Stretch marks are a problem for many women as they mar your personal appearance and directly impact your self-esteem. There are a number of types, but they all pose the same problem. Knowing when do stretch marks appear and how their appearance will affect your skin is essential in dealing with the problem.
First Signs of Stretch Marks
The cause of stretch marks generally falls into one of two broad categories: pregnancy or the loss of a significant amount of weight. They are called stretch marks because your skin has been stretched beyond its normal ability to expand and return to its normal state. Basically, it is a tear in your skin. That is why it looks like you have been cut with a knife or sharp object. The first sign your skin has been stretched out is the presence of red stretch marks, medically known as lesions. Some of the initial coloring may progress to become purple stretch marks, which generally means that the stretch mark has been around for several months. But the underlying cause is the same.
One of the most important things to know about the appearance of these dark stretch marks is that it is the best time to begin seeking treatment to reduce the damage and the discoloration of the skin. Better yet, if you are planning on becoming pregnant or know you will be entering into a serious weight loss program, prepare yourself by adding knowledge about stretch marks and their treatment to your mental information database. This article is a great start.
There are a number of treatments available on the market to help you reduce or eliminate the redness ore purplish discoloration, but there are a few words of caution to give before you try any treatment. First, if you are pregnant be sure to consult with your health care provider before applying any stretchmark treatment, as the chemicals can be absorbed into the fetus and cause serious damage. Second, understand that not every stretch mark treatment will be as effective as advertised. Find one that works for you (you may have to try several) and when you get the results you are seeking, stop.
One of the most common mistakes made by women who do not have the best information about stretch marks is they believe they will simply disappear on their own, just like a cut heals. One way to understand the difference between a cut and a tear in the dermis (a lesion) is to take a look at what happens to a balloon. If you stretch a balloon (without inflating it) for several days it is likely to lose its shape and become bigger. There is no going back to the original size or shape. Your skin is not made of rubber (it is actually more resilient than rubber) but the basic idea is the same. Stretch marks are the physical result of your skin being stretched out too far for too long.
If left untreated, you can expect to find white stretch marks or what some see as silver stretch marks. Their appearance has changed from the original reddish or purplish color to this final stage, which now looks more like an actual scar. There are a different set of treatments for these aging stretch marks, but you need to be warned ahead of time that these white or silver marks are far more difficult to remove. The general history is that some cannot be completely removed no matter what type of treatment is used. This is why getting ahead of the problem is so important.
Though many people believe stretch marks usually appear on the stomach (due to pregnancy) they can also appear on the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks, and thighs. So while a one piece bathing suit may solve the visual problem, other parts of the body cannot be so comfortably hidden.
Genes play a role in the formation of stretch marks. That means you may not have to worry about their appearance at all. But chances are if your mother had them, you likely will have to deal with them as well.
Not all stretch marks are created equally. Some may be very large and deep, while others may be barely visible. There are a number of factors that cause these variations, some genetic and some based on your unique biology.
Summing It All Up
You may not be able to avoid stretch marks, but the sooner you do something about them, the sooner you will be able to see results. For pregnant women, they will begin appearing during the third trimester. People who gain and lose weight rapidly are more likely to see stretch marks appear. Keeping your skin moisturized may help in preventing stretch marks, as the more elastic the skin is, the less likely stretch marks are to occur.