My Body

UnTold Truths about Stretch Marks & Weight Gain!

Have unsightly stretch marks that drive you insane!

Now find out how and why you got them and what to do now!


What are Stretch Marks?

2014.05.11 - Untold truth about stretch marks and weight gainMost commonly associated with rapid stretching of the skin or sudden weight gain, Stretch marks or striae as they are called by Dermatologists are basically scars on the middle layer of the skin (also called the Dermis). Stretch marks happen when the rate at which fat is accumulated under your skin is faster than the rate at which your skin can grow, causing the elastic fibers in the Dermis of your skin to actually rupture and tear.

Stretch marks may reduce and fade over time but will not, unfortunately, disappear completely, except through plastic/cosmetic surgery. And while unsightly, they are in no way dangerous and do not pose a health risk of any kind.

So, what really causes Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are mostly caused by rapid stretching of the skin that happens due to sudden growth spurts or quick changes in your body weight. They may also be triggered by sudden hormonal changes that typically happen naturally during puberty & pregnancy or un-naturally through body-building or hormonal therapy for various medical conditions.

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And where do Stretch Marks mostly occur?

2014.05.11 - Untold truth about stretch marks and weight gainWhile Stretch marks typically happen on the areas prone to fat storage due to weight gain, such as the belly or lower abdomen, they can also occur on the upper arms, shoulders, breasts, thighs, hips, lower back and buttocks. Typically lighter in color than the surrounding skin, they appear faintly shiny like scar tissue and occur sometimes in long lines on the affected area.

Now tell me if Stretch Marks can be prevented?

While creams and oils to prevent Stretch Marks are a dime a dozen, studies done across the world have not shown any conclusive evidence that they work. Unfortunately, mother nature wins here since genetics, skin type and the rate of hormonal changes seem to be responsible for determining who will develop stretch marks and who won’t!

However, there is some good news, though minor – The only preventive seems to be Regulated Weight Gain – i.e Stretch marks are less likely to occur if you just try and gain weight slowly, but the only catch is that this is possible only in planned states like pregnancy and body building.

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Can we remove Stretch Marks

The beauty market today, especially in India is flooded with multiple creams, oils and Ayurvedic treatments that claim to be able to remove Stretch Marks. Adding to the hype are skin clinics that offer expensive and apparently cutting edge procedures using the Lasers, Dermabrasion and prescription retinoids. However all of these procedures are not only expensive but extremely unsafe in some instances and not at all proven as an effective cure.

Multiple home remedies exist, all rooted in application of moisturizing and Vitamin E-based oils.

And some Dermatologists swear by various topical medications that contain Retin-A and glycolic acid. While some of them have been successful in reducing the visibility of the scarring, the stretch marks themselves never really go away, so don’t be fooled by these claims.

However, giving hope to the affected are some recent promising studies using a laser treatment method called fractional laser resurfacing which has given some promising results and may be an area to watch out for in the future!

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