Stretch Marks: Causes & Proven At-Home Treatments

 

what causes stretch marks

I’m not going to lie, my stretch marks definitely used to bug. Most days, I’d ignore them. Sometimes, I’d try to hide them. Other times, I just felt uncomfortable being naked in front of my husband or resisted going to the beach in a swimsuit. I get it. In the larger scheme of things, they’re not the biggest deal in the world…but there was always this annoying underlying, frustrating embarrassment I felt because of them, and it wore on me.


My stretch marks started as soon as I began puberty and started to fill out my feminine curves. They were all over my buttocks, hips, and my inner thighs. Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, I recently had my first kid. My belly was then covered in them. What’s interesting about my stretch marks, is that the older ones from puberty were a light, silvery color and less noticeable...but still totally awkward. However, the new ones on my belly were red and kind of purple…and man were they bright!


I realized that when I was growing up stretch-marks were literally considered a fatal curse. Everyone said you couldn’t get rid of them and that they were just a part of how things were. Well, fast-forward 25 years, it turns out product innovation, medical technology, and science has caught up to this pesky little curse, and it’s nipping it right in the butt.


If it wasn’t for this massive stretch mark attack, I never would have spent countless hours researching all of the different types of stretch marks, nor would I have discovered an absolutely incredible proven at-home treatment for removing them. Had I known it was this easy to treat these pesky little things, I would have done it a long time ago. Oh, well. Hopefully, my mistakes and what I’ve learned from this stretch mark roller coaster will help you avoid a lot of the stress and frustration I had to deal with.


Luckily for you, I’ve compiled this easy-to-follow stretch mark cheat sheet to help you understand what causes stretch marks, and how you can get rid of them from the comfort of your own home! No more shame, no more hiding, no more stress.


Here’s what you’re going to learn in this post:


What Causes Stretch Marks

Different Stretch Mark Types & Their Appearance

The Role Of Collagen in Stretch Marks

The Main Risk Factors For Stretch Marks

How To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks

Proven At-Home Stretch Mark Treatments



What Causes Stretch Marks


Stretch marks are typically caused by a period of rapid growth. When the skin stretches to accommodate this rapid growth, skin fibers in the deeper layers of the skin tear, causing the appearance of stretch marks. Rapid growth can happen for a variety of reasons. 


Weight Gain


Let’s put this simply: the more weight you gain and the faster you gain it, the more likely you are to get stretch marks. Weight gain stretch marks are most common on the abdomen, thighs, breasts, and buttocks of obese individuals. 


Puberty


While puberty usually starts at 8 and 13 for girls, and 9 and 15 for boys, it can actually take up to 20 years of age for all the bodily changes to take place. This happens in various stages and appears differently for each sex. For women, they may get stretch marks on their breasts, hips, thighs, and buttocks. Men may get larger muscles and develop stretch marks in those areas. Both sexes will go through height changes, and stretch marks may also result from that.


Pregnancy


Apparently, up to 90% of women will get stretch marks during pregnancy. Additionally, women with a higher BMI and women who will gain more than 30 pounds during their pregnancy are more likely to develop stretch marks. Many women may also have a genetic predisposition to develop stretch marks during this time.


Muscle Training


Bodybuilding as well as intense workouts that lead to rapid weight changes can cause stretch marks. When there is a rapid increase in muscle mass around the shoulder or arm area, or other parts of the body, deeper layers of the skin can tear. The result? Stretch marks may appear.


Disease


There are certain diseases or conditions that can cause stretch marks. For example, Cushing syndrome, a disorder resulting from high levels of cortisol syndrome, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, when the skin is very stretchy and bruises easily, or Marfan’s syndrome, a disorder that weakens skin fibers and causes unusual growth.



Different Stretch Mark Types & Their Appearance


There are a variety of different types of stretch marks, and each of them has its own skin healing process. The specific type and appearance of a stretch mark can inform us about its cause, but also indicate which treatment would be most effective for removing it. 


