Stretch marks are thin, silvery lines that streak across the skin that has expanded and then contracted. This usually happens through extreme weight gain or loss, such as what happens to body builders, adolescents who go through rapid growth spurts, and pregnant women. Hormonal changes can also trigger or worsen stretch marks, and research shows that long-term, regular use of steroids and conditions like Cushing’s syndrome can be a factor.
Stretch marks are actually scar tissue. When the skin stretches, the fibers tear. It is almost impossible to get rid of this completely, despite any claims of products to “erase” the effects. What they can do is to lighten them so they are nearly invisible to the naked eye (or at least, not as obvious as they used to be). That’s, at least, comfort to the people who suffer from stretch marks: they may never disappear, but they don’t have to be as ugly as they are now.
One way of lightening stretch marks is to exfoliate. Exfoliation sloughs off the outer layers, revealing newer, softer and fresher skin. There are many skin products that can help, from bath scrubs to home remedies like oatmeal or baking soda. It is crucial to moisturize after exfoliation, since the skin will feel a little raw. Skin peels and laser treatments can help with very dark, large stretch marks.
Some people are more prone to stretch marks because of genetics. However, it is possible to minimize the appearance of stretch marks through regular use of moisturizers and creams with Vitamin D and other skin-nourishing nutrients. Pregnant women should resist scratching their bellies.