Weight Loss Stretch Marks: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Weight Loss Stretch Marks
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are known as striae in medical terms. They commonly appear as pinkish, reddish or purplish linear streaks at first, then gradually lighten up in colors white, brown and silvery-gray in time. They are often found in body parts where adipose tissue deposits are the highest such as abdomen, chest, upper arms, thighs and hips.

To understand stretch marks, you need to know the background of the human skin. The skin is made up of three layers: epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. Epidermis is the topmost layer, and its main job is to keep the body away from harm. This is the thinnest layer of the skin. The next layer is called dermis, and this is where it keeps the collagen, elastic fibers, blood vessels, hair follicles, nerve endings and oil glands intact and functioning. Hypodermis is found at the most bottom section of the skin and it is composed of adipose tissues. Collagen is the one responsible for maintaining the elasticity of the skin. The supportive dermal tissues also contributed to our skin’s elasticity. The blood vessels in the dermis are the responsible for transporting oxygenated blood to the skin. All these are found in the dermis.

There are two main reasons for the appearance of stretch marks. One, when collagen production has diminished* just like in the case of endocrine-related medical conditions and excessive use of steroid creams. This result to poor elasticity of the skin. Two, when the skin is overstretched like in the case of pregnancy, growth spurt in puberty and muscle building.

The Reason Why Weight Gain Can Cause Stretch Marks

People often find that after they gain or lose* weight stretch marks infest certain parts of their bodies. Many think that weight loss* or gain will decrease* the visibility of their stretch marks. Thing is weight loss* will only bring generate new stretch marks on additional to their old ones.

When you gain weight, your skin stretches to accommodate your growing body parts. When your skin expands, there is a huge probability that the collagen, elastic fibers and blood vessels in your dermis will be damaged and they will undergo the process the inflammation. This explains the initial scar-like appearance of stretch marks.

Weight Loss and Stretch Marks

Weight loss* can lead you to gain stretch marks, too. The case here is not the loose skin, although that is another by-product of lost elasticity. When you lose* weight, especially at a rapid pace, you are not giving your skin enough time to go back in shape and tighten up. As you age, collagen production naturally declines. This is worsened if you losing more than 2 lbs. of weight every week. This is because your body synthesizes a hormone that breaks off the production of collagen. Less* collagen plus the result of the overstretch skin from your previous weight increases* your vulnerability of getting stretch marks. The loose skin worsens your stretch marks as it makes them even more pronounced, so it looks like you have more.

How To Prevent It?

You are helping yourself best if you lose* or gain weight in a steady manner. When you finally achieved your desired weight, keep it that way. When you maintain on a healthy weight, you are doing your body a favor by staying away from possible diseases and stretch marks. Even during the puberty years, stretch marks can be prevented if your weight stays within the normal range. Remember to start living a healthy lifestyle as early as you can get. Following the food pyramid and drinking lots of water to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. The technology today has made it as far as generating collagen powders sold in sachets. Drinking a collagen-based drink will help increase*

Nourishing your skin outside is as important as the inside, so apply a dollop of rich lotions on a daily basis. This is to replenish lost moisture and adds nourishment to your skin, especially on the epidermis part. When your skin is well moisturized, it can be quite resistant to skin stretching.

Summary

Stretch marks are pinkish, reddish or purplish streaks commonly found on the abdomen, thigh, hips, breasts and area near the armpit. The reasons for their appearance are associated with two phenomena:

  • Damaged collagen, connective tissue and blood vessels in the dermis when skin is stretched more than its normal limit
  • Decreased* production of collagen during certain medical illnesses and steroid topical cream overuse

Weight gain and loss can still lead to stretch marks, especially if the shift of weight is done in a hurried manner. Losing and gaining more than 2 lbs each week will leave stretch marks and loose skin, hence amplifying the problem. Give time for your skin to adjust to the new size; therefore weight changes must be done in a healthy, steady way. Maintaining a normal weight and keeping your skin hydrated prevents you from getting unsightly stretch marks.

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Author

Expert Author : Kelly Everson (Consumer Health Digest)

Kelly Everson is an independent editor, an award-winning writer and an editorial consultant in the health and fitness industries. Currently, she is a contributing editor at Consumer Health Digest.