Red and White Stretch Marks


There are two main classifications for stretch marks, new and mature. New stretch marks are typically red or pink and medically referred to as striae rubrae. Mature stretch marks are white. White stretch marks,  or striae albae, are red stretch marks that have faded over time. 


Red stretch marks appear as red due to the inflammation and blood circulation that is present because of the collagen fiber tearing in the dermis. As the wound or scar heals, the blood vessels narrow and the scar turns into a silvery-white color.


One may have stretch marks that appear in irregular, long lines in either color, depending on the stage of the stretch mark


Pregnancy Stretch Marks


Pregnancy stretch marks, or striae gravidarum, are stretch marks that appear on the abdomen. They have three main stages. 


The first stage is when the stretch mark first appears. The skin is red or pink, inflamed, thin, and flattened. It may appear at any time during the pregnancy. 


Second, the stretch mark grows longer and widens, turning either red, pink, or purple. This stretch mark typically appears as the belly begins to stretch, in the final trimester of the pregnancy. 


Lastly, a few months to a year after the pregnancy, the stretch mark will be mature. The colors will begin to fade, skin becomes depressed, puckered, and the marks may be irregular in shape.


Darker Stretch Marks


There are many beautiful skin colors, and stretch marks appear in different shades depending on the complexion or skin type. Stretch marks that appear on darker skin complexions are typically black and grey (striae nigrae) or blue and purple (striae caerulea). 


Thin-Skinned Stretch Marks


Some stretch marks appear due to certain medical conditions or surgical procedures like breast enhancement. In this case, the stretch mark may appear with thinned wrinkly skin and is called striae atrophicans.


Overall, pregnancy stretch marks, as well as red, pink, black, and purple stretch marks are much easier to get rid of with at-home treatments. That’s not to say that white, silver, grey, or blue stretch marks can’t be treated, but they may require more care and consistency simply because they are older and have less blood flow. 


What’s blood flow got to do with it? Read on and find out.


The Role Of Collagen in Stretch Marks


Collagen is the major protein that creates the connective tissue of the skin. The body constantly synthesizes collagen. It uses collagen to repair skin, grow new skin, and keep skin both elastic and healthy.


When the skin tissues and cells are expanded beyond their normal capacity, the collagen fibers that are responsible for skin elasticity tear and the normal functions of the skin are altered. These structural alterations of the skin result in an inflammatory response and send increased blood flow to the area, creating pink, red, or purple-colored stretch marks.


Collagen and blood cells are dependent on one another. Collagen and elastin strengthen and improve blood flow, which in turn works to produce more collagen. Therefore, when stretch marks still have inflammation or blood flow, it is possible to increase the production of collagen. 


An increase in collagen and elastin promotes skin regeneration, improves, and prevents stretch mark appearance.


The Main Risk Factors For Stretch Marks


Smooth, glowing, natural, stretch-mark, and wrinkle-free skin is a result of good collagen production. Unfortunately, collagen loss is inescapable. However, when certain risk factors are avoided it is possible to maintain good collagen production and restore the skin.


Age


As the body ages, its natural ability to create collagen decreases. Collagen loss can begin to occur and the collagen-making cells may start to slow as early as the late teens or early 20's, and then decrease about 1% each year thereafter.


Sun Exposure


There is a direct link between UV rays and collagen loss. One study found that once collagen was exposed to UV light, there was a significant decrease in collagen structure afterward. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299808/) UV rays can also cause damage to the DNA of cells that produce collagen, as well as create free radicals that damage collagen directly.


Smoking and Alcohol


Certain lifestyle habits like smoking, alcohol, as well as stress and pollution, produce free radicals which break down collagen fibers. Stress also increases the hormone cortisol, which has been found to decrease collagen production. (https://academic.oup.com/endo/article/158/4/1005/2913382) As collagen thins, the skin loses its ability to heal and becomes wrinkly and thin.


Sugar


Sugar and carbohydrates can cause inflammation in the body and damage collagen. This interferes with wound healing and the healing of damaged skin cells. High sugar levels also lead to the hardening and fragmentation of collagen, weaken the skin and promote premature aging. 


