While you would not trade the birth of your child for anything in the world, you would give anything to get rid of those so-called badges of childbirth known as stretch marks.
Stretch marks, also referred to as striae, are pale wriggly type bands that stretch across the abdomen, usually during the last phase of pregnancy. The marks can also appear if you have lost weight rapidly or during spurts of growth during the teen years.
How Stretch Marks Form
Although they are called stretch marks, the “scarring” that forms during and after pregnancy, is the result of an increased level of glucocorticoids (hormones released from the adrenal glands).
When the hormones are released, they bar the fibroblasts in the dermis from producing the collagen and elastin needed to keep the skin supple and smooth. As a result, the skin below the surface, or epidermis, ruptures and produces the dreaded marks.
Treating Newer Marks
If your mother or sister have had stretch marks, you will likely get them too. In order to prevent their appearance or reduce the look of the marks, applying topical moisturizers that contain vitamins A and E and A can help.
These vitamins are collagen builders and therefore can assist in keeping the skin soft and more resilient. Also, Retin-A, when used after pregnancy and breastfeeding, can help remove or reduce the appearance of recent marks. Retin-A should not be applied when a woman is pregnant or nursing as it may not be safe.
What Works on Older Stretch Marks
If you already have stretch marks, microdermabrasion often works on older striae. The procedure exfoliates the epidermis, removing the initial layer of dead skin cells. Usually, six treatments are needed to fade out the marks. This procedure is considered safe on darker skin tones.
One Permanent Solution
If you want to opt for a permanent solution for removing stretch marks, then you can always have them removed by tummy tuck surgery. If you are done having children, this procedure is effective as there is less chance that the skin will again be re-stretched.