Stretch marks are scars caused by the breakdown of elastic and collagen fibers. These fibers are located in the deepest layer of the skin. Stria begins with an inflammatory process, so red lines appear. The body begins to produce a thicker collagen and the mark resembles a pearly-colored scar: melanin, a pigment that gives color to the skin, disappears.
Stretch marks are linear lesions, usually parallel, which can vary from one to several centimeters in length. Initially the lesions are reddish or pinkish, later evolving to a whitish hue. In dark-skinned people, stretch marks may be darker than healthy skin. Some people develop stretch marks even with little distension of the skin; others do not develop stretch marks even in pregnancy – when the distension of the skin is great.
Stretch mark prevention
Vegetable oils and essential oils act as adjuvants in treatments and help in preventing new stretch marks. Here are two of them.
1. Rosehip oil
Fatty acids act on the cell membrane and enable better nutrition and act directly on the proliferative phase of healing. Antioxidants, such as polyphenols, vitamins C and E, and carotenoids, protect new cells from forming in the regenerating injured region. Vitamin E still has an antioxidant effect, so it protects cells from damage caused by the dreaded free radicals, preventing aging and the appearance of stretch marks.
Rosehip oil has an emollient property, so it keeps the skin soft and hydrated naturally, ensuring the skin’s lubrication and nutrition, keeping it beautiful and healthy.
2. Grape seed oil
Grape seed oil is rich in vitamins C, D, E, beta carotene and antioxidants, which help strengthen skin elasticity and decrease wrinkle formation. The oil is quickly absorbed and can therefore be used for any skin type. It acts in the prevention of stretch marks. It has healing and regenerating action, besides being an excellent moisturizer.
In addition to vegetable oil, essential oils can be used which have antioxidant, healing and anti-inflammatory action. The most suitable are: palmarosa, lavender and tea tree.
How to use vegetable oil?
Separate one tablespoon of vegetable oil, add 3 drops of essential oil and mix well. Rub on the skin after a bath and massage until the oil is completely absorbed. Use daily. Continued use helps in preventing stretch marks.
Stretch mark treatment
Most treatments aim at skin renewal and increased collagen production. The result is better in recent stretch marks. Exfoliation serves to peel away the superficial skin, promoting the growth of new skin. Another way to exfoliate is through a device that has the function of sanding the skin with a crystal or diamond tip. When this occurs the skin that covers the stretch mark, is removed, stimulating its regeneration. A major advantage of this technique is that it also stimulates the production of elastin, which is responsible for the firmness and elasticity of the skin.
The result of exfoliation is increased stimulation for collagen and elastin formation, improving skin quality. There are several effective stretch mark techniques, and most doctors recommend using at least two of them in combination, as the results are superior to those achieved with single techniques. An exception is in some cases of recent stretch marks, when using only one technique can be effective.
In addition to exfoliation, another form of treatment is the injection of substances that stimulate the formation of new skin – such as glycolic acid, vitamin C and others. The injection is made along the entire stria with very fine needles, improving local circulation and the production of skin proteins. This reduces the height and thickness of stretch marks. It takes several sessions, and application can be painful. As in previous cases, sun exposure should be avoided.
Laser application also leads to the reduction of blood vessels in the stretch marks, reducing their purplish or pink coloration. It also leads to increased protein in the skin. Several sessions are held at 15-day intervals. This can alleviate the appearance of the stretch mark.
What do you do to treat stretch marks? Let us know in the comments below!