Have you found yourself wondering, ‘Why do I have stretch marks? You really are not alone. Did you know that stretch marks are extremely common skin conditions that affect approximately 90% of all people, with 8 out of 10 women developing them during pregnancy? Everyone regardless of their age can develop stretch marks; however, this may only provide you with some comfort.
While stretch marks can fade over time, there is no guarantee that they will leave no trace. Stretch marks are largely down to genetics, and with skin pigments also playing a part, playing the waiting game does not always have favourable outcomes. Fortunately, Microgei technology allows for the appearance of stretch marks to be significantly improved through a non-invasive treatment option.
Read on to discover more about what stretch marks are and how they form, as well as more about the range of treatment and prevention techniques you can adopt.
What are Stretch Marks?
When your skin rapidly stretches or shrinks, visible lines can appear on the surface.
The skin is made up of three levels, the hypodermis, the dermis, and the outermost epidermis. Stretch marks occur in the dermis, the middle layer. Normally, when the body grows, the fibres in the dermis’ connective tissue stretch slowly to allow for this change.
However, during intense stretching or shrinking, these fibres can tear. Collagen and elastin are the prominent proteins that make up these connecting fibres. They both offer the skin different properties; for example, elastin provides skin with its stretch and recoil. Collagen, on the other hand, offers skin its structure and support. Where the fibres tear, the elastin and collagen rupture, and deeper layers of skin become visible.
Depending on your skin’s pigmentation, these ‘stripes’ may be a shade of pink, red or purple, ranging to shades of browns, blacks and greys. The size of these marks will vary from person to person, some may find their stretch marks are longer and finer lines, whereas others may find theirs are shorter and deeper. It is possible for stretch marks to leave a slight depression on the skin’s surface.
The scar-like marks can sometimes adopt a brighter colour when they first appear, sometimes causing irritation and an itchy feeling. However, this subsides with time and the colours become more muted. Often becoming silvery grey in colour and adopting a glossy appearance.
Where Can They Occur?
Depending on the cause of your skin’s stretching or shrinking, stretch marks can develop on a variety of body parts, including:
- Lower Back
- Upper Arms
Please note: stretch marks do not cause any physical pain. However, while some people are able to embrace these marks unfazed, others find that they can injure their self-confidence.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Whilst stretch marks can affect anyone of any gender, there are some factors which can increase the likelihood of them developing.
Rapid Weight Gain
Rapid weight gain can cause stretch marks to occur due to the sudden and excessive stretching of the skin. When you gain weight rapidly, your skin is unable to keep up with the rate of growth and may develop tiny tears in the dermis layer. These tears then result in scar tissue, which appears as stretch marks. The more weight gained in a shorter amount of time, the greater the likelihood of stretch marks appearing. Areas most commonly affected by stretch marks from rapid weight gain include the thighs, hips, and stomach.
Rapid Weight Loss
Can you get stretch marks from losing Weight? Somewhat surprisingly, rapid weight loss can also result in stretch marks. When you lose weight rapidly, your skin may not have enough time to adjust to the new shape and size of your body, resulting in tears in the skin's dermis layer. These tears can then lead to stretch marks. Areas most commonly affected by stretch marks from rapid weight loss include the arms, thighs, and stomach.
For women, pregnancy can also cause stretch marks to occur due to the significant changes that occur in the body during this time. As the baby grows, the skin of the abdomen is stretched beyond its normal limits, leading to tiny tears in the dermis layer. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can also weaken the skin's elasticity, making it more vulnerable to stretch marks. Stretch marks from pregnancy typically appear on the belly, hips, thighs, and breasts. They also tend to be more common in women who are Black, Hispanic, East Asian or South Asian, due to a higher melanin content in the skin.
For growing children, puberty can often result in stretch marks as a direct result of growth spurts and the rapid changes that take place in the body during this time. As the body grows and develops, the skin is stretched beyond its normal limits, leading to tiny tears in the dermis layer. Areas most commonly affected by stretch marks from puberty and growth spurts include the hips, thighs, and breasts.
Some people may be more prone to developing them due to their skin type or family history. Genetics often play a role in the development of stretch marks; for example, individuals with naturally dry skin may be more susceptible to developing stretch marks than those with oily skin.
