‘Gravid Striae’ – What Are Stretch Marks?
Those often referred to as unsightly stretch marks appear primarily in two marked periods (no pun intended), in adolescence and during pregnancy. In recent studies it highlights that more than 50% of women attach a huge importance in regards to the appearance of stretch marks, saying that they negatively impact on them, affecting their quality of life.
Stretch marks or ‘gravid striae’ are caused when the dermis tears. Skin stretched through any rapid growth or changes in body weight produces tearing. Stretch marks are a usual consequence of pregnancy and the hormonal changes maternity brings. But they can also be attributed to puberty, bodybuilding and those on replacement therapy, all of which are hormone related. Like many things, and particularly relating to skincare, prevention is key to maintaining your skin in optimal condition.
People gain stretch marks over the years for different reasons. Stretch marks over time change their colour, from red/purple initially to eventually white/silvery in colour. The opportunity to reduce or rid yourself of white stretch marks becomes lessened with prolonged time without treatment. Therefore, in the fight against stretch marks it is imperative the early treatment, or preferably the prevention approach, as red stretch marks are treatable and can be removed.
Why Do Stretch Marks Appear In Pregnancy?
When we look at pregnancy, 60-90% of all pregnant women will be affected by the appearance of stretch marks ‘gravid striae’. The reason for the appearance of stretch marks is fundamentally due to the breaking of the collagen fibrils that are integral to the support system within our skin. As the skin expands, without the vital elastic support it tears and the appearance of stretch marks are visible. Once they have appeared stretch marks are often difficult to diminish, especially if not treated and have turned white/silvery.
Generally the most prevalent places that stretch marks appear on women are the buttocks, thighs, hips and breasts. However, as we all know, during pregnancy the tummy can really suffer the stretch mark curse too, especially if it is not taken care of with the right type of treatment.
Can You Prevent Stretch Marks In Pregnancy?
During pregnancy it is quite common to hear people say that the best way as an effective treatment against stretch marks, especially on the expanding tummy, is to use an emollient, which are products like butters, oils etc. However, if we consider that the stretch mark (a visible tearing of the skin) is actually a consequence due to the breaking of the elastic fibres of the skin, then it would only be fair to say that the use of such emollient products are not going to be sufficient to treat the cause of the stretch mark. They tend to work at an epidermis level giving much needed hydration and suppleness to the skin, but the actual cause of the tear, the breaking of the elastic fibres, is not tackled.
The correct treatment would therefore have to be products and treatments that provide a genuine increase in the collagen production and fibroblastic activity, an increase in elasticity and blood perfusion, an improvement in cell proliferation, as well as the needed increase in skin hydration and anti‐inflammatory properties. This would be seen as an effective treatment against the primary cause of the stretch mark and its subsequent matrix within the skin. By treating the root-cause, the skin can then be reinforced at the dermis level to help support the skin at the ever-expanding epidermis level far more effectively, thus drastically helping to reduce the skin from tearing, shown as stretch marks.
There are studies and scientific papers that have been written on this subject that completely support these ideas. They show that by using ‘specific products’ during pregnancy, products with the necessary active ingredients to increase the fibroblast activity and collagen production reducing the cause, this clearly helps to treat stretch marks, prevents their appearance and can help to diminish those that have already been formed. “The use of non-specific products is insufficient to prevent the appearance of gravid striae: Evaluation of the impact on the quality of life after the use of anti-stretch marks during pregnancy.”
What Are Your Skincare Options During Pregnancy?
We believe that the best option for you during your pregnancy is to use products that have been specifically developed with active ingredients, in sufficient concentrations, to have a noticeable effect on the cause of the stretch mark, in order to treat and protect the skin, thus avoiding them. It is also very important to review the brand and the contents of the products in order to satisfy yourself that the brand doesn’t use ingredients and/or elements that are considered harmful, especially when you are going through one of the most delicate stages of life, pregnancy.
ME AND ME, a luxury skincare manufacturer, have dedicated themselves to produce anti-stretch mark cosmetic products that do far more than just moisturise the skin. A range of highly-effective, specifically developed pregnancy products and treatments with the exacting needs of both mothers-to-be and recent mothers in mind. Products that address the very root-cause of stretch marks, not only the consequence, the stretch mark, whilst giving the best care and protection to the skin. All ME AND ME products carry the warranty seal of ACENE/NAT (Spanish Association of Ecological and Natural Cosmetics).
With products like ME AND ME ANTI-STRETCH MARKS FIRMING CREAM and ME AND ME BREAST FIRMING BALM FOR STRETCH MARKS both of which tackle the direct cause of stretch marks by activating fibroblast activity and increasing collagen production to improve the skin’s natural support structure, in order to prevent the signs of stretch marks. At the same time these products hydrate, nourish and protect the skin leaving it, healthier, softer, firmer and far more radiant, and most importantly without stretch marks. Utilising the very latest in innovative neurocosmetic technics they also reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress producing hormone, to greatly improve the overall wellbeing of mother and baby. So… as you can see, it’s clearly not sufficient to simply hydrate the expanding skin to gain skin suppleness in the hope of not seeing those unsightly stretch marks.
It has to be mentioned that with some people there are certain risk factors that cannot be avoided when dealing with the onset of stretch marks, such as the genetic or hormonal conditions specific to the individual. But, if you take care of the factors that do depend on you, like your daily care; including diet, exercise and your skincare regime, this can be a really effective approach in striking a healthy balance during pregnancy and the fight against stretch marks. The true success of any cosmetic products lies in their preventive action and the constancy in their use.
We hope that it is much clearer now, in that a truly viable solution in order to prevent stretch marks is really in your hands (again, no pun intended). Moisturising the skins surface is really not sufficient in the effective fight against stretch marks. It’s important to make sure that you choose carefully the right products with which you feel will best treat, nourish and protect your skin during your pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding, in order to prevent the appearance of those very unwanted stretch marks. A topic that clearly has such a profound effect on a woman and how she then perceives her quality of life thereafter.