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stretch marks

Stretch Marks

While scars and stretch marks can be difficult to avoid, there are ways that you can improve their appearance.

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are red or purplish lines that appear on the skin when it is overstretched in times of rapid growth. They occur because the skin is unable to keep up with rapid stretching and repair itself – resulting in permanent tear-like structures appearing. Over time the scars will fade, leaving shiny-looking lines.


Periods of rapid growth and stretching of the skin cause stretch marks. Common causes include:

• Pregnancy. Over 50 per cent of women will develop stretch marks in pregnancy. They most commonly appear on the abdomen, but also the breasts and thighs.

• Rapid excessive weight gain including bodybuilding.

• Rapid growth and weight gain in teen years. Stretch marks in the teen years can be distressing. They very commonly happen in young girls in the breast and thigh region. It’s important to note that they are a very common byproduct of growing.

• Cushing’s syndrome.

• Corticosteroid medication.

• Zinc deficiency may also increase the prevalence of stretch marks.


Try to avoid rapid extreme weight gain if possible and eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains. Vitamin C and zinc supplements are essential for collagen (helps with skin elasticity), production and skin repair, so may help to reduce the prevalence of stretch marks. If you’re pregnant, wear a supportive bra throughout your pregnancy and while you breastfeed.

What causes scars?

Scars can occur for a wide variety of reasons, from trauma to the skin like a cut, graze or burn, to acne and chicken pox. Scarring is a natural part of the healing process, but the appearance of the scar may vary depending on the severity of the trauma and genetics.

How to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars

You may not be able to make scars and stretch marks completely disappear, but you can fade them. Recent studies show that laser treatment and creams containing Retin-A can be very beneficial. Also, why not try:

• See your pharmacist for products that are specifically formulated to reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks.

• Self-tanning creams are a great way to mask the appearance of stretch marks and scars.

• Creams and ointments containing vitamin E may help.

• With regular use, rose hip oil may dramatically improve the appearance of scars and stretch marks.

• In severe cases a plastic surgeon or dermatologist may help with laser surgery, skin grafts, chemical peels, dermabrasion or steroid injections.

• Always wear sunscreen if you expose your skin to the sun as it may inflame scars.

• Use cosmetics to help cover unsightly scars. Try a foundation and cover-up that has been formulated for inflamed and uneven skin tones.