Sharon (not her real name) wearily let go of the little red sleeveless dress. She would have looked perfect in it for her best friend’s bachelorette party only if those dreadful marks were not lying conspicuously on the back of her legs, just below her knees and on her upper arm.
She settled for a full sleeved long dress instead, perturbed by her mandatory wardrobe change imposed on her by the annoying stretch marks that besieged her skin only recently.
Stretch marks are a huge problem for more ladies than men, though men have them as well, they are more of a burden for women.
Dermatogically termed as Striae, Stretch marks are off-coloured stripes or streaks that appear on the outer skin and are commonly seen on the waist, thighs, lower backs, hips, breasts, arms and buttocks. Due to the fact that the human skin is made up of three layers: epidermis (the outer layer), dermis (the middle layer) and hypodermic (the deepest and third layer), stretch marks occur when the connective tissue is stretched due to the expansion and contraction of skin, the stretch marks starts developing on the dermis or the middle layer of the skin. With the stretch in skin, the collagen gets weak and the elastin fibres start tearing.
Due to this, its normal production cycle gets damaged or interrupted. This results in the formation of fine scars under the epidermis or the top layer of the skin. Initially, they appear red or pink, but gradually, they turned into thin silvery line.
Though stretch marks are not a disease, which infects the human body, but are the scars formed due to contraction and expansion of skin, they are basically caused by a number of reasons which includes the physical stretching of the skin at the end of pregnancy, extraordinary weight gain, especially on arms and thighs, use of certain medications, including lotions, pills, corticosteroid creams and steroids, adrenal gland diseases, Cushing’s syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, genetic disorders, muscle building, hormonal changes during puberty and heredity factors.
However, there are warning signs that tells that a part of the skin is about to be bombarded by stretch marks. Stretch mark symptoms include development of red, pink, or purple lines on the skin, softening of skin, appearance of wrinkly lines and patches of parallel lines on the skin
Though stretch marks make people feel self conscious and uncomfortable about their appearance, fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the appearance of stretch marks naturally without any side effects.
Potato juice helps us a lot to get rid of stretch marks. Potato contains starch, a product with emollient properties that soothes the skin. The presence of antioxidants in potatoes helps remove stretch marks. Antioxidants are chemicals that transfer electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent and they can prevent or slow cell damage. After the formation, free reactive radicals start a chain reaction which can cause damage or death to a cell. Antioxidants are molecules that can interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. Potato is a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, iron and zinc.
Aloe Vera is one of the most well known remedies for stretch marks. Aloe Vera leaves secrete a clear gel when broken off from the rest of the plant that can be applied to heal wounds and it also contains plant collagen which immensely helps to repair the skin. Collagen is one of the most important proteins that make the skin elastic, supple and youthful. Collagen is really beneficial to the skin as they help to reduce wrinkles, fine lines, reverse age of skin, tighter skin, plump up skin and also improve the elasticity of skin.
Olive oil contains four major antioxidants which allow it to work as a cleanser, moisturiser, and protector of skin. Among these antioxidants are Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps to neutralise the oxidant effect of free radicals that damage collagen and it is the main reason of wrinkles, fine lines and skin dryness. Vitamin E reduces the chain reaction of free radicals. Vitamin A thickens and stimulates the dermis and reduces wrinkles and fine lines naturally and increases blood flow to the surface of the skin
Lemon juice is one of the most well known stretch marks removal home remedy. It is a great source of alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and Vitamin C. Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid which ensures the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein made up of amino acids and produces almost 30 per cent of the proteins with in the body. They are found in strong structures of the body like in tendons, bones and ligaments. It helps the growth of cells and blood vessels and aids immensely to maintain the firmness and strength of the skin. Lemon juice also acts as a natural remedy for tan removal.
Egg white is one of the best known home remedies for skin. It is rich in Vitamin A and collagen. Collagen is the main structural and the most abundant protein found in animal connective tissue and contains specific amino acids like glycine, praline, hydroxyproline and arginine. As it gives our skin firmness, suppleness and helps in the constant renewal of skin cells, it is really essential for our skin.