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losing elasticity?

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

losing elasticity?

There are tons of reasons that people get stretch marks, also known as striae on the dermis (fancy term), and there are so many products on the market that supposedly make them "disappear"....but do they?  The best way to treat stretch marks is to prevent them, and to prevent them you need to know why they appear!

What are Stretch Marks?
To be honest, they are just what they sound like: a form of scarring on the skin with a change in color from your normal skin tone, due to a tearing of the dermis (the middle skin layer). They are usually a deep pink, purple, or red color (depending on your skin tone) when they first appear and then they gradually fade over time but they are almost always visible as scar tissue closer to your natural skin tone, and they are usually found in areas of the body with higher fat content.




Why do Stretch Marks occur?
They can occur from any cause of stretching of the skin such as rapid weight gain or loss, pregnancy, rapid muscle building, or during puberty when the body changes shape.A study from the British Journal of Dermatology found that pregnant women who gain more than 31lbs during pregnancy, with a higher body mass index score, and pregnant teenagers have the highest rates of stretch marks from pregnancy.  Also, genetics are thought to play a role, so if you notice that your family members have stretch marks then you might be at a higher risk.

How do I prevent them?
A few studies in Europe have shown that the highest risk for developing stretch marks during pregnancy are during the 3rd trimester, and women who consistently used creams containing vitamin E had fewer stretch marks than those who used a placebo cream.  Some of the creams that were tested also had other ingredients, but had similar results: Trofolastin (Gotu Kola extract & collagen hydrolysates) and Verum (panthenol, hyaluronic acid, elastin, & menthol).  Cocoa butter was also studied with moderate results, but it was a poor study and not noted whether vitamin E was present in the cocoa butter lotion. From the results of the studies, it appears that vitamin E oil is the best prevention, and bio oil (along with other products) have not been studied.

What can I do to make Stretch Marks go away?
The best is prevention, but once you get stretch marks, plastic surgeons and dermatologists can use laser treatments to decrease the visibility of the marks by zapping them over 5-6 treatments, causing micro wounds and making your body respond to the new wound and re-heal more appropriately; weak studies from the US and Brazil show a 75% decrease in the stretch marks with positive patient responses.  Also, for lower abdominal and hip stretch marks, a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) can be performed to remove the affected tissue.  In the case of extreme weight loss, a panniculectomy can be performed (and extreme removal of stretched skin)

So, the long and short of it is it can be genetic, hormonal, due to weight changes, and muscle mass changes.  And while none of the research is amazing other than on controlled situations where stretch marks are known to occur (such as pregnancy), and it appears that creams/lotions used daily with vitamin E present help to prevent the scars from occurring, once you have them, there is no ideal way to get rid of them other than time or invasive procedures.  If you have stretch marks that you find upsetting or embarrassing, talk to your HCP and find out your options, and if you want to spend tons of money on the various creams on the market, I don't think they will hurt the situation, but I am not sure that they will help either :(  So sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  I do know people who swear by bio oil, but there is nothing to say that it actually works (research based) and I am not sure that they ad severe stretch marks to begin with!!  Talk to your HCP and go see a dermatologist to find out what your options are for treatment, but if you are trying to lose weight, build muscle rapidly, get pregnant, etc my best advice is to use a cream/lotion daily with vitamin E and it might help with your skins elasticity!!  Let me know what works best for you!

Yours in Good Health
B

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