Stretch marks are one of the most common types of lesion of the skin. But, despite many myths, they are not only found on women who have had children, though it may sometimes seem like it. Also, women are not the only portion of the population who get this condition; men are not immune, either. The question on everybody?s mind is a simple one; is there anything you can do to avoid them or are they a fact of life?
Unfortunately, the answer is both, yes they are a fact of life and yes, there are some things you can do to lesson the chances of getting stretch marks. But to try to dodge the stretch mark bullet, you must first understand why are develop in the first place.
Stretch marks are a form of scaring that result when the skin has been stretched beyond its normal limits, and it looses its elasticy and cannot bounce back. They are the result of more than just that, however. It is also what happens when the skin looses some of the collagens and the skin tissue starts to breakdown. When stretch marks are first appearing, they may itch and be red or even purple in color before fading to a light skin tone.
One of the most common reasons for the occurrence of stretch marks is pregnancy. It is estimated that between 85 and 90 percent of women will develop the marks at some point in their pregnancy, usually later in the pregnancy. Because this is such a high percentage, most women will try to do something to reduce the chances, or lessen the appearance if they were unsuccessful in avoiding stretch marks all together.
You will get advice from seemingly everywhere on how to not get stretch marks. Some say that a certain lotion helped them, or they will even pass along old wives tails they swear has worked for them. But, generally speaking, you will either get them or you won?t, but skin that has been kept hydrated will have a better chance of staying stretch mark free.
But pregnant women are not the only group that is at risk of developing stretch marks. When sudden body changes and roller coaster hormones collide in adolescents, the skin is prone to becoming marked. In fact, about fifteen percent of boys and up to thirty percent of girls will develop stretch marks during puberty. It is important to make sure that affected children understand this is normal and not be ashamed.
Other reasons for developing stretch marks include Cushing?s Disease and body building exercise and weight lifting. Even the use of steroids, be it topical cream or taken in the oral form can be the cause for developing streach marks. But, for the most part, skin care professionals believe stretch marks are just a matter of genetics and they are basically unavoidable.
Because so many people have the condition and it is considered unpleasant to the eye, there are many lotions and creams on the market that many consider helpful in preventing stretch marks, or fading them over time.
Most of these products are topical and contain vitamins like Vitamin E, along with proprietary blends of collagens and moisturizer, and some will have plant extracts as well. Be careful, however, when you are choosing one of the over the counter creams as some are not safe to use if you are pregnant or nursing and others may have not been totally tested for safety.
There are surgical options as well that may prove helpful as well if you have not been able to avoid the stretch marks. Techniques like micro-derm abrasion will leave the skin looking drastically better by visibly reducing the appearance of stretch marks. Some people also have been successful with Retin-A, crediting it with a reduction in appearance.
The good news is when it comes to stretch marks is that they are harmless, if unpleasing to the eye, and there are ways to try to avoid getting them, as well as ways to reduce them if they do develop despite your best efforts.