In addition to cellulite , among the most combated skin imperfections, stretch marks certainly play a leading role: despite being an almost completely female condition, even men can find stretch marks on the skin . In particular, this aesthetic disorder refers to linear, atrophic and circumscribed alterations on the skin, which mainly affect the hips, breasts and stomach.
Stretch marks are the most immediate consequence of a literal ” stretching ” of the skin, which can in turn be caused by several factors:
- hormonal alteration (in pregnancy, for example, there is a rapid change in weight and body size, which leads to the breakdown of collagen fibers, therefore to stretch marks)
- rapid weight gain or weight loss
- sport: in weight lifting the skin is subjected to heavy efforts: increasing, the muscle mass “stretches” the skin, creating stretch marks
- diseases of the adrenal glands
- immoderate use of corticosteroids (topical application or systemic intake)
- Cushing’s syndrome
Stretch marks are a purely aesthetic disorder, which does not involve any symptoms of pain: initially linear or jagged streaks, colored red or purple, are noticed on the skin; subsequently, the lines become white or grayish.
The information on Stretch Marks – Medicines for the Treatment of Stretch Marks is not intended to replace the direct relationship between health professional and patient. Always consult your doctor and/or specialist before taking Stretch Marks – Medicines for the Treatment of Stretch Marks.
As with many skin disorders and pathologies, prevention of stretch marks is the best cure: in fact, these unsightly skin streaks are difficult to resolve. However, in the mildest cases, stretch marks tend to regress spontaneously, without the need for care or treatment.
There is no therapy universally recognized as effective for the definitive healing of stretch marks; in any case, there are numerous treatments, pharmacological and not, aimed at alleviating the disorder or covering the problem, at least in part.
Among the non-pharmacological alternative techniques, the following are mentioned:
- Microdermabrasion (deep peeling): the stretch mark is subjected to forced exfoliation using a rapid jet of aluminum microcrystals. Useful for stimulating the regeneration of the skin affecting the stretch mark.
- Repigmentation (indicated for long-standing stretch marks): consists in the stimulation of the physiological synthesis of melanin . The technique aims to mask the stretch mark
- Laser therapy: stimulates the synthesis of collagen and elastin fibers through a beam of pulsed light directed directly towards the stretch mark
- Fractional photothermolysis: cell synthesis is stimulated, thus promoting the production of collagen and elastin
The application of creams or ointments directly on the area affected by stretch marks is often useful to lighten the discomfort; moreover, in pregnant women, it is advisable to always apply this type of product, from the first months of gestation, to make the skin more elastic and prevent the formation of stretch marks, a very probable phenomenon in the last months of pregnancy.
Below are the classes of drugs most used in therapy against stretch marks, and some examples of pharmacological specialties; it is up to the doctor to choose the most suitable active ingredient and dosage for the patient, based on the severity of the disease, the patient’s state of health and his response to treatment:
- Retinoic acid or tretinoin (eg Retin-A , Vesanoid ) : it is an acidic derivative of vitamin A , indicated for the treatment of reddish-purple-looking stretch marks (recent stretch marks, which appeared no more than 6 weeks ago). The drug is helpful in rebuilding damaged collagen fibers in stretch marks. Do not take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding : the drug is teratogenic , even long after the end of the treatment. Do not use for light stretch marks: the application of the cream would be useless for healing. The drug is also widely used for the treatment of acne .
- Glycolic acid: it is one of the alpha-hydroxy acids indicated for the treatment of stretch marks . This substance is used in therapy for its known exfoliating and antioxidant properties : it is no coincidence that products formulated with glycolic acid are indicated for peelings and scrubs . Furthermore, it is observed that glycolic acid is also indicated to stimulate the synthesis of collagen fibers, which, as we know, are damaged in stretch marks. Many anti-stretch mark creams are formulated with this substance.
“Natural” medicines against stretch marks
We have seen that stretch marks can be prevented by regularly applying specific creams to the skin with an elasticizing and microcirculation stimulating effect:
- Echinacea ( Echinacea purpurea , Echinacea pallida and Echinacea angustifolia ): the phytocomplex, rich in phenylpropanoid glycosides (echinacoside), cinnamic acid and glycosylates, protects hyaluronic acid from degradation.
- Horsetail ( Equisetum arvense ): horsetail is also characterized by its therapeutic abrasive properties: for this reason, it is used for peeling, useful for removing the superficial cells of the epidermis. By doing so, the elasticity of the skin is enhanced, preventing stretch marks.
- Sweet almond oil , shea butter : these products are indicated for elasticising the skin, stimulating the synthesis of fibroblasts. The regular application of creams on the belly, from the first months of pregnancy, is recommended for the prevention of stretch marks.
- Sea buckthorn ( Hippophae rhamnoides ): the application of creams or wraps formulated with sea buckthorn is indicated in the prevention of stretch marks due to its capillarotropic , microcirculation stimulating and antiperoxidative properties.
- Horse chestnut ( Aesculus hippocastanum ): the marker of the drug is escin , a saponin with marked microcirculation stimulating properties: a cream formulated with this active ingredient is indicated to increase capillary resistance and decrease permeability, useful elements for the prevention of stretch marks.