Rapid Muscle Gain
Similar to rapid weight gain, rapid muscle gain can also result in stretch marks. A sudden increase in muscle mass can cause the skin to become stretched beyond its normal limits, leading to tiny tears in the dermis layer. Areas most commonly affected by stretch marks from rapid muscle gain include the arms, chest, and thighs.
Certain medical conditions, such as Cushing's syndrome and Marfan syndrome, can cause stretch marks to occur. Cushing's syndrome is a condition that occurs when the body produces too much cortisol, a hormone that can weaken the skin's elasticity. Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body's connective tissue, which can also make the skin more vulnerable to stretch marks.
Prescription steroid creams or tablets, such as Prednisone, often come with a side effect of stretch marks due to the changes they cause in the skin's elasticity. Steroids can cause the skin to become more fragile as its structure weakens and is more susceptible to stretching. Areas most commonly affected by stretch marks from steroid use include the arms, legs, and stomach.
Those who are overweight and have excess skin will often experience stretch marks. This can occur after significant weight loss or as a result of certain medical procedures, such as bariatric surgery or tummy tucks. The excess skin can put tension on the skin, leading to the development of stretch marks. Areas most commonly affected by stretch marks from excess skin include the arms, thighs, and stomach.
How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks
It’s important to mention that stretch marks can be permanent markings on the skin; however, treating them soon after they appear can increase your chances of having a favourable result. For older marks, depending on your choice of treatment, it can be possible to reduce their severity making them less noticeable. While stretch marks can fade naturally over time, this process is slow and many need a helping hand to speed up the process.
Below is a range of methods you can choose from to treat your stretch marks, with varying time frames of results.
Maintaining good hydration and a healthy diet can be an effective natural remedy for reducing the appearance of stretch marks. Water is essential for maintaining healthy skin as it helps to flush out toxins from the body and keep the skin hydrated. By drinking an adequate amount of water per day, you can improve the overall health and elasticity of your skin, which can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
In addition to hydration, consuming a healthy diet rich in vitamins A, C, and E can also help to promote collagen production and improve skin elasticity. Foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, and citrus fruits are high in vitamins A and C, while nuts, seeds, and leafy greens are good sources of vitamin E. Including these foods in your diet can help improve the overall health of your skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks over time.
Incorporating natural remedies like coconut oil, shea butter, and aloe vera gel into your skincare routine can also help to improve the appearance of stretch marks. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which help to moisturise and soothe the skin. Shea butter is a natural emollient that helps to hydrate and nourish the skin, while aloe vera gel contains compounds that promote cell regeneration and improve skin elasticity. Consistent use of these natural remedies can help to improve the overall texture and appearance of your skin, making stretch marks less visible.
Lotions, Creams and Gels
Lotions, creams, and gels can be an effective way to treat stretch marks. These products often contain ingredients that have been found to promote collagen production and improve skin elasticity. For example, hyaluronic acid is a key ingredient in many moisturisers and helps to hydrate the skin by retaining moisture. Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that helps to exfoliate the skin, promote cell turnover, and improve skin texture. Centella Asiatica is a plant extract that has been found to improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of scars.
When using lotions to treat stretch marks, it is important to note that individual results may vary, and consistent use is necessary to see improvements. It is also important to choose products that are formulated specifically for stretch marks and to follow the instructions carefully. For best results, it is recommended to apply these products to clean, dry skin twice daily and to massage the product into the skin using circular motions. If you have any prior health conditions, it is always advised to consult your dermatologist or local GP first.
Lotions, creams, and gels can be effective in reducing the appearance of stretch marks, but they are not a cure for stretch marks. These products can help to improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin, but they rarely eliminate stretch marks. For more severe cases of stretch marks, other treatments such as prescription medicines or dermatology procedures may be necessary.
Prescription medicines, such as retinoids, can be an effective way to treat stretch marks. Retinoids, a class of medications that are derived from vitamin A, are known for their ability to increase collagen production and improve skin texture. Retinoids are available in both topical and oral forms, and they work by stimulating the production of new collagen and reducing the breakdown of existing collagen.
