Stretch marks are fine lines that look like a scar on your skin. These marks are purplish in color. Their appearance may change from red or pink to purplish to light gray over a period of time. The marks mainly develop when you go through a sudden weight loss or weight gain in a very short period of time. Stretch marks are not harmful but many people do not like them as they seem ugly on your skin. So normally you get question like can weight loss cause stretch marks or not?
You might doubt but like rapid weight gain, rapid weight loss can also cause stretch marks. This is a fact. In addition, rapid weight loss also makes old stretch mark worst looking.
But in most cases stretch marks appeared when you gain weight. After it if you rapidly loss your weight, these marks become more prominent. Other causes of stretch marks include the following:
- During pregnancy women experience stretch marks as their skin stretches to accommodate or make a room for a newborn.
- Stretch marks can also appear in teenagers because of a sudden growth spurt. (Puberty)
- It can also be genetic. (Family history)
- Rapid increase in your muscle size after weight lifting can develop stretch marks.
- Medical conditions like Marfan syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome may also lead to stretch marks.
- Imbalance in the level of Cortisol hormone. This hormone is produced by adrenal gland. It basically weakens the elasticity of skin which leads to stretch marks.
- Women can also get stretch marks as a result of breast implant surgery.
- High amount of steroids (from medication) can cause stretch marks.
Stretch marks mostly appear on different parts of the body where fat is stored. These include thighs, heaps, chest, buttocks, and abdomen. These marks are not physically dangerous but they can cause harm to your self-image. It may increase your insecurities as these are considered as ‘not attractive’.
Reason behind stretch marks after a rapid weight loss:
Our skin has three primary layers. It includes:
- Epidermis (outer layer, protect your skin)
- Dermis (middle layer, give structure to your skin)
- Hypodermis (Inner most layer, responsible for insulation and fat storage)
The main reason for stretch marks is in the middle layer. Hence, the function of the middle layer is to give structure to your skin. Here the problem of stretch marks arises when you lose weight rapidly. In short, skin loses its elasticity.
When you are losing weight very fast (for example more than 2lb weight in a week) can cause stretch marks. During weight loss, a particular hormone is released. This hormone affects the production of collagen present in your body. Collagen is basically a protein that keeps your skin healthy.
Due to rapid loss in your weight the hormone damaged more collagen. When the production of collagen is not as desired, the skin starts to react by tearing from inside. Due to this reaction stretch marks appeared on different parts of the body. In other words, your skin loses its elasticity leading to stretch marks.
Is it normal to get stretch marks after weight loss?
After a rapid weight loss, it is absolutely normal. Don’t worry if you are getting this. It is not related to any health issues in most cases. For example, when you stretch a rubber band, it goes very far and comes back to its place.
This happens because it has good elasticity. Over time, it loses its elasticity. Same thing for skin. When you lose weight rapidly, your skin loses elasticity. This leads to stretch marks.
How one should prevent stretch marks during weight loss?
If you are planning to lose a lot of weight, then you should keep it healthy. Start your journey by losing weight gradually. Don’t be in hurry. Do regular exercise and eat healthy food.
Make sure to keep your skin hydrated as it is most important. This will help to keep the elasticity of your skin. You can simply avoid stretch marks by losing weight slowly.
It is the ideal step you can do to avoid it. If you want to show off your beach body then you must follow all these tips while losing weight.
Is my stretch marks are permanent?
Like other scars, stretch marks are basically permanent. But it fades over time and eventually becomes less noticeable. At the start, it has reddish in color but after some time it turns white. In this way, they become less noticeable.
How can one should get rid of stretch marks ?
If you cannot wait for some time and want to remove your marks quickly then stretch marks can be removed by treatment. Red stretch marks are newer and easy to treat. White stretch marks are older and are difficult to treat.
The reason behind this is that your blood vessels under the stretch marks become narrow over time. This makes it difficult to stimulate the production of collagen. Treatment may not be as affected as for red stretch marks but it helps to fade away them.
There is some medical treatment for removing or lightening stretch marks. Before going for any treatment it’s important to understand that not every treatment works for everyone. First find the cause of your stretch marks and then consult with your doctor before going for any treatment.
There are two types of laser therapy (Pulsed dye and fractional CO2) for removing stretch marks. In pulsed dye laser therapy, a blast of light is used on newly red stretch marks. It is painless, so don’t need to worry. For first 3-4 treatment your stretch marks become more reddish but after it starts to fade. This laser treatment trigger more collagen (a protein that keeps your skin healthy) development.
Fractional CO2 therapy is used to clear up white stretch marks. It also triggers the production of collagen which gives your skin a smoother texture. After about five sessions white stretch marks started to fade.
This can be an option if other treatments prove unsuccessful for you. This is costly and painful. But it is effective and permanently removed your stretch marks. However, it also leaves scars of its own. It also cause you a number of health risks. Before going for this treatment you should consult with your doctor.
This is a more affordable method to reduce or lighten stretch marks. You should apply creams and ointments which are prescribed by your doctor daily. These creams do not completely remove stretch marks but only lighten their tone.
It is a painless procedure. It will help to reduce white stretch marks. It is used to renew your skin tone by removing dead skin from the epidermis layer. To get an effective result you should repeat it after some time.
This method basically targets the middle layer of skin that is dermis. In this method, tiny needles are used which is poked directly into your skin. It will help for trigger collagen. Increase production of collagen promotes regeneration of the skin. This will ultimately reduce the stretch marks.
Home remedies to get rid of stretch marks:
If you do not want to go with expensive treatment then have look at some home remedies. These are only a piece of information. Basically they are not 100% recommended by researchers.
- More intake of vitamin A:
Somehow, researches have shown that vitamin A is very effective in reducing stretch marks. As it referred as a retinoid. Retinoid makes your skin more youthful and smoother. A diet rich in vitamin A includes carrots and sweet potatoes prove effective in the lighting of your stretch marks.
- Almond oil and coconut oil:
Messaging oil on stretch marks can be reduce it to some extent. But it is not too effective as per researchers. But when you mix both oil in same quantities, this will work. It has no side effects as it is natural. Massage these oils on your skin regularly for better results.
- Aleo vera:
There is a little clinical evidence about it. It may prove effective in curing stretch marks. It is an ideal home remedy as aleo vera is natural skin softener and healing agent. It has no harmful effects.
- Nourishing Skin Mask:
You can also make mask of removing stretch marks. The ingredients which are used in preparing of this mask includes 2 egg yolks (beaten), one lemon juice, 2tsp of almond paste and oatmeal and enough milk to mix them well. Just mix the all ingredients well and apply this paste on your stretch marks. Let it dry and then rinse off with cold water while scrubbing gently.
- Avoid tanning:
Tanning is not effective for reducing stretch marks. In addition, it makes stretch marks more noticeable. So, avoid tanning.
All these home remedies are not fully researched. They are just opinions. Consult your doctor before using any of this. We are not responsible for any mishappen.
Instead of home remedies many researchers believed that products containing hyaluronic acid or centella are more effective in reducing stretch marks. (Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in your skin).