Trained in dentistry, Sree is currently pursuing lab sciences. She loves researching and sharing information on various health topics.
Stretch marks or striae gravidarum can appear anywhere on your body. They may appear on your legs, arms, and your face. The inability of your skin to keep up with rapid weight gain primarily creates stretch marks.
Stretch marks on face are rare for a number of reasons. First, the face does not accumulate a lot of fat. Second, facial skin does not stretch too much during puberty or in cases of rapid growth. Third, facial skin is not usually involved in activities involving stretches.
Stretch marks look like bands of lines on top of your skin. They can appear light gray, bright pink, and pink in color. The color of stretch marks depends on the person's skin color and the "age" of the stretch marks. You can feel an indentation or ridge in your skin if you touch these marks. They might feel sore or itchy.
Stretch marks are more of a cosmetic issue rather than a medical one. This means that they are not dangerous to your health and you can just ignore them. They will become less visible over time.
The skin is an elastic organ. It has three layers: epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. The epidermis is the outer layer. The dermis is the middle layer. The hypodermis is the deepest layer. The dermis is the one affected when stretch marks appear.
Your skin stretches greatly if a part of your body below it gains fat. There is a limit on how much the skin can stretch and how fast it can stretch. Stretch marks become apparent when the rate of the stretch passes the limits of your skin.
The dermis' collagen fibers and elastin determine the limit of your skin's elasticity. Collagen and elastin are proteins.
Stretching weakens your skin's collagen and elastin fibers. The weakening of the collagen fibers interrupts and reduces its production.
Stretch marks start with microscopic bleeding. The more severe the bleeding, the more visible the stretch marks will be. The bleeding appears as a purple line or blotch over a newly formed stretch mark. The "wound" will leave the more familiar appearance of a stretch mark once it heals.
Medical professionals refer to fresh purple stretch marks as striae rubra; while they refer to healed, depressed, and light-colored stretch marks as striae alba.
Rapid growth, stress, and hereditary factors can also cause stretch marks. The hormone glucocorticoid, cortisol (hydrocortisone) specifically, is another factor that aggravates stretch marks. It helps in weakening the skin fibers.
The body produces glucocorticoids — a portmanteau derived from glucose, cortex, and steroid — in great amounts during pregnancy and puberty. This is the reason people develop stretch marks, too, during adolescence.
The common places where these stretch marks appear are those that are easily affected by weight gain. One of those places is your belly. Therefore, most pregnant mothers have marks around their navel after they give birth.
People with the following traits are at high risk of developing stretch marks:
- Caucasian genes
- A family history of stretch marks
- Pale skin
- Being overweight
- Using medications with corticosteroid or steroids
- Cushing syndrome
- Marfan syndrome
Knowing if you truly have stretch marks does not require any diagnostic tools or processes. You can visually confirm their presence on your body. A doctor can confirm it by looking at the marks and checking your medical history.
Thankfully, the skin can recover the damage in stretch marks. However, do not get your hopes up. They will never completely disappear or heal even with medical procedures. As mentioned, they will just become almost invisible over time.
Is There an Instant Cure for Stretch Marks?
There is no instant and non-invasive cure for stretch marks. You can camouflage them with cosmetic products. Those products conceal the marks by making them appear smoother. You need to undergo surgery if you want those stretch marks to disappear fast.
Topical and Chemical Remedies for Stretch Marks
Stretch marks the legs, buttocks, belly, and breasts are easy to hide. You can just wear clothes to hide those marks. However, the case is different for stretch marks on face.
A product that can conceal stretch marks is tanning lotion. Stretch marks often seem like light cracks and patches on your skin. Using tanning lotion will make them appear darker and more even with your skin tone.
Risks and Side Effects: The only risks in tanning lotions are associated with illegal and fake ones. Make sure that the tanning lotion you use is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Anti-Stretch Marks Creams and Lotions
You can opt for over-the-counter creams and lotions that fight stretch marks. Make sure that the cream does not clog or block pores and cause a breakout. You can consult a dermatologist to prescribe one for you.
Risks and Side Effects: Pregnant women should make sure that their creams and lotions are devoid of the following ingredients: salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, hyaluronic acid, dihydroxyacetone, dimethylethanolamine, hydroquinone, and vitamin A.
People often use tretinoin to treat acne and wrinkles, but did you know that you can also use it for stretch marks on face? It works by helping your body in collagen restoration. It is super effective, especially if the stretch mark is relatively new or when the stretch mark is colored pink or red.
Tretinoin is available as a cream, gel, and solution. Remember that pregnant women should not use it since it can harm an unborn baby. Also, tretinoin can cause skin irritation. It can make your skin scaly and red.
Risks and Side Effects: Topical tretinoin is OK for pregnant women and their babies. Severe side effects are blistering of the skin, skin discoloration, and eye irritation.
Lupin seed extracts help increase collagen formation in your skin. Centella asiataca is an herbal oil that helps your body produce more collagen. It also helps in rebuilding skin tissues. In most cases, people use this oil to make wounds heal faster. You can find centella asiataca as a primary or secondary ingredient in most over-the-counter skin products and anti-stretch mark creams.
Risks and Side Effects: Little is known about its effects on pregnant women and their babies. Stay on the safe side and do not use it until you get the green light from your doctor.
Oils and Butter
Bitter almond oil is a common item that pregnant women use to alleviate stretch marks after giving birth. Shea and cocoa butter, on the other hand, can be useful in reducing the stretch mark's visibility and make your skin feel smoother and softer.
