Striae, or, as they are commonly called, stretch marks on the skin is a phenomenon familiar to many bodybuilders. And not only them, in fact. Unpleasant streaks on the body, often appear in adolescents, pregnant women, and other people who are undergoing hormonal changes or suffering from problems with the endocrine system. Outwardly, these same stripes, as a rule, have a reddish or purple hue, eventually changing to white. This, in turn, already remains such since the stretch marks do not contain pigments, and therefore are not able to sunbathe. Below we’ll see what are the causes of striae and find out the most important question – are stretch marks permanent?
Stretch Marks – The Nature of Occurrence
As you can guess from the name, stretch marks appear due to stretching of the skin, as well as rupture of the dermis. Theoretically, they can occur on every part of the body, but in most cases, stripes are formed in those places where a person has the highest concentration of subcutaneous fat – chest, abdomen, hips, and buttocks.
For athletes, this list is also supplemented by places such as the inner side of the arms and delts since during intensive training. These areas are significantly increased in volume.
Initially, striae have a pinkish tint; the skin on them becomes thinner compared to the rest of the body. In addition, they can itch. Over time, the stripes fade. At this stage, it becomes much more difficult to eliminate them.
White stretch marks from losing weight are called “outdated”, and they acquire such a shade for about a year and a half from the moment of manifestation.
In essence, striae are nothing more than microtraumas of the skin and subcutaneous tissue. The skin is not able to stretch due to rapid changes in body volume and therefore is injured from the inside. The body, trying to “sew-up” the wound, fills the area with connective tissue, which in its properties, specifically the external one, differs from the skin. In addition, the cause of stretch marks can be specific hormonal drugs. This applies in particular to corticosteroids, used mainly to eliminate certain inflammations.
Manifestations of striae indicate that the body disrupted the production of elastin and collagen – components that are directly responsible for the condition of the skin. As such, they do not pose a danger to the health of the body. However, if the root cause of stretch marks is associated with certain hormonal disorders, it certainly needs to be eliminated. In the case of stretch marks, their aesthetic effect is much more negative, unlike battle scars, these strips do not decorate the body of even the most brutal man. Not to mention the fair sex.
The thinning of the skin and a decrease in its elasticity in places of stretch marks is explained by the hormonal changes already mentioned above. These, as you know, occur in adolescents during puberty, in women during pregnancy, as well as in some athletes who are fundamentally reviewing their diet, or who use special additives.
Actually, not even the diet or the use of any drug plays a role, but what follows it – a sharp change in weight, both in one direction and the other.
That is why the problem of stretch marks is so relevant for bodybuilders, the training process of which involves bulking, or on the contrary, emphasis on the so-called “cutting.”
If these processes are accompanied by the use of pharmacological support, the risk of striae increases at times. By the way, nutritionists advise losing weight by no more than 2-3% per month. As for training – excessive loads after a long break, or on the contrary – a sharp cessation of classes, can also lead to striae.
Are Stretch Marks Permanent: Prevention and Treatment
Given the complexity of dealing with stretch marks, a much more appropriate solution would be the timely prevention of their manifestations. However, some of its points can also be successfully applied to get rid of the existing bands, and therefore we will consider them simultaneously in both contexts. So, for the prevention and disposal of stretch marks, it is recommended:
- smear problem areas of the skin with special stretch mark creams and oils;
- maintain optimal water balance in the body by drinking at least 2 liters of water per day;
- pay attention to the necessary concentration of vitamins and minerals in your diet.
It is, in particular, about such components as zinc, copper, vitamins C, B5, and E, since it is these substances that increase the production of collagen.
Products, where they are contained in the largest volume, are:
- green peas,
- sunflower seeds,
- whole grains.
Also, you can consume protein powder, which is already the main nutrient in the bodybuilder’s diet. It helps to restore tissue and prevent its rupture.
• use essential oils or plant extracts – substances that stimulate blood circulation in the body
Best of all – add them directly to the water when swimming. Or rub into the skin during all the same water procedures. You can use either one oil or a combination of several.
