What are stretch marks

It is not easy to prevent the appearance of stretch marks and even more difficult to get rid of them. However, this does not mean that we should give up and live with them.

The appearance of stretch marks is a phenomenon that at times employs almost every human being, causing great inconvenience and frustration. Both men and women may develop stretch marks on various parts of their body, including the belly, stomach, thighs, hips, breast, arms and back.

While seemingly stretch marks are considered as a temporary consequence of sudden weight fluctuation, most ‘sufferers’ consider it impossible to completely get rid of them.

Stretch marks are a “headache” for women, but also for several men after having their skin to looks like “broken” and then white lines are appearing.

The characteristics of stretch marks

Stretch marks are essentially a type of scar caused by the rupture of the dermis (the middle layer of the skin) because of sudden stretching (pulling) the skin, usually following rapid weight change or due to hormonal changes such as pregnancy, puberty and excessive muscle volume increase.

They are due to atrophy and absence of the skin layer. The 75-90% of women will develop stretch marks during pregnancy to some extent, while the higher risk presented by the teenage mothers.

Stretch marks may occur among men when they being overweight, after major weight changes, and also their development has been associated with the use of steroids.

They can appear anywhere in the body but usually they are developed on the body places with a large accumulation of fat such as the belly, chest, arms, underarms, back, inner and outer thighs, hips and buttocks.

Initially, the streaks that is appearing are pink or red-purple color while gradually “fade” and become white or silver. Stretch marks typically are found in pregnant women and in people who had a sudden changes in their body weight.

The second category includes those suffering from diseases such as tuberculosis, chronic liver disease, anorexia nervosa or typhoid fever.

The body areas that are particularly vulnerable to the appearance of stretch marks is the belly, thighs, the armpits and the breasts.

Know the facts

Your skin consists of three layers: the outer (epidermis), the middle (the dermis), and the subcutaneous tissue. Collagen and elastin, which are part of the connective tissue, they pass through the dermis providing elasticity and firmness.

Stretch marks are appearing when the dermis is expanding faster than withstand the elastin fibers:

The connective tissue breaks creating small tears that appear on the skin as stretch marks. Depending on the natural colours of your skin, stretch marks start as pink, reddish or brown lines, which later get a brighter purple.

This may be due to wearing of the blood vessels, as the tissue is stretched. Gradually the lines become flat and fade, acquiring colour slightly lighter than your natural.

Over time this lack of colour leads to white or semitransparent scars which entailing to mature stretch marks. Weight control and healthy skin can reduce the intensity of stretch marks.

What to watch out for

Some of the causes for their appearance are the following:

  • The sudden fluctuation in the weight and the height that weakens the skin elasticity.
  • High levels of estrogens and progesterone, which circulate through your arteries when you are pregnant or taking the contraceptives. These hormones are considered responsible for the delay of collagen and elastin production, making the skin more susceptible.
  • Bad habits such as diet low in vitamin A and proteins, which stimulates the production of cells as well as smoking can reduce the elasticity of the skin.

Stretch marks occur after weight gain, sudden increase in height during puberty or during pregnancy.

Stretch marks are linear discolored marks on the skin surface that usually occur in the abdomen area, as well as the thighs, arms and breasts.

The main cause of stretch marks is during pregnancy but equally frequent cause is a sudden increase or decrease in weight, rapid growth, heredity and even stress.

The skin consists of three main layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue. Stretch marks are formed in the dermis, where the connective tissue is stretched beyond its elastic limit. As is stretched so severely, collagen is weakened in the region that is resulting to interrupt the reproduction. The result is the scars we call stretch marks.

During the first stage of their formation they appear to be more pink colour, then slowly becoming mostly white while taking their final form. Stretch marks hassle mainly women causing insecurity about their image.

What exactly are stretch marks and how they are triggered. The term is therefore relates to streaks-striations usually arise from changes in the collagen and elastin of the matrix causing visible damage to the elastic fibers.

In simple words, the skin atrophies and begins to form a gently wrinkled surface (usually) white color. It is a form of scars formed on the skin that are usually in linear configuration.

Stretch marks may have skin color or have a reddish shade when it is more recent. These scars are located in the deeper layers of the skin but the skin above the stretch marks appears as normal. In contrast, the skin and the subcutaneous tissue displays a rift which leads to the appearance of the stretch marks.

The best way of controlling the problem is to use special moisturizing products. In particular, those containing vitamin E which helps to rebuild the skin and restore skin health. Great is also the contribution of products containing vitamin A, as it helps peeling the skin and create new healthy cells in combination with the production of collagen.

Beyond that, experts recommend a visit to a dermatologist in order to assess the specific nature of the problem and to follow such action without the risk for “permanency” or the occurrence of undesirable side effects if you are using medicinal products without doctors advice.