Stretch marks are common, most people have them, and they’re nothing to be ashamed of! These thin tiger stripes are a natural part of growing up.
Growing up, we become more conscious of our bodies; we become more self-aware to a point where it becomes critical. You look at your tummy and think it’s not flat enough, your nose isn’t the right shape, and what’s that on your butt are those stretchmarks?!
Our bodies change, especially with the rapid growth that happens during puberty, and it leaves a trail of evidence behind. Here’s all you need to know about stretchmarks.
What Causes Them?
Stretchmarks are long and narrow lines that appear on the skin after being stretched and slightly discolored compared to your natural complexion. In time they may fade and become scar-like in appearance.
Stretch marks are caused by rapid changes where your skin elasticity can’t keep up with the stretching. So gaining weight, pregnancy, puberty, and bodybuilding can leave you with marks.
Collagen fibers in your body provide your skin with the elasticity it needs to stretch; when you don’t have enough collagen, it can lead to stretch marks during changes. High levels of cortisone found in steroids can also lead to loss of skin elasticity.
They don’t pose a threat to your health, but they can result in you becoming more conscious of your appearance. They are common on the stomach, breasts, and butt, but they can appear anywhere on your body if the skin has been stretched.
Getting rid of your stretch marks is expensive, and sometimes it’s not effective. Most treatments aim to fade the appearance of stretchmarks but can’t remove them completely.
Using Tretinoin, a topical cream that contains retinol helps restore your skin’s elasticity. It’s more effective on newer stretch marks that still haven’t faded.
Chemical peels are an alternative option; they remove your skin’s top layer to encourage new cell growth. While it works well for dark marks from acne, it’s not so effective on stretchmarks.
Laser therapies are an expensive option, but they offer immediate results. Pulse dye laser therapy targets stretchmarks that pink in appearance because of the blood vessels underneath the skin. It works significantly faster than applying topical creams, so it may be enticing to try!
Cosmetic surgery is another costly treatment that is effective because it involves removing the skin with stretch marks. The recovery period is long, and if you’re unlucky, it could leave you with scars.
There’s no way to guarantee that you won’t get stretch marks. Your best bet would be to maintain a healthy weight through balance and exercise, even if you’re pregnant.
Work on your self-image and find ways to love yourself in the body that you have; remember that social media doesn’t show the entire story. Whoever you are should be the beauty standard, and something like stretchmarks shouldn’t make you undermine your beauty!
Dr Saadiqah Hajat