight gain it is able to stretch easier. As tissue expands it is literally ripping and tearing; when skin is moisturized and hydrated the negative effects of the tearing are much more minimal.
Use a good moisturizer at least three times per day at the minimum and try to do so up to five times daily for the best results. Drink the recommended eight or more eight ounce glasses of water per day, and more when the weather is hot or you plan to sweat.
If stretch marks become present, the earlier you treat them the better off you will be. Take extra care to moisturize those affected areas as well as areas more prone to stretch marks such as the buttocks, thighs, stomach and under arms, as the tissue here is less malleable.
There are many over the counter products and creams available to treat stretch marks and some work better than others. Although they haven’t been proven to be largely affective, many can diminish the redness so there appears to be less of them.
There are also a variety of prescription oral contraceptives and creams such as the popular Tretinoin cream that some people swear by. Again, genetics may play a role in how well your body responds to preventative methods such as these and it is important to not put all your stock into them working, as many do fail to yield the results people hope for.
Wheat germ oils have gained popularity for those who suffer and want to get rid of stretch marks. Although not scientifically proven, some who have used this claim it works miracles. When stretch marks first appear a few daily rubbings of this oil to the affected areas has been shown to reduce the wide and redness of stretch marks.
Some doctors encourage glycolic acid treatments but they are costly at about $100 per treatment. The acid is said to increase the production of collagen for the skin’s elastic properties and after a few treatments can reduce stretch marks.
For prevention taking at least 500 mg of vitamin C also may reduce stretch marks as it affects the collagen production, as do retinoid products. Using both of these in combination has shown reduced stretch marks and even the occurrence of them at all.
There are laser treatments available as well and these seem to have the most promise and best results when getting rid of stretch marks. The procedure is costly and is not usually covered by insurance plans. Not only do the lasers get rid of or reduce the stretch marks, but it also encourages new production and growth of collagen, so future stretch marks are less likely. For the most part four to six sessions are required for the best results and cost about $300-$450 per treatment.