Stretch marks are one of the most unpleasant aspects of growing up, getting pregnant, and gaining weight. Both men and women can suffer from these unsightly marks on the skin, but they do tend to be more prevalent in women. When someone gains weight for any reason, stretch marks can occur. Getting rid of them or minimizing their appearance is a goal for many people.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Appearance – Stretch marks usually show up as one or more jagged or uneven lines on your skin that follow the contour of a body part such as hip or stomach. They may show up as pink or a darker shade than your normal skin tone in the beginning. However, they usually fade over time like all scars to a shiny white or a shade lighter than your normal skin tone. As time goes by, their appearance usually lessens quite a bit although they may always be visible.
Causes – Stretch marks are really only caused by one thing: stretching of your skin. Why your skin is stretched is a whole other issue. Many young men and women get stretch marks when they go through puberty. They can appear during growth spurts when the child gets taller. Girls may be more likely to get them during this time as their body changes shape and hips and breasts grow. Other reasons for stretching skin includes pregnancy and becoming overweight or obese. Most pregnant women get stretch marks on their stomach when the baby is growing inside. Gaining too much unhealthy weight can lead to stretch marks on many parts of the body.
Can You Prevent Stretch Marks?
Besides making sure you never gain excess weight, there aren't too many ways of preventing stretch marks during normal growth or pregnancy. Staying properly hydrated and practicing good nutrition can help your skin be more elastic so it can stretch without making scars. Also, using skin moisturizers and nutritional treatments may help as well. For example, many women rub rich creams onto their belly while they are pregnant to help prevent stretch marks.
Can You Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
Once your skin stretches to a point where it creates a stretch mark, there is really nothing you can do to make it go back to its original smoothness again. However, you can minimize the appearance of stretch marks by keeping your skin healthy and helping the scar fade over time. There are many over-the-counter creams and treatments designed to do this.
Another option if you gain weight and get stretch marks is cosmetic surgery or treatments. Although something like a tummy tuck can actually cut off stretch marks, many people do not want to go under the knife in order to do this. Cosmetic procedures like dermabrasion and injecting certain fillers under the scars can help minimize how they look over time.
In the end, stretch marks represent a natural part of growing up or carrying a baby. If you gain weight due to unhealthy lifestyle practices and poor diet, stretch marks will also occur. In this case, prevention is probably your best bet to avoid these unsightly and embarrassing marks.