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Stretch Marks 101: Causes, Treatments & Side Effects

Stretch Marks 101: Causes, Treatments & Side Effects

stretch marks information

Stretch Marks 101: Causes, Treatments & Side Effects

Stretch marks appear as raised lines on the skin. They occur due to rapid changes in the dermis, the middle skin layer over a period of time. These changes include weight and height changes. They affect men and women of all ages and nationalities.
They occur when there is hormonal change in the body due to puberty, pregnancy, medical ailments, extreme weight gain, or growth spurts. Heredity is also a factor with stretch marks. Since they occur in the dermis, they can appear anywhere on the body.

How do I know I have stretch marks?

You will see raised lines or striations on your body. The locations could vary from the upper arms, thighs, abdomen, breasts, buttocks, and nearly everywhere on you body. The lines may appear red in the beginning developing phase. They may also be itchy as the skin stretches and the stretch marks develop.

stretch marks information
Credit Photo © markcarper – Fotolia.com

How do they look?

The appearance of stretch marks depend on the race of the person affected. Sometimes they are red or purple while other times they are silvery or pale. As they age, the color may blend in with original skin tone. Everyone’s experience is different.

What are common causes of stretch marks?

For women, pregnancy is a major reason for stretch marks. As the baby grows, the abdominal skin begins to stretch, resulting in stretch marks. They may also occur on the legs, arms, and breast during pregnancy.

For men, body building can cause stretch marks as the muscles grow rapidly during workouts. Stretch marks can occur on the chest, arms,  and legs during the body transformation.

Obesity or rapid weight gain causes stretch marks in men and women. Rapid height increases can also cause stretch marks. Medical conditions requiring cortisones or steroids have been proved to cause stretch marks as well.

Besides the visual symptoms, what are some other symptoms of stretch marks?

Another physical symptom of stretch marks itchy dry skin. As the skin is expanding, itchiness and sensitivity may be experienced. Red skin or red striations in the skin may appear as the stretch marks are forming.

When should you see your doctor?

Talk to your doctor when you notice you skin changes. They can advise you on how to proceed with the care of your skin.

How can I get rid of stretch marks?

You can make them appear less apparent and blend in with your skin using the following techniques:

Moisturizing the area affected by stretch marks.

  • When stretch marks are forming, the most common symptom is itchy skin. While this is happening, moisturizing your skin with a good oil or lotion may relieve these symptoms. Some lotions and oils may also assist in blending the changing skin with the rest of your skin tone.  Vitamin E and Shea butter are traditional remedies for the dry skin symptoms.

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Your doctor may have surgical alternatives for you. Consider these only when you have exhausted the over the counter and natural remedies available to you.

  • Laser Treatments can reduce the appearance of the old and young stretch marks. These treatments can start with a price ranging from $400 to $1000 to initiate the treatment.
  • Retinols & Glycolic Acids are cheaper have been proven to diminish the signs of stretch marks. While these results are great, they make the skin more sensitive to sun exposure. These two chemicals can be used alone or together to increase the collagen production in the skin. Its best to use then under the guidance of doctor to ensure they are used properly.

Side Effects Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are a natural occurrence but when it happens to you, you may feel isolated. This type of feeling can cause self-esteem issues especially when you feel you look different that the rest of your peers.

Due to this, many people alter their wardrobes to hide or camouflage their changing skin. This is most apparent in the summer time, especially during swim suit season.

Relationship issues may occur as a result of stretch marks. Hiding your body from your loved one may cause intimacy issues if you are embarrassed of completely exposing yourself to the person who loves you the most.