Stretch marks are tears in the connective tissue that can occur when the skin is stretched. They are usually perceived as annoying for cosmetic reasons, but they do not pose any health problems. Massages and alternating baths are recommended as a precaution. There is no way to completely remove stretch marks, but there are a number of treatments that can improve the appearance of your skin.
What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are the tears in the connective tissue of the subcutaneous tissue that occur more frequently during pregnancy. See bestitude for Meanings of Mesenteric Infarction.
Particularly vulnerable body regions are the abdomen, hips, buttocks, breasts and upper arms. Due to the rapid growth of the abdomen and breasts during pregnancy, the skin there is exposed to enormous stress.
The elasticity of the skin reaches its natural limits and tears. Stretch marks are purely a cosmetic problem and do not cause any pain or other problems. Over time, the bluish-red streaks fade into light-colored scars.
Stretch marks are caused by the strong stretching of the connective tissue during pregnancy. The elasticity of the skin decreases due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. This promotes the formation of stretch marks.
A few other factors can also contribute to the development of stretch marks. These are, for example, a weakness in the connective tissue and the strong and rapid weight gain during pregnancy.
Due to the changes in the body, the connective tissue is overstretched and tears. The bluish-red coloring of the stretch marks is caused by the blood vessels running underneath. Stretch marks can not only appear during pregnancy. They can also be caused by rapid growth, exercise, medication or being overweight.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
If stretch marks appear, they are mainly diagnosed by the affected person themselves. They develop on the parts of the body where the skin is particularly affected by the stretching caused by pregnancy. The roughly parallel bluish-red stripes can initially be seen as fine cracks.
Later they become wider due to the stretching of the tissue. These strips of skin will no longer form because the skin is permanently damaged. Light scars remain. Usually, stretch marks do not cause pain. In rare cases, the tissue under the skin can become inflamed and the skin changes. In this case, pain can also set in.
This must then be presented to the doctor immediately. Psychological problems are more common if the stripes are still visible after pregnancy. Many women no longer feel attractive and suffer from the visible stripes. If you want to find out more about treatment options for stretch marks, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
The scars can be reduced and the complexion improved, for example with creams containing vitamin A acid or with a chemical peel containing glycolic acid. The glycolic acid stimulates the production of new epidermis cells. The skin can also be treated with other methods, such as lasers.
Stretch marks are injuries under the skin that, like all wounds, can become infected. However, this is very rarely the case with stretch marks. As a rule, the stretch marks darken during the acute injury phase and fade during the healing process. Heavy stretch marks, which women often suffer during pregnancy, remain visible.
Complications usually result from a disruption in the healing process. The wounds under the skin can then become inflamed. Instead of gradually receding, the cracks become much more visible, in severe cases there is also swelling, and the skin overlying the stretch marks changes. The inflamed areas of skin often feel hot, and in severe cases there may even be pain. Affected women should see a doctor immediately.
Much more frequently, however, stretch marks lead to psychological problems. Especially when the stretch marks are clearly visible and appear not only on the stomach but also on the hips, thighs and breasts, many women feel downright disfigured. Patients who are mentally suffering from the unsightly stretch marks should consult a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon as soon as possible and find out about the treatment options.
When should you go to the doctor?
In the case of stretch marks, there is usually no need to see a doctor. The disease does not negatively affect the health of the affected person. However, stretch marks can lead to emotional distress and thus be a reason for cosmetic treatment.
A doctor should also be consulted if the stretch marks cause pain or are associated with scars. In the case of stretch marks, a dermatologist or a general practitioner can be consulted in the first place. Further treatment is then carried out by a specialist depending on the severity and type of stretch marks.
Treatment & Therapy
It is not yet possible to completely remove stretch marks. However, there are ways to soften the scarred lines so that they are perceived as less annoying. One way to improve the complexion is to regularly apply creams containing vitamin A acid.
A chemical peel with glycolic acid also reduces stretch marks. Glycolic acid stimulates the production of new epidermis cells and thereby strengthens the epidermis. Another method is the so-called microdermabrasion. Here, the epidermis is rubbed off lightly. This treatment does not cause pain and makes the skin more elastic again. Microdermabrasion can also be combined with glycolic acid treatment.
In dermabrasion, a device is used to rub the surface of the skin. This treatment is usually done with a local anesthetic or short anesthesia. A laser can also be used to remove stretch marks. Since the layers of the epidermis are removed, the treated parts of the body are reddened and swollen for a few days.
A painful sore develops, covered by scabs. Surgical removal of stretch marks is also possible. In this case, however, the entire area of skin covered with stretch marks must be removed, which results in the formation of scars.
In order to prevent stretch marks, it is advisable to regularly massage the skin on the particularly stressed parts of the body. Massages stimulate blood circulation in the connective tissue, which results in increased elasticity. From the third month of pregnancy, the skin should be massaged twice a day.
The so-called plucking massage, in which the skin is lifted between the thumb and forefinger and gently rubbed and twisted between the fingertips, is particularly suitable. The effect of such a massage can be increased by using oil. Oil massages of the stomach and thighs with circular movements are also very effective. Oil is preferable to a cream because it does not penetrate the skin as quickly. There is a large variety of products with natural ingredients such as grape seed oil, sesame oil or wheat germ oil on the market.
These can also be used without hesitation during pregnancy. A pleasant side effect of a massage with oil is that the feeling of tension in the skin decreases. The itching of the skin on the abdomen, which often occurs during pregnancy, is also alleviated. Alternating showers with cold and warm water as well as brush massages also stimulate blood circulation and have a positive effect on avoiding stretch marks.
A skin that has once developed stretch marks will always be prone to them. The affected patient does not even have to be pregnant. Rapid weight gain can also lead to stretch marks. However, they may then be located in other places, for example on the inner thighs.
Therefore, what is also important for prevention applies to the aftercare of stretch marks: In addition to active weight management, the patient can reduce the appearance of existing stretch marks and prevent further occurrence of stretch marks with regular massages of the affected and endangered skin areas.
There are now various oils on the market that are said to have a good effect in combating stretch marks. The regularity with which it is used is certainly more important than the choice of oil. In general, adequate skin care is important, especially if the patient has decided to treat the stretch marks invasively or even surgically.
Here, care reduces the risk of unsightly scars developing. Exercising and going to the sauna are good ways to boost blood circulation in the skin. Good blood circulation, in turn, promotes the regeneration process. In general, however, stretch marks are a purely cosmetic problem. If it is overrated, brief psychotherapeutic therapy can help focus on more important things.
You can do that yourself
Stretch marks are a phenomenon that is largely genetic. Nevertheless, within the framework of self-help, a certain influence by the woman is possible. This refers to the regular creaming of the affected areas on the abdomen and buttocks. This routine is best started in the first trimester and not when stripes are already forming. A belly band can also prevent the strip, as it has a supporting effect. Here the woman is particularly well advised to consult a midwife. The tissue can also be loosened by hot water, so that long baths should be avoided.
Stretch marks cannot always be avoided. Then it is part of the woman’s self-help to deal with it positively. She can tell herself that having a few stripes on her stomach is the price of a long-awaited child. In severe cases, the psychologist can be consulted or, of course, the midwife can always be asked for advice. The man, or father of the child, can also put stretch marks into perspective in terms of their influence on the woman’s mental state by confirming that they are aesthetically unproblematic. After the birth, the woman is in demand again by consistently carrying out postnatal exercises and regular creams for a while.