A stretch mark is essentially a type of scar on the skin, it causes the skin to discolour. They can appear all over the body and are usually referred to negatively as many people find them displeasing.
Who is at risk of getting stretch marks?
Stretch marks commonly form during a pregnancy affecting ninety per cent of all women; this is because the skin is being stretched as you quickly gain weight. You can get stretch marks without being pregnant if you have rapidly gained weight. Many people wonder whether stretch marks and pregnancy stretch marks are the same and whilst yes they are, pregnancy stretch marks usually appear in more specific places such as the belly, back, breasts, thighs, and hips due to the weight gain is more built up in a certain area.
You can also get stretch marks from losing weight. Other people who are at risk of developing them are teenagers that are going through puberty. This is because of their growth spurts which are also responsible for stretching of the skin. Certain medicines containing corticosteroids have also been known to reduce the elasticity of the skin, thus increasing the risk of stretch marks. Corticosteroids are a type of steroid hormone that is usually taken for their anti-inflammatory benefits, however many pharmaceuticals come with their negatives too.
How to reduce or get rid of stretch marks?
Whilst the best method is preventing the stretch marks from forming in the first place, this is not always possible. Mainly due to the unpredictability of this type of scarring. A prevention technique, if you are pregnant, would be to ensure your skin doesn’t dry out. Rubbing oils all over your body frequently would reduce the risk, however, it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get them.
According to Medical News Today, there are certain oils that can help with the reduction of stretch marks. These oils are Argan, Bitter almond, bitter orange, lavender, Neroli, Patchouli, Pomegranate, and Frankincense. Each oil such as these work differently from each other, whilst some may be good at lightening the skin, others may be able to help to reduce the damage and others could increase the elasticity. Using some of these oils could be very beneficial and long term could help make your stretch marks barely visible.
Alongside this, you could exfoliate regularly to remove excess dead skin from your stretch marks, as well as using some over the counter creams that are fit for purpose. It’s worth noting that some may not be as strong as what you need them to be. If you have tried those oils or creams and have not got the results that you were after, you should consult your doctor as they may be able to prescribe something that is better suited to your skin. Alternatively, you may have a few options that you can go through together.
Does bio oil work?
According to studies 38 female participants aged between 18-65 noticed an improvement after 8 weeks (57 days) with a 100% success rate meaning the oil works great. I wouldn’t recommend using bio-oil on tattoos, although it may help reduce scarring near the area. If you want to use an oil for tattoos, you’d be better off going for coconut oil. Despite research for side effects there are no reported implications. If you intend to use bio oil we recommend taking a before and after photo so that you can see how effective it has been for you, so that you know whether to continue use.
Bio-oil is a type of oil that comes from calendula, lavender, rosemary, and chamomile. It’s marketed towards the reduction of stretch marks. To work effectively it is said that you must apply it to the affected area every day, despite the advice given by manufacturers. My partner who has stretch marks from a previous two pregnancies has tried using it every day and it simply did not work for her, which is not to say that it may work for others.
This is a shame because It is actually quite expensive to buy. One bottle that is approximately 200 ml) will cost you around (£8). There have been some success stories with the oil with claims that it helped stretch marks fade after sporadic use daily for around 3 months. if you are considering buying it, let me just say that there are many other methods of getting rid of stretch marks.
What does bio oil do?
Each 200ml Bio oil bottle is a body oil used for improvement of the look of scars, such as stretch marks, cuts, uneven skin tones, burns, ageing, dehydrated skin and minor surgery repairs. Bio oil contains natural cruelty free purcellin oil which originally comes from ducks, it also contains mineral oil which is proven to help reduce the look of skin complaints.
Using bio oil is discouraged for the first few months after a burn but once left to heal it can be applied.
How to apply bio oil?
To see good results and a decrease in your scars and stretch marks you should continuously use it for 50 days. Applying a small handful with a rubbing motion into the affected area to see a change.
Is bio oil safe during pregnancy?
Yes, for pregnant women it is recommended to use twice daily in a circular motion into the stretch marks. The areas that are most affected during pregnancy can be breasts, hips, stomach, thighs and other areas. You should begin to use it in the second trimester to have a good affect.
Surgery treatments for removing stretch marks?
There are some minor surgeries that you can go for which have been known to be very effective in regards to direct removal, however, you may need more than one course of treatment. Micro-needling is a process in which tiny needles are put into your skin to trigger collagen production. Increased collagen promotes skin regeneration which may, in turn, improve the appearance of your scarred skin.
Another option is laser therapy, now this isn’t necessarily a reduce or removal treatment but more of a ‘help the stretch marks blend in’ so that you don’t notice them as much. This would be fine of course because if you can’t see them well, then there is not much problem. Cosmetic surgery is another choice but not really one that I would recommend due to its health risks.
Problems with surgery for stretch marks?
There have been some stories regarding treatments and procedures not being so successful. One online source stated that a mum was left with scars after the stretch mark treatment burned her stomach. Now, this is not what you expect to happen. The women who had the treatment paid £400 for a session of fibroblast and actually ended up with infected wounds. She wishes that she didn’t get the treatment done in the first place and said: “I wish I could have just embraced my body”.
The mother of three said that the pain from the treatment was worse than childbirth. She was focussed on the end result that her skin would look great and didn’t consider the risks to health. This is why it is important to realise that not all treatments are safe and each one comes with its own set of risks to health.
Sometimes even the result you were expecting may end up worse. This is why you should always try the creams and oils first to reduce and remove them. As opposed to going straight in for surgery or treatment. Coming back to the initial topic, what is a stretch mark? It is a perfect imperfection that is a part of you, that you should learn to love. You should accept your body just the way it is.
Up next: A guys perspective to labour