Red Stretch Marks
Stretch Marks Info
What are they?
Stretch marks, or striae distensae, are the most common skin lesions. There are two types: red and white. Another plain way to describe them is new stretch marks and old. The red are the new. The white are the old.
Striae rubra is the medical term for dramatically livid stretch marks. That term and other words referring to red are somewhat inaccurate. The truth is they occur in a wider array of startling pigmentations. Depending on the color of one’s skin, they can be red, pink, purple, reddish brown, brown, or dark brown.
What these hues have in common is their newness. What most people marked with them share with each other is a lot of unhappiness about them.
Stretch marks result from rapid weight gain caused by fat or muscle increases. Some physicians also believe that stretch marks are caused by glucocorticoids, a class of adrenal hormones. During pregnancy, puberty, weight-lifting, and advancing obesity, glucocorticoid levels get raised. This may create a disruption of collagen and elastin fibers. These deeply interlocking structures are the building blocks of skin, and normally they keep the skin tight. When collagen and elastin lose integrity, however, they can no longer accommodate stretching. The result is the colorful furrows and slits that stand out against normal skin.
The dark pigmentation of new stretch marks is caused, quite simply, by bleeding. The splintering of collagen causes dilation in the small blood vessels of the dermis. Just as it goes with bruising, this little displacement of blood brings about a big discoloration. The stretching has caused the outermost layer, or epidermis, to thin. This makes the hue very visible.
Stretch marks take a lot longer than simple bruises to fade, and even when they do fade, the skin is no longer the same. Bruising is only dermal bleeding. Stretch marks involve something far more detrimental: collagen breakdown, or scarring. Even when the discoloration fades away, damaged skin texture remains.
Up to 90% of pregnant women, 70% of pubescent girls and 40% of pubescent boys develop stretch marks. Over half of serious weight-lifters are afflicted, and the majority of the obese.
Can red stretch marks be prevented?
To a degree, it appears that red stretch marks are preventable. Genetics are a prevalent factor with regard to who will succeed. Pregnant women and weight-lifters are instructed to moisturize and massage the areas where scarring is likely to occur. The lotions, creams and oils recommended are easy to absorb, and the best of them have additives, like vitamin E, A, and C, that symbiotically stimulate the production of new collagen.
In pubescents and the obese, however, prevention tactics aren’t likely. Imagine a twelve-year old stopping her play to do something so painstakingly adult. Imagine a person whose focus is undisciplined indulgence in eating. Would that person want to simultaneously focus on where the fat bulges will be?
For anyone serious about prevention, however, a healthy diet that precludes any fat gain is an excellent strategy. For weight-lifters, bulking up slowly is crucial, and accordingly, dieters should slowly pare down.
Can established red stretch marks be removed?
It’s more realistic to think of reduction. It’s also realistic to treat the scars right away. New stretch marks respond better to treatment, no matter how much wider and darker they are than the shrunken white lines of the old.
The inexpensive thing to do is exactly what’s prescribed for prevention: fortified salves rubbed in deeply, several times a day.
For those who can afford it, there are various options: microdermabrasion, laser therapy, and a total surgical removal, as in the tummy tuck.
When considering the procedures for diminishing red stretch marks, once again it’s important to remember that lucky or unlucky genetics play a part in the degree of success. So does proper hydration, and a lowfat diet full of nutrients that promote a healthy skin.