In the second case, it is worth choosing one of the oils as the main one. It is best if it is an oil-rich in vitamin E, for example, almond or olive. For one tablespoon of such oil, dissolve a few drops of essential oil (geranium, lemon, orange, mint, rosewood, etc.). The resulting composition is rubbed into the skin with massage movements. You can also use a combination of pure essential oils, mixing them in a proportion of 2 drops each.
• do pinch massage
The last two tips are most often used by the fair sex, but this does not mean at all that harsh male bodybuilders should neglect them. These recommendations are effective and universal.
For the prevention and direct treatment of stretch marks, you can also use all kinds of exfoliating scrubs. Moreover, their recipes are quite simple, so you can prepare a scrub as follows: 1 cup of salt + 1 cup of sugar + 0.5 cup of oil (ideally palm).
During water procedures, thoroughly wipe the problem areas with the resulting composition, and after taking a shower or bath, lubricate these areas with cream.
By the way, about water procedures – to prevent stretch marks, a contrast shower is very useful, strengthening both the skin itself and the smooth muscles underneath.
Are stretch marks permanent? Answer #1: in the case when the marks have already appeared, and you do not want them to remain for life, you must deal with their immediate elimination. If we talk about the specific names of medicines to combat stretch marks, among those worth mentioning are the following remedies:
- Aekol – the solution, containing a mixture of vitamins A and E, stimulates skin regeneration. It is applied externally.
- Contractubecs – a special gel against stretch marks and scars.
- Strataderm – a silicone-based gel. Optimizes collagen production on problem areas of the skin.
- Aevit – capsules for internal use. Contain vitamins A and E.
Are stretch marks permanent? Answer #2: modern cosmetic and medical clinics offer a number of ways by which you can remove stretch marks from the skin. A few words about each of them.
- Laser resurfacing. The process is the action of a laser beam on the site of striae manifestation. At the same time, the beam is able to reach even the deepest layers of the skin, destroying the inner fibers of stretch marks themselves. After the procedure, the skin acquires a bright red tint, as if after a burn. The complete restoration of its cover sometimes takes up to several months.
- Chemical peeling. This procedure involves applying special acids to the skin that burn everything, including the inner layers of the epidermis. The process is very painful, carried out under general anesthesia. As well as the previous method, this kind of exposure is contraindicated in pregnant and lactating women.
- As an alternative to the two methods described above, future and real mothers often use algal wrapping. You can buy “raw materials” for the mixture in any pharmacy. Dry kelp is bred in warm water, after which the composition is applied to areas with stretch marks and covered with a thermal film. One session of wrapping lasts 40-45 minutes. Instead of spirulina, clay, cocoa, and healing mud can also be used.
- There are contraindications to the method called “mesotherapy.” Its essence is the implementation of microinjections under the skin. These injections include vitamins and plant elements, allowing you to make scars almost invisible visually. However, it will still not be possible to completely eliminate striae. In addition, it must be borne in mind that this procedure is forbidden to be performed for diseases of the bladder and a number of other ailments. Therefore, before doing mesotherapy, be sure to consult a doctor.
- Microdermabrasion of the skin is also one of the procedures offered by cosmetic clinics. However, it is not suitable for large areas of the skin, accompanied by pain, and at the same time gives the necessary effect by a maximum of 50%. Therefore, it is used in rare cases.
- Among the more sparing medical methods, ELOS rejuvenation can also be mentioned, during which the skin is simultaneously treated with a laser, light flux and radiofrequency radiation, which allows stimulating collagen production, as well as ozone therapy, according to which a healing mixture is introduced under the skin, which for the most part is made from oxygen and ozone.
- It is possible to completely eliminate stretch marks only with the help of plastic surgery. Surgical intervention, in this case, involves the removal of stretched skin with abdominoplasty.
However, even the surgical method does not always guarantee the complete elimination of stretch marks, especially when it comes to old scars. It is necessary to do all the required procedures, including medical ones, in a timely manner, at the early stage of the appearance of stretch marks, only in this way you will “help” them disappear without a trace.
Also, be sure to use an integrated approach, combining different ways of dealing with stretch marks, carry out the procedures regularly, eventually dwelling on those that have the most positive effect on your skin.
As you see, the question “are stretch marks permanent” remains open. Some sources claim that it is possible to remove striae at home, while others suggest that they are non-removable. Make your own conclusions and never trust frauds!
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