What are stretch marks?
For stretch marks are considered to run in parallel, fusiform strands of thin and wrinkled skin, initially oedematous, and disappear with the passage of time. They are formed at the level of the dermis, in women twice as often as in men. In women, they are usually found on the abdomen, hips, upper thighs and breasts, in men, they attack the lumbosacral area, in intensively exercising (especially bodybuilders) – shoulder girdle. Abdominal stretch marks appear radiant or fan-shaped, on the hips and thighs – transverse, on the breasts – radial, and those located in the area of the loins – horizontal.
In the process of creating stretch marks There are two phases:
- Phase I (inflammatory): Stretch marks appear as pink, red, reddish or reddish blue bands and arranged parallel. At this stage, the chances are best for this, to get rid of them completely. It is only necessary to take appropriate steps as soon as possible.
- Phase II (extinct): Stretch marks seem to regenerate. Red bands, which appeared on the skin in the inflammatory phase, gradually brighten, they take on a whitish or pearl color, become palpable to the touch. It happens so, because the network of collagen and elastin fibers, broken by excessive stretching of the skin, tries to regenerate itself, however, it is not possible to restore the skin condition from before the damage, so spindle-shaped stripes are formed on it. If we react immediately and start treatment, it will be possible to slightly improve the condition of the skin, however, stretch marks cannot be completely eliminated.
Stretch marks – meet the enemy
Their appearance is usually asymptomatic, they attack silently. It is very rare, that the formation of stretch marks is accompanied by itching, burning or pain. In order not to be surprised by this insidious enemy, worth knowing, when, where and how it attacks. If we have already fallen victim to it, let's not break down. This cosmetic defect can be fought, and thanks to special cosmetics and modern treatments, the body can become smooth again and regain its beautiful appearance.
Reasons for the formation of stretch marks:
- Stretch marks are largely the result of an increase in blood cortisol levels. It is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, and its amount increases during pregnancy, maturation, obesity, as well as frequent weight changes. It causes impairment of fibroblasts, that is, cells responsible for the production of collagen and elastin. They are fibrous proteins, forming an orderly network and thus giving the skin elasticity, firmness and proper tension. In situation, when the skin is stretched excessively, the regular network of fibers is broken, which results in stretch marks.
- During pregnancy, and also when using hormonal contraception, the formation of stretch marks is influenced by the increased level of female sex hormones – estrogen.
- Stretch marks also develop in people who use steroid medications for a long time (strong anti-inflammatory agents, used, inter alia, in the treatment of bronchial asthma, allergies, certain dermatological diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, intestinal diseases). The substances they contain contribute to the thinning of the epidermis, inhibition of collagen synthesis in the dermis and degradation of collagen fibers.
- We can "treat" unsightly strands on the skin ourselves, using low in nutrients (vitamins, macro- i mikroelementy) diet. In particular, insufficient amounts of zinc and silicon play an important role, hence, people who often use low-calorie diets are prone to stretch marks.
- The cause of the formation of fusiform scars on the skin, independent of us, is genetic tendency. If stretch marks appeared in the mother during pregnancy, there is a very high probability, that they will also appear in my daughter.
Threatened with stretch marks:
– people who are quite overweight
– teens in adolescence
– women during pregnancy and menopause
– people with frequent fluctuations in weight
– people who repeatedly use low-calorie diets, low in zinc and silicon
– taking steroid medications
– people with genetic predisposition.
- Avoid frequent weight fluctuations and so-called "miracle" diets. Lose weight wisely, shedding kilos slowly, gradually. The skin will not be suddenly stretched and stretch marks will not form on it.
- Take care of it, your daily diet did not lack vitamins and trace elements. Stretch marks will avoid zinc (you will find it in fish, turkey meat, oysters, eggs, pumpkin and sunflower seeds), silicon (its rich sources are bran, Oatmeal, whole grain bread and tuberous vegetables) and vitamins: A, C, E, PP and B5. If you are unable to provide your body with these nutrients in the food, reach for supplements in the form of ready-made medicinal preparations.
- Regularly massage areas at risk of stretch marks, using firming and moisturizing cosmetics – gels, body creams or oils. Pay attention to it, that they contain the following ingredients:
- – soybean extract, which has an antioxidant effect, anti-inflammatory and stimulating fibroblasts to produce collagen;
- – silicon and zinc compounds, favoring the regeneration of collagen fibers and combating free radicals;
- – lactic acid, which reduces epidermal keratosis;
- – having strong antioxidant properties of vitamin A., C i E;
- – horsetail extract;
- – aloe and ginseng extracts;
- – sea algae;
- – centella asiatica extracts (tiger herb), exotic plant, which affects the metabolism of fibroblasts and the synthesis of collagen fibers and stimulates the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, responsible for proper skin hydration.
REMEMBER! MASSAGE ABOVE ALL!
Preparations against stretch marks should be used regularly. A massage lasting at least a few minutes is extremely important when applying them, which firms and strengthens the skin. Creams and lotions play only a supporting role. Massage can be done in the shower, making circular movements with a rough sponge, or dry – rubbing cosmetics into the areas at risk of stretch marks with moisturizing and elasticizing skin. It is also worth giving the skin a massage with ice cubes from time to time.
Pregnancy and stretch marks
In pregnant women, stretch marks form not only on the rapidly enlarging breasts and abdomen, but i – if you gain weight quickly – on the thighs and buttocks. Therefore, it is worth taking care of your skin from the first weeks of pregnancy and trying to control your weight. It would be best for the health and skin of the future mother, if over 9 months did not gain weight more than 10-14 kilograms. She should also rub the cream into areas at risk of stretch marks twice a day, gently massaging them with circular movements and preparing the skin for stretching. Using such a cream, should check, from which month of pregnancy it can be safely used, so as not to harm the baby. It is also important, that she wears a well-chosen one, comfortable underwear. Contrary to popular belief, a woman expecting a baby can benefit from elasticizing treatments in the office, he only needs to inform the beautician, that she is pregnant (the effects of some substances could adversely affect an unborn child). Some SPA salons offer special care programs for pregnant women.