A Fine Line: Stretch Marks
What to do when stretch marks leave a lasting impression
For nine months, you diligently rubbed cocoa butter on your
growing belly. Now a new mom, you think you made it through unscathed,
then suddenly (gasp) squiggly red lines appear. How did they get there?
Can you cure them? (You wish.) Conceal them? (You hope.) Read on for
everything you need to know about stretch marks.
Stretch mark specifics
Called striae distensae in medical terms, stretch marks occur
when the skin’s elastin and collagen fibres (which weave through the
dermis, the middle layer of your skin, giving it flexibility and
firmness) split after being expanded beyond their limits. This is
usually a result of rapid weight gain, explains Dr. Lisa Kellett, a
dermatologist in Toronto. Fresh stretch marks are red, purple, reddish
brown to dark brown in colour due to inflammation; more mature marks
have loss of blood flow and usually appear lighter, like scar tissue.
they can make an appearance at any time during or after pregnancy, you
may not notice stretch marks until your pre-baby size reappears, as
weight loss can make them more obvious. They are typically found on
areas with higher skin tension, explains Kellett, including hips,
abdomen, butt, breasts and thighs.
The bottom line: Sorry, girls, once a stretch mark appears,
it isn’t possible to remove it. There are ways, however, to diminish
its appearance. These treatments vary in price, effort and, of course,
Don’t count on it. Applying creams to your burgeoning belly, such
as the popular cocoa-butter concoctions, may soothe the itchiness that
occurs as the skin stretches in pregnancy, but will not prevent stretch
marks from appearing, says Kellett.
From Today’s Parent, October 2006, text by Sara Marett-Carter. To read the entire article please click here