Women have always been plagued by unattractive stretch marks. With the hormonal and weight changes throughout a lifetime, in addition to the stress on the skin during pregnancy, stretch marks have been a fact of life for almost every woman at some stage.

What Are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks appear as lines in the skin that are initially red or purple, fading over time to a pale pink or a silvery color. They can show up anywhere, but are much more likely to be seen in areas where there are more fat deposits such as the stomach, underarms, thighs, hips, buttocks, and breasts. Stretch marks do not post health risks of any kind; they cause annoyance more than anything else.

What Causes Stretch Marks?

There are a number of potential causes of stretch marks. Pregnancy is the most common cause due to the necessary skin stretching during the gestational period. Stretch marks are common during any period of significant weight gain or loss, such as during the teenage years of random growth spurts. Genetics also play a significant role; a daughter is likely to have stretch marks if her mother had them for example. Another less likely cause is intense weight lifting.

How Are Stretch Marks Prevented?

For women, it is virtually impossible to prevent stretch marks from appearing unless there is no genetic predisposition. Those that are not so lucky should attempt to prevent sudden weight gain or weight loss. Anyone looking to lose weight should strive for the healthy goal of losing no more than 1-2 pounds per week. Losing more than this is not only unhealthy; it can also result in stretch marks. Teenagers or pregnant women can utilize moisturizing stretch mark creams for prevention; it should be applied up to four times per day. Thoroughly moisturized skin is more elastic, allowing for skin to stretch slightly without causing stretch marks.

How Are Stretch Marks Removed?

Treatment of stretch marks is most effective when they first appear as red or purple lines. There are a number of creams and lotions available on the market, most of which claim to be “miracle” products. Though some products are little more than typical lotions, others contain ingredients based on scientific research. Some of these valuable ingredients include Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid, Wheat Germ Oil, Retinoids and Relastin. For more information on the best stretch mark creams on the market, check out the home page here at stretchmarkscare.com.

Another treatment option for stretch marks is laser treatment. This treatment is especially popular with dermatologists as it can treat stretch marks at any phase of development. Though this stretch mark treatment is considered to be more effective than creams or lotions, dermatologists expect an appearance improvement of only 30%. Laser treatment is generally not covered by health insurance and can run anywhere from $450 to $1000 per session with a general minimum of three sessions. Regardless of the cause of your stretch marks, over-the-counter stretch mark creams and lotions are the most cost-effective treatment to reduce their appearance. Since some products work better for some people than others, feel free to try different products until you find the one perfect for you.