Stretch marks are not exclusive to pregnant women.
If you’re looking to trim your figure fast, beware! Unhealthily rapid weight loss can result in these long, discoloured streaks, which appear when the skin stretches or shrinks too quickly. The stomach, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms and lower back are the most prone to stretch marks.
When the stretch marks are still fresh and reddish, they’re called striae rubra. Over time, they become thin, silvery scars called striae alba.
Once these ugly bands develop on your skin, it’ll probably make you think twice about wearing your favourite high-cut dresses.
What causes stretch marks
Stretch marks form when the top layer of our skin shrinks or stretches faster than the layer beneath. The abrupt change tears up connective tissues such as collagen and elastin fibres, which support our skin. As the skin recovers, stretch marks may appear.
Although they are harmless, stretch marks are actually a form of scarring.
Bodybuilders, breast implant recipients, and even children undergoing growth spurts can experience this.
Fluctuating hormones are also a possible cause. Excessive levels of cortisone can cause your skin to lose its elasticity, making you more susceptible.
You’re only more likely to develop them if a family member has it. The odds are also against you if you have Marfan’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, or are using a corticosteroid cream (used most commonly for eczema and other skin conditions). Pregnant women have a 50 to 90 per cent chance of getting stretch marks as well.
Treating stretch marks with a healthy diet
Being a form of scarring, stretch marks are permanent. However, with treatment, their appearance can fade to some extent.
Firstly, you should take a diet rich in collagen-boosting vitamins and nutrients to repair the damage that has been done to your dermal collagen. You’ll want to include foods that are high in vitamins A, C and E, collagen-promoting amino acids, hyaluronic acid and zinc. Bone broth, aloe vera, gelatine, fruits and dark leafy vegetables are natural sources of these important nutrients.
You’ll need to be on such a diet in the long-term to replenish the building blocks of collagen in your body. Don’t expect results to happen overnight!
Treating stretch marks with prescription products
Secondly, you’ll want an effective topical treatment. There are two particular ingredients you need to keep an eye out for: hyaluronic acid and retinoin.
Hyaluronic acid is a substance which naturally occurs in your body. In two large studies, applying hyaluronic acid to early stretch marks made them less noticeable.
Similarly, prescription creams or products containing retinoin are helpful when it comes to combating stretch marks. But avoid them if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding! These products contain retinol, a type of hyper-concentrated vitamin A that can result in birth defects.
Massage the stretch mark treatment product into your skin every day over a number of weeks or even months. Massage promotes blood flow and circulation in damaged tissues. With your fingertips, gently apply pressure in repetitive, circular motions to the stretch mark for a few minutes, several times a day.
Exfoliate every week to stimulate cell renewal. Start early, when the marks start forming. Once the stretch marks are mature, they’ll be there to stay.
What won’t prevent stretch marks
If you’ve been relying on collagen-infused products, this is going to burst your bubble.
You can’t heal torn collagen fibres in your skin with a topical collagen application or a collagen supplement. The collagen molecules in the cream will not be able to penetrate your skin. As for collagen supplements, most brands use variants of collagen that your body can’t actually absorb.
And if you think that you can diminish the appearance of stretch marks by getting a tan, you’re not doing yourself any favour either. In fact, tanning makes them look even more obvious because those stripes are incapable of tanning.
Home remedies such as cocoa butter, olive oil, vitamin E, almond oil have not been clinically proven to reduce stretch marks at all. Remember, stretch marks appear because your connective tissue has been ruptured and not because your skin is too dry. No amount of moisturising will fix the root of the problem.
There’s no harm in using these home remedy ointments or oil blends – but don’t fool yourself into thinking they’ll help.
How to lose weight safely sans stretch marks
Be careful. Sudden weight loss can be unhealthy and unsustainable too.
Experts advise that a safe weight loss rate is to drop about 450g to 900g a week. This is where CSH therapy® has been proven to help.
Our signature three-step formula consists of cupping therapy, scraping therapy and heat treatment, which complement one another to restore metabolic function in a sustainable manner. Once your metabolism is regulated, your body will start burning calories effectively, too.
Our thousands of satisfied clients – both men and women – have shared that they start seeing results from the first week of treatment. You can read their testimonials here.
If you are looking to lose post-baby fat, it is safe to start CSH therapy® about six to eight weeks after childbirth. The heat treatment, in particular, can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks too.
CSH therapy® results in full-body fat loss and inch loss where you want it. Bodycon dress in eight weeks? Bring it on.
Interested to find out more? Get in touch with us here for a consultation.