Risks and Side Effects: None.
A chemical peel is a procedure wherein a harsh chemical is applied on the stretch marks on face. The chemical will make your skin peel and produce blisters.
The blisters and peeling will encourage your skin to form a new layer, which is suppler, smoother, and more even than the peeled layer. These basically make the skin imperfections and marks less visible.
Risks and Side Effects: A few of its side effects are redness, scarring, changes in skin color, infections, and liver, kidney, and heart damage.
Cosmetic Procedures for Stretch Marks Removal
Dermabrasion is a process wherein a specialist freezes your skin and removes the top layer of the skin by using an abrasive tool, which is often made up of tiny crystals. Think about sanding a rough piece of wood — that's what the derma does to your face in dermabrasion.
Since the scraping can be painful for those with a low pain threshold, the doctor will numb the skin with anesthetics. After the procedure, expect the skin to be tender and sensitive for several weeks.
Specialists often use this process to remove acne pockmarks, scars, and address other skin imperfections. It can be done in conjuction with other dermatological procedures.
Risks and Side Effects: A few of its side effects are redness, swelling, acne, enlarged pores, changes in skin color, scarring, infections, and rashes. Those with a family history of keloids are advised against dermabrasion as well.
Broadband Light Therapy
BBL or non-fractional broadband light therapy, also called pulsed light therapy, can reduce the visibility of stretch marks. The procedure uses lasers to heat the affected areas and encourage the skin to produce collagen. But in spite of using heat, broadband light therapy protects and cools the skin.
This procedure inflicts a bit of pain, but the amount of pain depends on the patient's threshold. Specialists apply a mild topical anesthetic to the affected area where they will operate.
Most patients who have undergone this procedure have described the sensation they felt as similar to a rubber band being snapped on their skin.
The operated area will redden, darken, and feel warm after the procedure. The reddening and darkening will disappear after two or three days.
The number of sessions needed will depend on the patient's skin condition and the severity of the stretch marks.
Risks and Side Effects: A few of its side effects are redness, scarring, patterning, and skin discoloration.
Fractional Carbon Dioxide Laser Therapy
Fractional CO2 therapy is a relatively new method in lessening the visibility of stretch marks. It can make stretch marks seemingly disappear after five sessions.
Risks and Side Effects: A few of its side effects are redness, swelling, itching, ectropion, acne, changes in skin color, scarring, and infection.
You can use items you can find in your home to hasten recovery time and help fresh stretch marks heal better. People typically use the same items for general skin care.
These items do not pose any severe side effects and risks. In some case, they may induce redness and itching. However, people who are allergic to any of the items must not use it.
Sugar is an effective exfoliator. It becomes much more effective if you mix it with lemon juice and almond oil.
You can apply the mixture on your stretch marks before taking a shower. Doing this every day for two to three months effectively reduces the stretch marks’ visibility.
Egg whites are full of proteins. Proteins are essentially amino acids that encourage healing.
Clean the affected area with water. Whip your egg whites. Apply the whipped egg whites on the affected area using a brush. Let the egg whites dry on your skin. Rinse your skin with lukewarm water. Apply moisturizer or olive oil to moisturize your skin. Keep using egg whites for two to four weeks to see noticeable results.
Lemon juice has multiple skin healing properties. It can reduce and heal acne, scars, and stretch marks, among others. You can mix lemon juice with cucumber juice to amplify its effect.
Slice a lemon into thin slices. Rub the slices on the affected area in a circular motion. Let the lemon juice dry on top of your skin for 10 minutes. Wash away the dried juice with water.
Potato juice encourages the skin to grow and restore cells.
Cut a potato into slices. Rub the slices on your stretch marks until their starch covers the affected areas. Let the juice dry on your skin and then wash it off with water.
Castor oil can treat pimples, dark spots, age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and ultimately, stretch marks.
Massage the affected area with castor oil in a circular motion. Do so for 10 minutes. Then, place a warm towel or thin cotton cloth for 15 minutes. Do this for a month to see noticeable results.
People know well that Aloe vera is an excellent skin and hair cleanser. It also works as a stretch mark remedy.
Cut an aloe vera leaf into thin slices. Rub a slice on your stretch mark. Leave its gel on your skin for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with water. Another method to use aloe vera for your stretch mark is to create a salve. Extract oils from vitamin A and E capsules. Mix those oils with aloe vera gel. Rub the gel mixture on the affected area until the skin absorbs the salve. Do this daily to fully experience its benefits.
Stretch marks are a part of any person's life. Most of its causes are naturally occurring. However, it is possible to prevent unnecessary stretch marks.
First, you should maintain your weight. Exercise regularly and eat healthy to avoid sudden weight gain or loss. Second, consult your doctor about your optimal weight if you are pregnant. Third, avoid stress as much as possible. Cortisol is not just a hormone that your body produces during puberty. It is also a hormone secreted by your adrenaline glands when you are stressed.
Two Important Tips to Prevent Stretch Marks on Face
The two important things you need to do to avoid having stretch marks on face are: Maintain a healthy lifestyle and establish a proper facial care regimen.
Lead a healthy lifestyle. Be sure that your skin is getting all the nutrients it needs. A few of them are vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and zinc. Also, make sure you are getting your recommended protein intake and are always sufficiently hydrated.
In terms of proper facial care, always make sure that your facial skin retains moisture throughout the day. Never leave it dry, but never leave it too oily either. Most importantly, never go to bed without cleansing your face.
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