Part I: What are striae and how to prevent them
Stretch marks (aka striae; one stria, multiple striae) can be one of the hardest scars to treat; they commonly develop during pregnancy or adolescence as they appear after the skin has undergone rapid growth spurts or stretching. Anyone is susceptible to developing and genetics has a large role to play in their development; although our skin is naturally moderately elastic, it is often negatively affected by sudden body changes.
Often our body will be undergoing a varying degree of stress which will affect our hormones by causing spikes in cortisone levels, which will, in return, affect the elastic fibers (such as collagen and elastin) found in our skin; those elastic fibres are responsible for giving our connective tissue its strength and flexibility. This degree of stress on the skin leads to the development of long narrow grooved stripes called striae (now it is time to brush up on your Latin…): striae gravidarum (of pregnancy), striae atrophicans or striae distensae, otherwise known as stretch marks.
Even though they do not cause any physical danger, the striae are often a cosmetic concern, a cause of self-esteem issues and of day to day anxiety.
Strae can appear in various parts of the body such as the breasts, abdomen, buttocks, thighs, flanks, hips, upper arms. They can have a purple, red, pink or reddish-brown color depending on the skin type. Although they can fade over time to a silvery white and slightly flatten, they can still be bothersome to the person bearing them.
One of the best solutions is to prevent them in the first place, which is hard to do but worth the try.
Here are a few tips that can be very effective.
- Avoid yo-yo dieting
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet
- Keep your body hydrated with 8 glasses of water per day
- Keep your skin hydrated daily with a deep hydrating cream such as: Emulsion Originelle Régénérante Corps by Biologique Recherche, this light emulsion will cover your body with a protective, replenishing cocoon by hydrating and boosting the protective barrier of the skin, rich in vitamins, minerals and lipids to help maintain the skin’s smoothness, softness and radiance.
- Boost the skin with an intensive reparative treatment for 3 weeks every season change. A great one to try is Biologique Recherche Crème Réparatrice; this cream tones and protects the epidermis while firming and tightening the skin, delivering an array of active ingredients to preserve and strengthen the elasticity of the skin.
- If you are pregnant, you must start on this preventative and protective cream from Biologique Recherche Crème R-Stria. This is a treatment to prevent and alleviate red stretch marks by decreasing inflammation and by reconstructing the dermal fibers, while also soothing and alleviating the itchiness associated with the stretching of the skin. It is also great to prevent the formation of atrophic scars.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, E, C & K and Zinc.
On Part II of this Blog, I will discuss how to treat them at the clinic with laser, chemical peel treatments and at what you can do at home with medical grade homecare products.
Gabriela Madrid, Senior Medical Aesthetician at VISAGE Clinic and MedSpa