Stretch marks are an absolute pain. They are developed quite easily, can be caused by numerous things, and are a complete nightmare to get rid of.
Yet millions of people deal with them every day. And, sadly, they can inflict feelings of insecurity and damage self-confidence.
The goods news, though, is that there are ways to treat your stretch marks to help smooth out the skin and eliminate the red or purple discolorations.
Below we've provided an overview of some of these techniques along with general information about this awful skin condition.
Stretch marks affect both men and women all over the world. In most cases women develop them due to pregnancy while most men get them because of weight gain. But these are not the only reasons that this skin deformity appears.
Here are some of the most common causes of stretch marks:
As previously mentioned, most women will encounter marks during or immediately after pregnancy. Most of the time they will appear on the stomach or breasts but may also be seen on the legs.
This is due to the relatively quick weight gain involved with pregnancy and the enlarging of the breasts as they prepare for lactation.
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Gaining or losing moderate to high amounts of weight in a short period of time is also an extremely common cause of stretch marks. The skin is stretched too thin too quickly which causes the ripples and lines to form along with discoloration. For preventative measures you should try to lose weight gradually or, if need be, gain it slowly.
Some young girls develop medium to large breasts pretty fast during this time and if it happens too quickly marks may develop. These are often the easiest to get rid of, though, because the skin is still young and will heal and re-strengthen itself over a couple months.
Believe it or not building up your muscles can actually cause stretch marks, too. How? Well, the concept is pretty similar to how the marks form when you gain weight. While you build up your muscle mass the skin still gets stretched so if you amass a lot of muscle quickly, the results could be the same.
As with most cosmetic skin issues there are several different treatment options available for taking care of those stubborn marks. From home remedies to full-on surgery, there are many different things you can do to fix your skin. Below we've outlined many of the most popular stretch mark removal solutions available.
One of the most affordable and best options for getting rid of stretch marks anywhere on the body is by using a stretch mark removal cream. These products are designed to help fade away marks, restore the elasticity of the skin, and eliminate the redness or purplish coloring around the marks.
Creams are by far one of the cheapest routes. They generally run between $20 and $60 each, work well for most people, and involve no downtime or side effects in most cases.
The only drawback with this method is the actual process time. Generally you'll start seeing results from a cream after 2 weeks but the full effects aren't typically seen until after 6-8 weeks of applying it.
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A lot of people are firm believers in natural home remedies. These solutions often involve creating a salve or paste using common household ingredients (usually fruits, veggies, and the like) and applying the concoction to the affected area daily.
While some of these work to an extent many are just old wives' tales. On top of that the big problem with this method (even for the working remedies) for stretch marks is how long it takes.
The mixtures that actually do some justice do so over the course of several months. This means you'll have to be using up ingredients and applying these home solutions to the skin daily for about 4-6 months to really notice any difference. That's a long time to wait and, for most people, it's unacceptable.
That being said, if you do want to give a home remedy a try here's one that may prove useful..
1. Get a Potato
2. Cut the Potato into Thick Slices
3. Rub Slices on the Stretch Marks for Several Minutes
4. Make Sure the Juices of the Potato Are Getting on the Skin
5. Allow the Juices to Dry on the Skin for Several Minutes
6. Wash Off the Residue with Warm Water
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Live in or close to a decent size city? Then you might want to look up a medical spa in the area. Medspas often offer treatments that can greatly reduce the appearance of stretch marks. The services they offer aren't necessarily made for stretch marks but they can work anyway.
Sometimes spas will offer sales for stretch mark removal services but they still wind up being a bit pricey. Chemical peels are the cheaper route but laser sessions can cost $200 or more each.
Finally we come to the end-all treatment option: surgery. Yes, there are cosmetic surgeries designed specifically to remove stretch marks from the body. But, like nearly every other procedure, this method involves a big price tag, downtime, and the possibility of side effects.
Stretch mark removal surgery typically involves burning off the damaged skin layers with a laser allowing for new, healthy skin cells to grow and replace the disfigured areas.
The main issues with this method are that you'll probably need 2-5 sessions (depending on how old and severe your stretch marks are) to get the job done and the treatments aren't exactly cheap. Generally a single laser session will cost you at least $150. So getting 2-5 will cost between $300 and $750.
These treatments definitely work and the results come fairly quick but if you're on a budget this might not be your best bet.