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Stretch marks are a form of scarring on the skin that appears as thin streaks or lines and can be red, pink, purple, white or even silver in color. Also known as striae, stretch marks most commonly occur on the thighs, stomach, upper-arms, buttocks or breasts.
Stretch marks are thought to occur when the dermis, or the middle layer of the skin, becomes stretched and tears. This can occur as a result of rapid fluctuation in weight, pregnancy, puberty, a sudden growth spurt or hormonal changes. Dermatologists still aren’t sure why some people get stretch marks while others don’t, but genetics are also believed to be a factor.
Unfortunately, there are no sure-fire methods for preventing stretch marks. However, certain measures are thought to reduce the risk and severity. Although it’s often a factor beyond control, it’s best to avoid any sudden and drastic weight loses or gains. When dieting, it is best for the skin to lose weight gradually.
Though cocoa butter is often suggested as a means for stretch mark prevention, extensive studies have shown that the results just aren’t there. Creams containing vitamin E have been found to help reduce the development of stretch marks when massaged into the skin regularly.
There are no quick cures for stretch marks, but with time and diligence, there can be ways to reduce their appearance. The best course of action is to regularly exfoliate to remove dead skin cells, then stimulate repair by using a product containing copper peptides, which are known to have regenerative properties.
Laser treatments can serve to stimulate collagen production and help diminish the appearance of stretch marks, though this won't completely erase them.
While prescription-strength retinoids have been seen to improve new stretch marks that are still reddish in color, it is a controversial solution, as they are a known toxin.
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