As summer fast approaches and it’s time to start shopping for bathing suits again you may be a little apprehensive about that two piece suit because your stretch marks are out in full force. But you’re not alone. According to recent studies almost 90 per cent of women develop stretch marks when they are pregnant and almost 70 per cent of people develop stretch marks of some degree during puberty. Rapid weight gain is also another cause of stretch marks. So what are they and can we do anything to get rid of them?
What are stretch marks?
They are purple-red scars which form on our bodies when our skin becomes stretched beyond its capacity. When it is stretched too much the underlying tissues in our skin tear and then our body responds by forming scar tissue which are the red, pink or purple marks you see on your body. Over time, they fade to a silvery line and may look slightly indented.
Will they ever disappear?
Unfortunately, no. Stretch marks are scars so they are permanent, but there are a few ways you can reduce the appearance of them.
Can over the counter creams help them to fade?
Unfortunately the studies conducted on stretch mark removal creams haven’t been all that promising. That is because most creams or lotions can’t penetrate deep down into the dermis layer of your skin which is where the stretch marks form. Having said that, there are also studies that have shown that certain moisturizers may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and those moisturisers are the ones with high levels of Vitamin E and collagen. Remember, if you choose to try a cream or lotion it won’t be a quick fix. You’ll need to apply the moisturiser daily and it could be months before you see an improvement (if any).
Is there anything else I can try to reduce the appearance of stretch marks?
If you’re really self-conscious about your stretch marks then you could consider having laser treatments to reduce the appearance of them. This method uses short pulses of laser light to penetrate deep into the skin and remove some of the damaged tissue before our bodies then rebuild with new collagen and elastin, resulting in a healthier appearance. It’s not cheap though and you’ll need more than one session to see any real improvement.
Is there anything cheaper?
If your stretch marks are older and have turned a silvery colour, a good sunless tanning product can cover them up. There are numerous products that you can apply at home and last for weeks, even after many showers. Alternatively if you’re not confident doing it yourself, consider having an expert do it and indulge in a day at the beauty salon. If you’re thinking about getting out in the sun and tanning that way, think again. Stretch marks don’t tan, so you’ll probably end up making them even more noticeable.
Can I do anything to prevent them?
If you’re pregnant and worried about developing stretch marks then consider purchasing something like Bio Oil, which is specifically aimed at reducing the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Although it won’t actually prevent them, it may help reduce the severity if you start using it early on in pregnancy and if nothing else it will leave you skin soft and smooth. Try eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water to prevent rapid weight gain which can be the cause of stretch marks.
Unfortunately for some, stretch marks are unavoidable and here to stay. But you’re not alone, so when you step out on the beach this summer in your bathing suit remember that there many other women in the same situation as you.
Image via WebMD.com