Stretch marks, also called striae distensae or striae gravidarum, are often among the unfortunate side effects of major life changes. These discolored marks can be supremely bothersome to individuals aesthetically, so we’d like to go over a little bit about stretch marks. We will include what stretch marks are, and some details about preventing them.
What Are Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are areas of indented streaks on the body that are oftentimes discolored. These marks can take various forms, ranging from bright purple streaks on the skin to light-colored cylindrical indentations. They typically lighten with time and become less visible.
What Causes Stretch Marks
As the name implies, stretch marks are caused by a stretching of the skin. The skin stretching that causes stretch marks may occur for various reasons, including but not limited to rapid weight gain, pregnancy, breast augmentation surgery, and exercising intensely. When you gain body fat, muscle, implants, or a fetus, your skin may stretch to accommodate the new size of your body, resulting in stretch marks. Additional factors involved are the quantity of cortisol in your body, as the hormone cortisol weakens elastic fibers in the skin, making you more susceptible to stretch marks.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks
Stretch marks can be prevented by not losing or gaining weight rapidly. Also, they can be mitigated by staying hydrated, ensuring that your skin is hydrated and maintains healthy elasticity. Stretch marks can occur if you are deficient in certain nutrients. This means that eating to maintain healthy skin can help prevent stretch marks. Eat a diet high in Vitamins C, D, and E and high in zinc and protein to ensure skin health and avoid stretch marks. Vitamin C, in particular, is important, as it helps develop collagen in the body. Collagen plays a role in keeping your skin strong and elastic. You can also make sure you get enough sunlight to avoid stretch marks, as sunlight causes the synthesis of Vitamin D. There have been studies done that connect a lack of Vitamin D to stretch marks. You can also eat foods high in zinc to try to prevent stretch marks. This may work because zinc plays a role in reducing inflammation and the wound-healing process.
Not Gaining Weight to Avoid Stretch Marks
The best way to avoid gaining stretch marks is to not gain a lot of weight suddenly, and whereas there are limited options for treating stretch marks once they occur, there are a huge amount of preventative ways to avoid gaining weight and getting stretch marks from it. Here we will discuss some of the many ways to maintain or lose weight.
The simplest way to avoid unwanted weight gain is to take control of your diet. A simple way to do this has to do with energy balance. A calorie is a unit of energy, and if you take in fewer calories than you expend, you will be in what is called a negative energy balance. If you are in a negative energy balance, you will inevitably lose body fat. Use an online calculator to find your basal metabolic rate (BMR) using your height and weight, and use this information to calculate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). There are plenty of online calculators that will calculate these values for you. If you eat fewer calories than your TDEE, you will lose weight. It’s that straightforward. So all you have to do is track what foods you are eating in what quantities and record that on a calorie counting program in order to ensure that you are eating at below your TDEE and you will lose body fat, which is critical to avoid gaining to avoid stretch marks.
Some people have problems with their eating leading to weight gain because of mental health issues. For example, binge eating disorder is a mental health condition in which a person feels compelled to eat a lot of food, leading to weight gain. Even if you do not have this condition, you may still have an unhealthy relationship with food. Many individuals suffer from a poor psychological relationship with food, oftentimes eating in order to alleviate sadness or boredom. Therapy can help you get to the root of your relationship with food and consequently help you avoid weight gain by allowing you better control over your eating habits. This is a good way to avoid weight gain and therefore stretch marks.
A class of medications called GLP-1 agonists can reduce hunger and increase satiety in people treated with them. This makes it much easier for people on these medications to lose and maintain their weight as they feel less hungry and stay full longer. They work by imitating incretin, a bodily hormone responsible for the feeling of satiety. These medications are a perfect option for losing or maintaining weight unless your eating issue is purely psychological. By maintaining or losing weight using these medications, you will be able to avoid stretch marks.
Fat freezing, or cryolipolysis, is a technique by which extreme cold is used to eliminate fat cells in your body. This is typically done through a device that clamps onto a chosen area of the body and exposes the area to freezing temperatures, destroying the fat cells but leaving the skin cells intact. This is done in order to cause localized fa loss to an area, which can prevent that area from being stretched by the fat and causing stretch marks. There is, however, a known adverse reaction to cryolipolysis called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia in which the number of fat cells present actually multiplies, rendering this procedure less desirable for many than, say laser lipolysis.
This procedure, also referred to as “laser lipo,” involves the application of a low-intensity laser to the fat areas you wish to lose. Lasers can generate singular-directional light and heat to a minimal area. With laser lipo, the technician will target the cell with the laser. The laser penetrates the skin, reaches the targeted fat cells, and bores a tiny pore into the cellular membrane. In addition to creating a small hole, the laser emulsifies (melts) the lipids inside the cell, which allows them to seep through the pore.
The body’s lymphatic system then naturally disposes of the lipids. Emerald Laser by Erchonia works differently from other laser lipolysis methods. Emerald’s system uses ten 532 nanometer lasers to target fat cells. While the system allows the cells to drain, they remain intact. Other laser systems destroy the fat cells, which can lead to fatty deposits developing in other areas of the body.
Additionally, Emerald Laser is relatively painless when compared to other laser systems. Most patients don’t feel anything at all. Laser lipolysis is a minimally invasive weight loss method that targets body fat exclusively. It is innovative and relatively new. Laser lipolysis by Emerald Laser is the first FDA-approved laser lipolysis process.
Frequently Asked Questions About Stretch Marks
Here we are going to cover some of the most commonly asked questions in regard to getting stretch marks, preventing stretch marks, and what to do if you have stretch marks.
What About Stretch Mark Preventing Creams?
Certain products advertised to prevent or reduce stretch marks may have some efficacy. Although there are a huge amount of products with many ingredients in them advertised for getting rid of stretch marks, few have data behind them. However, hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that has been found to be effective in the treatment of stretch marks, so you should use a product with hyaluronic acid as one of the active ingredients. Additionally, early treatment is the key to preventing stretch marks, so be sure to apply your stretch mark cream to the areas you may think you are getting stretch marks in early.
What If I Already Have Stretch Marks?
In the case that you already have stretch marks, you should know that they are likely at their brightest and most notable right after you develop them. Fortunately, stretch marks fade with time and become less and less noticeable. This is good, as your stretch marks may naturally fade and become invisible over time. An important thing to remember is that your stretch marks may become more noticeable if you tan your skin, as stretch marks do not tan. This means that while the rest of your skin gets darker, your stretch marks will stay a lighter shade and perhaps be more noticeable as a result.
What About At-Home Remedies?
At-home remedies for stretch marks, such as almond, olive, and sunflower seed oil, vitamin E cream, and cocoa butter, have not been shown to be effective at reducing stretch marks, unfortunately. There are sadly no at-home remedies for stretch marks that we are currently aware of. For this reason, prevention is best, and using the above-listed methods to maintain weight and avoid stretch marks in the first place is optimal.
Are There Any Other Ways to Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
There are a number of cosmetic procedures that can get rid of stretch marks. Namely chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy. These methods can be successful in getting rid of stretch marks under some conditions. However, as with all cosmetic procedures, side effects are possible. For this reason, it is best to go see a dermatologist to get an accurate medical assessment of your options in dealing with stretch marks. A dermatologist will advise you on the best way to treat your stretch marks and reduce the quantity and intensity of the marks on your body.
The leading company for revolutionary laser lipolysis technology, Emerald Laser, has all the information you could want about laser lipo. Check us out and find a provider near you!