Introduction to Stretch Marks

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Properly called as striae, stretch marks are a skin problem that many men and women face today. Stretch marks are actually considered as a form of scarring that happens when the second layer of the skin, which is the dermis, is stretched or expanded beyond its limits. There are several areas in the body where stretch marks may appear but usually in body parts where there is a large fat deposit such as the thigh, the buttocks, the legs, the belly, and the breasts. Stretch marks may appear reddish in color especially when it is newly formed, however, their visibility may gradually decrease over time. While stretch marks are generally harmless, many people, especially women prefer to have them removed as they can alter the appearance of body parts where they appear.

There are many theories as to why stretch marks are formed, and while most people think they are a result of rapid weight gain and weight loss (which is also partly true), studies suggest that they are actually a result of hormonal fluctuations. These hormonal fluctuations usually occur when a person gains weight during puberty and among women, during pregnancy. For men, stretch marks may develop as a result of muscle mass gain when body building. When there is a sudden change in weight, the glucocortisoid hormones in the body may affect the production of collagen and production in the skin. And since these two are what mainly gives the skin form and structure, the skin may lose support and begin to sag when collagen and elastin production is disturbed, thus, the development of stretch marks.

Again, stretch marks are not considered a harmful condition and will in no way ever produce a negative effect to the health. However, since they are too unsightly to look at sometimes, many people choose to have them gotten out of the way. While there are those who believe stretch marks can be removed naturally, many still prefer to opt for the fast and easy way, which is through surgery. One of the most common form of surgery for stretch marks is the Laser stretch mark removal. In this conventional procedure, stretch marks are removed through the use of a laser beam that zaps the damaged skin tissues. This may be a very quick solution for stretch marks but can also rather be expensive.

Another method is microdermabrasion. Just like in laser surgery, stretch marks are blasted in this procedure, only that aluminum oxide crystals are used instead of laser beams. Finally, there’s Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck as many people prefer to call it. This procedure is actually a form of plastic surgery designed to get rid of stretch marks by removing excess fat from within the belly area or abdomen. Once all the excess fat have been removed, the skin in the tummy is then “tucked” or sutured back into place.

Surgical procedures for stretch marks are very popular and are preferred by many men and women. However, there are those who find such methods too expensive and too risky. For that reason, home remedies for stretch marks were developed. Among the most common stretch marks home remedies include stretch marks creams and lotions, aloe vera gel, shea butter, and cocoa butter. There are also those who try chemical peels for removing stretch marks, however, most medical experts do not advise them since their effectiveness is only limited to the outer layer of the skin. Furthermore, experts suggest that if you want to treat stretch marks effectively, you have to use a product that has the capability of penetrating deep into the skin and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Otherwise, do not waste your money on commercial products that do not deliver what they promise.

Aside from surgical procedures and home remedies, other effective ways in dealing with stretch marks are regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. While there is no proof whether certain foods can contribute to the elimination of stretch marks or not, eating the right foods that help control your weight will definitely help as well as performing firming exercises such as brisk walking, cycling, and many more.

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