Many people develop stretch marks in their lifetime. Generally, women experience stretch marks more than men. While developing stretch marks is very common, many people want to know how to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, and how to prevent them. With Bio-Oil Skincare Oil, you can help improve the appearance of existing stretch marks and help reduce the possibility of stretch marks forming by keeping skin supple and moist.
What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks – or striae – are the fine lines that appear from overstretched skin. Red or new stretch marks are known as striae rubra, while white or old stretch marks are referred to as striae alba.
Initially, stretch marks can appear pink, brown, black, silver, red or purple. These slightly swollen lines or streaks occur perpendicular to the direction of the skin’s expansion — as they age, they become white and less conspicuous.
Stretch marks are most commonly seen on the stomach, chest, upper arms, legs, bottom, hips or the back.
What causes stretch marks?
You develop stretch marks when the dermis—the middle layer of skin—is stretched, weakened and broken in certain spots.
Stretch marks are caused by the skin tearing or being overstretched due to the rapid expansion of the tissues underneath. This can be caused by:
- An inflammatory reaction starts to occur as blood vessels increase, forming the characteristic red or purple colour
- White or flesh-coloured tissue is formed with the normal skin structure being replaced by dense non-elastic collagen fibres
Who gets stretch marks?
Stretch marks are common and are estimated to affect 70% of the population. They develop on parts of the body where the skin has been overstretched.
Stretch marks often develop after a period of rapid weight gain or loss, or sudden growth spurts, including:
- Pregnancy – usually on the breasts and tummy (abdomen)
- Adolescent growth spurts – generally on the thighs, buttocks and breasts
- Body building – when there is rapid muscle growth (often around the shoulders)
Stretch marks can also appear after prolonged use of certain medications (such as corticosteroids) and as a result of certain health conditions (such as Cushing’s syndrome, Marfan’s syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Whether or not you develop stretch marks will depend on your skin’s elasticity; some people naturally have more elastic skin types. If you have a family member with stretch marks, you are also more susceptible to developing them.
Pregnancy and Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are common in pregnancy – in fact, around 8 in 10 pregnant women experience stretch marks. They usually appear on your tummy as your baby starts to grow and the size of your bump increases — you may first start to notice an itchiness around the areas of skin that are being stretched thinner. Stretch marks can also sometimes appear on your thighs or breasts as the pregnancy progresses.
Skin elasticity, hormonal changes and weight gain during pregnancy are some of the factors that can influence whether or not you are likely to get stretch marks. At what point during a pregnancy stretch marks start to appear will also vary from woman-to-woman, but it is most often seen in the third trimester.
Stretch marks will not harm you or your baby, and there is no single treatment to remove stretch marks completely. Once you’ve given birth, the stretch marks might gradually turn into less noticeable scars, but permanent stretch mark removal is unlikely to happen.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks
While it’s not always possible to prevent stretch marks, you can reduce your chances of getting them by maintaining a healthy weight.
How to Treat Stretch Marks
When it comes to improving the appearance of stretch marks, you may see greater results with early stretch marks than older stretch marks. Since stretch marks are a cosmetic skin issue, it’s your decision on whether you try to reduce their appearance.
Does Bio-Oil Skincare Oil Help With Stretch Marks?
While stretch marks are permanent, Bio-Oil Skincare Oil is formulated to help improve their appearance.
A product — such as Bio-Oil Skincare Oil — specifically formulated to help keep the skin supple and moist may help reduce the possibility of stretch marks forming.
Bio-Oil Skincare Oil should be massaged in a circular motion on the stretch marks until fully absorbed (avoiding broken skin), twice daily, for a minimum of 3 months. Results will vary from individual to individual.