How To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks


Stretch marks that appear as red, pink, or purple are easy to treat. The blood vessels under the skin make them much more responsive to treatment. However, older stretch marks, white, silver, grey, and also blue are more difficult to treat. As blood vessels narrow over time, it is much harder to stimulate collagen production - but it’s still possible. It just might take more time and consistency. 


To get rid of stretch marks, treatment must increase skin moisture, collagen, and elastin. There are many ways to do this. However, there are pros and cons to each.


Laser therapy and microdermabrasion are commonly used to stimulate, produce and tighten collagen and elastin fibers. For stretch marks and scars on darker skin tones, a combination of micro needling and glycolic acid peels have proven effective. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22151943/). Some treatments simply aim to fade stretch marks quickly, without necessarily removing them. Stretch-mark fading creams that work typically include ingredients like hyaluronic acid or retinol. 


While these treatments typically achieve their aim at removing or fading stretch marks, they can be costly, might lead to scarring, and aren’t necessarily pregnancy-safe. Moreover, many women struggle with harsh chemical allergic reactions and rashes to these invasive procedures. 


Because of the nature of stretch marks typically being pregnancy-related, many women are looking for safe-at-home alternative treatments. Below, I’m going to introduce you to clinically proven, effective, and safe stretch mark removal treatments that work. Get ready!


Proven At-Home Treatments That Remove Stretch Marks


Looking for a non-invasive, easy, safe, allergy-tested, and clinically proven method to remove stretch marks at home? I'm going to tell you my secret: try medical-grade silicone fusion patches!


Silicone fusion is a unique treatment method that utilizes occlusion, which is a microclimate created between skin and silicone. It stimulates collagen production, encourages hydration, and promotes healing, making the appearance of stretch marks blend into the surrounding skin, flatten and diminish. 


Enhanced Silicone Fusion™ Stretch Mark System $44.99



https://www.dermaclara.com/collections/stretch-marks/products/enhanced-silicone-fusion-stretch-mark-system


Silicone Fusion™ technology locks in hydration and pulls moisture from deep within the skin’s layers to regulate collagen production, smooth uneven skin tone, and encourage healing. 


Complete Body System $59.39

https://www.dermaclara.com/collections/stretch-marks/products/complete-body-system



Minimize the appearance of stretch marks by combining the benefits of Silicone Fusion™ technology with Clarasome, and Claraprep to prevent moisture loss and hydrate collagen, elastin, and lutein.


Sdara Microneedle Derma Roller $15.97

https://www.amazon.com/Sdara-Skincare-Cosmetic-Needling-Instrument/dp/B073CFR8R4



This microneedling dermaroller uses small needles to prick the skin to generate new collagen and skin tissue for smoother, firmer, more toned skin. Side note here: be careful with derma rollers as they can lead to scars and infection when used improperly.


The Complete Microdermabrasion kit $34.99


https://www.amazon.com/Sdara-Skincare-Cosmetic-Needling-Instrument/dp/B073CFR8R4/ref=sr_1_28?dchild=1&keywords=dermaroller&qid=1614729053&sr=8-28



This dermabrasion kit sands or resurfaces the top layers of the skin, helps soften rough, old, raised scars left behind stretch marks. As the damaged skin is stripped away, new cells form during the healing process and a smoother skin surface appears. Remember that with any topical treatment, risks include allergic reactions like itchiness, swelling, or skin rashes. Always test topical products first before applying them.


Ready to Start Your At-Home Stretch Mark Treatment?



All positive results with at-home stretch mark removal require a proven, tested, and safe skincare routine. Great skincare is more than a single noninvasive product – it needs a regimen of complementary products and a best practices routine. 


Dermaclara Silicone Pads have been extensively tested for stretch marks and wrinkles on women of all ages and skin tones. The result? Overwhelming satisfaction with the ease, cost, and results. Interested in learning more? Shop Dermaclara Stretch Mark Removal Skincare Products HERE.

 


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