While retinoids can be effective in reducing the appearance of stretch marks, it is important to note that they can have side effects. Common side effects of retinoids include skin irritation, redness, and flakiness. In some cases, retinoids can also cause sensitivity to sunlight, so it is important to wear sunscreen and avoid prolonged sun exposure while using these medications. Therefore, these medications should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
Dermatology procedures can be effective in treating stretch marks, particularly for those with more severe or persistent marks. Two common procedures for treating stretch marks are microdermabrasion and laser therapy.
Microdermabrasion involves using a special tool to exfoliate the skin and promote collagen production. The procedure removes the outer layer of dead skin cells, which can help to improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. The procedure is typically performed in a dermatologist's office and may require multiple sessions to achieve optimal results.
Laser therapy, on the other hand, uses targeted heat to promote skin regeneration and improve the appearance of stretch marks. There are several different types of laser therapy that may be used to treat stretch marks and they often require multiple sessions.
While dermatology procedures can be effective in treating stretch marks, they come with certain risks. Common side effects of these procedures include skin irritation, redness, and swelling. In some cases, the procedures can also cause hyperpigmentation or scarring. It is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of these procedures with a dermatologist before deciding to undergo treatment.
The Benefits of Microgei Technology
A non-invasive alternative treatment that can visibly reduce the appearance of your stretch marks is microcurrent therapy.
This procedure showcases VIP Italia’s technology of Microgei. The device works by regenerating and stimulating the skin using low-intensity electric impulses. The energy is transferred to the tissue within the dermis, reestablishing blood flow and tissue regeneration.
The microcirculation that it encourages, speeds up the body’s natural healing process, increasing the production of new collagen and elastin proteins. With new proteins, cell renewal can take place and the body focuses on repairing the stretched areas of the dermis. By boosting the amount of collagen and elastin, the skin’s structural integrity strengthens and its texture is repaired naturally.
Treating Stretch Marks from Pregnancy
When it comes to pregnancy stretch mark removal it is always advised that you seek professional advice from your GP. Products containing retinol are not recommended as they can have harmful effects on your unborn baby.
To learn more about how to get rid of stretch marks and the incredible technology VIP Italia’s devices offer, contact us today.
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While it’s difficult to completely prevent stretch marks, certain measures may help minimise their appearance. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and moisturising the skin regularly may all help to prevent or reduce the severity of stretch marks.
The length of time it takes for stretch marks to fade varies depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the stretch marks and individual skin characteristics. In some cases, stretch marks may fade over the course of several months to a year, while in other cases, they may remain visible for several years or even be permanent.
Stretch marks are typically caused by rapid weight gain or loss, pregnancy, puberty, or other conditions that cause the skin to stretch or contract quickly.
There are a variety of treatments available for stretch marks, including topical creams and ointments, Microgei technology during electro-lymphatic therapy, laser therapy, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels. The best treatment for stretch marks will depend on the severity of the marks and individual skin characteristics.
There are several treatments available for stretch marks on the thighs, including electro-lymphatic therapy, laser therapy, microdermabrasion, and topical creams and ointments. Moreover, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight will also help to improve the appearance of stretch marks over time.
Red stretch marks can be more responsive to treatment options than older, white stretch marks. Some treatment options for red stretch marks include topical retinoids, glycolic acid, and laser therapy.
When stretch marks are purple in colour, this can suggest they are newly formed and will be more responsive to treatment. With proper treatment and care, purple stretch marks can fade over time. However, in some cases, they may remain visible for several years or be permanent.
It is not always possible to eliminate the appearance of stretch marks completely. However, there are several treatment options you can explore to improve the overall tone and texture of your skin, consequently, improving the appearance of your stretch marks.
There is no guaranteed way to get rid of stretch marks quickly, but certain treatments, such as laser therapy and chemical peels, may produce more rapid results than other methods. VIP Italia’s Microgei technology is an effective way to reduce the appearance of stretch marks without taking on unnecessary risks.
Several natural remedies may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, including aloe vera gel, coconut oil, and vitamin E oil. However, it is important to note that these treatments may not be effective for all individuals and results may vary.