Another Upper Bod Wednesday today. It’s probably a good thing my abs are getting a bit of a break today, because the past few days have really worked them hard. It’s so helpful that these workouts are split up into several different videos every day because it makes it seem like it goes by so quickly. Doing Blogilates is the quickest hour of my entire day! How about those Awesomesauce Arms?!
Yesterday I had a question about one particular issue that so many people deal with in their weight gain/weight loss process. I am so very lucky that this is something I have not had to deal with, but I know that there are so many people out there who aren’t as fortunate and have dealt with or are dealing with stretch marks. I wanted to help, so I did my research…
Stretch marks (or “striae”) is a form of scarring on the skin as a result of ripping or tearing, usually after rapid weight gain (Hussain, 2012). There are 3 basic ways to treat stretch marks: creams, medical treatments, and laser therapy.
Creams: There are several creams and oils available to treat stretch marks. These can include (but are not limited to) cocoa butter, Vitamin E oil, Mederma, Strivectin, and Trilastin. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, about 90% of stretch-mark sufferers have attempted treatment by applying creams and oils, but this method has the least overall improvement rate at only 9% (Hussain, 2012).
One study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science looked at the effectiveness of a particular product advertised to provide various benefits for stretch marks – a cream containing hydroxyprolisilane-C, rosehip oil, Centella asiatica triterpenes and vitamin E (Garcia-Hernandez, Gonzalez, Castillo, & Falcon, 2013). The study did not provide a brand or name for this “specific product” so it seems there could be some challenge just finding it. This study reports:
“The use of the anti-stretch mark product is proved to be effective in reducing severity of the striae during pregnancy, prevents the appearance of new striae and halts progression of those already present. In women who had no striae at baseline, use of the anti-stretch mark cream was more effective than placebo in preventing new stretch marks” (Garcia-Hernandez et. al., 2013, p. 233).
Medical Treatments: A slightly more effective method for treating stretch marks is the use of medical treatments with a 21% improvement rate (Hussain, 2012). These treatments include things like microderm abrasion, chemical peels, and retinoids (such as prescriptions containing Retin-A and glycolic acid) (Hussain, 2012).
Laser Therapy: According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the most effective treatment of stretch marks, at 42% rate of effectiveness, is the use of laser therapy (Hussain, 2012). During a laser therapy procedure, thin layers of skin are removed so that the natural healing process can take over and form new layers of healthy skin. This method reportedly has minimal side-effects, is not a very painful procedure by most accounts, and other than possibly a few days of redness and swelling, there is no down-time involved. It can be costly, and on average, treatments can run anywhere from $200 to thousands of dollars.
Whatever method you choose to treat stretch marks, you should always consult your physician to make sure the treatment is safe for you to use. I hope this helps, and perhaps those who have experience can let others know what has or hasn’t worked for them in the comments below.
Garcia-Hernandez, J. A., Gonzalez, D. M., Castillo, M. P., & Falcon, T. F. (2013). Use of a Specific Anti-Stretch Mark Cream for Preventing or Reducing the Severity of Striae Gravidarum. Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Trial. International Journal of Cosmetic Science; 35(3), 233-237.
Hussain, H. A. (2012). Stretch Marks and Treatment Efficacies. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology; 66(4), AB29.