Health & Fitness
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Stretch Marks Removal-How to Remove Stretch Marks

Every woman aware of her body knows what stretch marks are, or at least she should. It is those almost-purple, sometimes furrowed lines on the skin that appear after pregnancy, obesity or during rapid growth as in puberty. Even bodybuilders can have stretch marks. It is caused by the dermis tearing when over-stretched, developing scar tissue to compensate.  The visible scar tissues are what we see as stretch marks. They normally appear in the abdomen, hips, lower back, thighs, breasts and upper arms.

The body’s skin consists of three layers: the epidermis or top layer, that part that does not hurt even when pricked or cut; the dermis or true skin where the hair follicles, venal capillaries and nerves end, and the subcutaneous layer, the fatty tissue next to the muscle itself. The skin contains collagen and elastin, two proteins that enable the stretch and contract, yet retain its shape, at least almost all the time. When it is overstretched and tears, the skin produces scar cells to repair the torn portion. As the skin gets back to normal dimensions, the scar appears as stretch marks.

Being unsightly, most women want to remove the marks, and resort to many methods to do it. Among these methods are: surgical excision of the tissues, creams and moisturizers, bathing with lukewarm water, massaging them with certain oils and so on. Perhaps explaining a few methods would help.

Creams, oils and moisturizers

Many of these ‘miracle oils’ may be purchased ‘over the counter’ of drugstores. Containing mainly Vitamin E oil, jojoba oil, shea butter and cocoa butter, the creams are massaged over the area at least twice a day for certain periods of time depending on the particular brand. Most are touted to be successful, but actually what they do is moisturize the skin surface and make the marks less obvious. They do not repair the skin to its original form once the damage has occurred. But they do make the skin more supple and appealing.

Diet and exercise

As with almost every problem about the body, diet and exercise will help tremendously. Drinking plenty of water to rehydrate is the first step. Foods heavy in zinc like nuts and fish; in Vitamins C, E and A such as citrus, milk and carrots, and those rich in protein as meat and poultry will help rejuvenate the skin.  Exercise renews the skin tone. Avoid coffee and other diuretics because they tend to dry out the skin.

Cosmetic surgery

Some people who can afford it, prefer dermabrasion as remedy. Dermabrasion is performed by a cosmetic surgeon who freezes the skin, then ‘sands’ it using a high-speed abrading wheel that peel off the skin’s outer layer. The replacing skin should look less blemished afterwards.  Another process is chemical peeling. Also called chemexfoliation, here a solution is applied to the skin causing it to blister and peel off later much like scalding. Again the regenerated skin should appear less wrinkled or smoother. However, both procedures are expensive and fraught with risks, so only those who can afford them –and probable subsequent treatments— go for them.

The third method is laser surgery. While it may sound serious, laser surgery nowadays has been simplified by technology. In this method, an extremely concentrated ray of light traces the marks to remove very thin layers of skin, including the scar tissue itself. The laser-burned skin heals almost immediately, closing over the gap left by the scar tissue. The new skin would look much better than the scars. Though the procedure is easy and simple, several sessions are required, and some risks are also involved.

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