Stretch marks, which occur a lot during pregnancy or gain a lot of weight, are a concern for many people because they affect the cosmetic aspect. It refers to thinly cracked areas such as thighs and abdomen by the force of pulling the skin, and is also called dilated striatum. These stretch marks are not a big problem medically, but once they occur, they do not disappear naturally, so they cause a lot of stress and worries in terms of aesthetics. Therefore, it is important to accurately recognize the causes that affect the occurrence, and to put efforts into continuous management by implementing lifestyle habits that help prevent and alleviate symptoms. Now, let’s take a look at the main causes of stretch marks, as well as various information on symptoms, prevention, and management one by one.
Causes and symptoms of stretch marks
The main cause of stretch marks is not known exactly, but it is estimated that the collagen and elastin tissue layers are partially destroyed as the skin stretches excessively due to the increase of the adrenal corticosteroid in the body. For this reason, it is known that there is a high probability that it occurs during the period of growth or pregnancy when the secretion of adrenocortical hormone increases. In addition, it has been known that stretch marks can occur when sudden weight changes, diseases such as diabetes, tuberculosis, Cushing’s syndrome, long-term use of steroid hormones, and frequent muscle exercise or heavy lifting occur.
The initial symptoms of stretch marks are the atrophy of the upper layer of the skin, and the loss of elastic fibers in the deep lower layer of the skin. After these initial symptoms, it changes to white, slightly subdued than normal skin, and becomes a little bumpy to the touch. It is said that the most effective way to treat these stretch marks is to start treatment as early as possible because it becomes difficult to treat when they enter the late stage when they turn white.
When it is confirmed that a red band or line is formed, which is the pre-stage of whitening, it is recommended to visit a specialist immediately and proceed with various treatments such as a vascular laser treatment along with a prescription for stretch mark cream. In addition, stretch marks do not disappear naturally once they occur, and it is known that there is still no way to completely treat them. .
How to prevent and manage stretch marks
1. Moisturize the skin
In order to prevent and manage stretch marks, it is important to pay attention to moisturizing the skin so that it does not dry out the skin and keeps the skin moist. Especially after taking a shower, it is recommended to apply a sufficient amount of moisturizing cream or body lotion to keep the skin moist. It is also said to be a good way to massage using various oils to keep the skin moisturized. It is said that regular massage for 10 minutes or more twice a day, focusing on areas prone to stretch marks such as the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and forearms, helps to not only moisturize the skin but also to improve the elasticity of the skin.
2. Maintaining a healthy weight
Since sudden weight gain is the main cause of the destruction of collagen fibers and has a great effect on the occurrence of stretch marks, it is important to control the weight gain through regular diet management and regular exercise so that there is no sudden weight gain. In particular, it is important to maintain a proper weight by maintaining a balanced diet, stretching, and exercising such as yoga, as weight gain during pregnancy can adversely affect not only stretch marks but also the health of the fetus. In addition, it is recommended to refrain from eating high-fat and oily foods, foods containing fructose, and processed foods, as they can cause overweight and cause stretch marks.
3. Drinking enough water
It is also important to drink plenty of water a day to prevent stretch marks. It is recommended to drink enough water at least 7 glasses a day, because adequate hydration helps to prevent the skin’s connective tissue, collagen, from being destroyed and cracked.
In addition, it is recommended to avoid wearing clothing that is attached to the body, such as skinny pants or leggings, at the early stage of symptoms, as it can impair the oxygen supply of skin cells and normal metabolic activity, which can worsen the symptoms of stretch marks. In addition, it is important to pay attention to maintaining the proper temperature and humidity indoors as the skin becomes more dry in winter, when cold and dry weather continues, which can make stretch marks worse.