Introduction To Stretch Mark Removal
Here are some answers to common questions regarding stretch marks. What exactly are stretch marks? What causes them? And, what are the realistic chances of getting rid of stretch marks?
A common misconception about stretch marks (commonly referred to as striae in dermatology) is that they are caused by the over-stretching of the skin. This is not entirely true. The underlying reason is changes in the body's hormones that are often seen with large weight fluctuations, puberty and pregnancy. Hormones closely resemble fat cells in the body. So, when there are rapid changes in the amount of fat added or lost, hormonal changes occur. The hormonal changes in turn affect the production of collagen and elastin which make up the support network of the dermis layer of the skin. When the skin cannot produce enough collagen and elastin, the skin becomes less elastic. When the skin is stretched beyond it's ability to regenerate fast enough, linear "thin areas" form that become stretch marks.
When stretch marks are recent, it's very common to have some discoloration of the skin. Generally within the first few years after they have formed. This purple to red stretch marks are caused from bleeding near the surface of the skin. Similar to a bruise, the lack of collagen affects the dermisí smaller blood vessels, causing them to dilate. The outer layer of the skin, known as the epidermis, has also thinned and results in the discoloration being prominent throughout the stretch marks.
Having stretch marks is not something that anyone wants to deal with. Many women and men feel embarrassed and self-conscious, especially during warmer months when more revealing clothing is the norm. This can have a profound effect on ones lifestyle. When stretch marks start to affect your enjoyment and body image, it's an appropriate time to consider some of the many stretch mark removal methods available today.
One of the other misconceptions about stretch marks is that they can be completely removed or eliminated. Apart from an abdominoplasty (commonly known as a tummy tuck) for the belly region, stretch marks cannot be completely removed. However, there are numerous treatment methods for stretch marks and combinations of treatment methods that can minimize the appearance of stretch marks so that they are difficult to notice.
Some of the common treatments for stretch marks include topical prescription retinoids, dermabrasion, massage therapy and several laser stretch mark removal treatments. One of the newest and most effective methods of laser treatment is fractional laser skin resurfacing which works well for both red and white stretch marks.
As well, many stretch mark sufferers also try home remedies passed to them from others who have had success. Generally, home remedies such as shea butter, cocoa butter, almond oil or one of the many other moisturizing creams have no effect on existing stretch marks. Where they may have some success is in the prevention of stretch marks.
When considering any type of stretch mark treatment, the first place to start is by educating yourself to the many options. Do some research online or at your local library. Then, once you are informed, visit your doctor or dermatologist for a full evaluation. A good dermatologist will have knowledge of all the latest treatments available in your area.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dean is a medical researcher and freelance writer specializing in cosmetic procedures and related health and wellness issues. Learn more about minimizing pregnancy stretch marks and other stretch mark related subjects at laser stretch mark removal info