Stretch marks are long and narrow streaks, stripes or lines that begin developing on the skin. They are usually caused when the skin gets stretched all of a sudden. Stretch marks are very common and occur on many body parts, including stomach, thighs, hips, breasts, arms, and lower back.

They usually happen when the skin is not able to resume its normal form after growing more than normal. Stretch marks often happen during pregnancy, intense weight gain, weight loss, or puberty.

Symptoms of stretch marks:

  1. Before the emergence of stretch marks, the skin usually gets thin and pink.
  2. The skin may also begin to get itchy and feels irritable.
  3. Initially, the marks come in the form of wrinkly and raised streaks that can be coloured purple, pink, reddish-brown or dark brown. The colour depends majorly on the skin colour of the individual. Eventually, these stretch marks fade and flatten into a silvery colour.

It is important to remember that stretch marks develop and eventually become more severe in the body part which has high levels of circulating cortisone. Cortisone is what cortisol (the stress hormone produced by the adrenaline glands) is converted into.

Causes

There are many reasons, as mentioned above, that can lead to stretch marks. Some of them are:

  1. Family history: It is often genetic and dictated by the family history of the individual.
  2. Chronic diseases: The weight loss or gain caused during chronic diseases can also lead to stretch marks, and so can the hormonal imbalance.
  3. Body Mass Index: Especially before pregnancy, body mass index can largely cause stretch marks as there is a sudden growth in skin during this time.

Treatment

Once diagnosed, stretch marks can be hidden or minimized with the help of various treatments. However, it is important that you consult only experienced doctors from reputed hospitals like Fortis La Femme for the right treatment.

1. Laser Treatment

Laster treatment for stretch marks is perhaps the most popular and effective ways of reducing these marks. Hospitals, the likes of Fortis La Femme, have a reputation of conducting safe laser treatment in case of stretch marks or other skin conditions.

2. Creams

Other options that have been considered for treating stretch marks include the use of creams, gels, lotions and cosmetic surgery. If not eradicate, they definitely minimize the condition of stretch marks. However, these treatments are limited in their capacity to provide permanent improvement for skin types across the spectrum.

3. Make-up

The easiest and the most common way to hide stretch marks is by using make-up. In exposed areas, where the stretch marks are more pronounced and noticeable, concealers can be used to hide their prominence.

4. Topical Treatment

Topical treatments are preparations that involve active ingredients that can be applied to the skin. These can also help with soothing the skin, and thus reducing the effects of stretch marks to some extent.

Prevention

As it is very rightly said, prevention is better than cure. Even though stretch marks cannot always be prevented, there are ways in which the risk can be reduced. They are:

  1. It is important to maintain a healthy weight and keep up an overall fitness so that there is no excessive weight gain or loss.
  2. Dieting should be avoided as that leads to drastic changes in body weight and structure.
  3. A balanced diet should be maintained. It is important to have a diet which is rich in vitamins and minerals. If you consume the right amount of Vitamin A and C, it will support your skin.
  4. During pregnancy, aim for a more consistent and gradual weight gain instead of a sudden gain.
  5. Hydrate yourself: it is essential to drink around six to eight glasses of water every single day for a healthy and healed skin.