By Rachel Lamont
Medical Esthetician and Owner of The Natural Art of Skin Care
Stretch marks or "striae," as they are called in dermatology, are a tear of the dermal layer of the skin forming a coloured and textured scar. Over time this scar may lighten in appearance, but will likely never completely disappear.
The most common causes of stretch marks are rapid growth and rapid weight changes, hormone changes such as puberty, pregnancy, bodybuilding, and even some medications. Family gene disposing can have some parts in it as well. Some studies suggest that stretch marks become worse when coupled with a increase in cortisone, which is our stress hormone produced by our adrenal glands. Mayo Clinic research states that an increase of cortisone can weaken or prevent the fibroblasts from forming new collagen and elastin fibers, which are responsible for the skins thickness, help repair the skin, and aide in maintaining the skins stretching ability.
The most common places to get stench marks are on your tummy, thighs, hips, breasts, buttock, however one can get them anywhere the skin can stretch.
Stretch marks can vary in appearance especially depending on how long you've had them, what caused them, where they are on your body, and the type of skin you have. They begin as red or purple lesions and over time will fade white. In my history I have noticed they are the easiest to treat and will diminish faster when they are treated fresh and new. When stretch marks become old and white in colour, it is common for more work to be needed to treat them.
Throughout the years, many women have tried to find the perfect solution to diminish and repair the "tear in the skin" tissue. Ancient societies have used everything from different types of oils and essential oil blends, olive oils, shea butters, rosehip oil, argan oil, frankincense and lavender to treat stretch marks. Strong acid peels like high glycolic acids, micro needling, some types of laser treatments, dermabrasion and high vitamin A and C acids have also been used to treat them. In my experience, an individualized treatment protocol that includes a mixture of the above, that works to feed the skin a high nutrient-rich skin care regime, while also using some in-house peels and micro needling at the same time, combined with at-home skin care techniques will yield the best results. The aim of treatment is always to activate the fibroblasts to produce collagen and create the hyper exfoliation needed to remove damaged skin and produce new skin cells.
In closing, prevention is the best way to "treat" stretch marks in advance. Be mindful and ask yourself if you are feeding your skin inside with a healthy diet and outside with vitamin rich, chemical-free creams and oils and, importantly, SPF care. Also always be mindful of extreme and rapid weight gain or loss, any medications that you are taking, plus your overall health.
If you are someone who has stretch marks and would like one of our qualified professionals to take a look to see if anything can be done to reduce them, book a complementary skin consult today at The Natural Art of Skin Care.