The skin covers the whole of our body. It follows the shape of
our muscles and bones, and contours itself to the tissues underneath
it. Although a bit elastic, it’s not that expandable to severe
changes in the contour of our body, like during pregnancy, during
obesity or when doing intense bodybuilding.
The skin is made up of multiple layers of epithelial tissues and
collagen. Collagen keeps the form of the skin intact. Continuous
stretching of the skin over an expanding tissue, like a muscle,
underneath it causes the skin to lose elasticity and this causes
the connective fibers in the skin to break. When changes with the
contour of the body happens, they cause a disturbance on the production
of collagen, and in turn results to scarring of the tissue. This
scar, observed as a silvery white hue, is what we call stretch marks.
They are so called stretch marks since they appear after an expanding
of the skin to accommodate the increase in size of a body.
Stretch marks, although not harmful in itself, causes emotional
disturbances with people who have them. Some people with stretch
marks become conscious of their bodies that they tend to hide their
bodies from other people, and feel insecure about it. Confidence
is severely affected, and this sometimes causes other emotional
disturbances too. Stretch marks first appear as red or purple lines
on the skin, especially on places where there is more body fat stored,
like the abdomen, underneath the belly button, the breasts, upper
arms, inner and outer thighs, hips, buttocks, and sometimes underarms.
These lines generally fade to white and may become unnoticeable
after some time when the body returns to its normal shape.
The best treatment for stretch marks is, of course, prevention.
We have to be careful of our skin. When we expand in size, like
during bodybuilding, obesity, or pregnancy, we have to make sure
that we keep our skin emulsified, and give it increased elasticity,
and counter the formation of stretch marks. The best known prevention
of stretch marks is by applying lotions or stretch mark creams over
the prone areas to give it some elasticity and flexibility as our
body contour changes. Treatment for stretch marks that are already
present, may be a form a surgery, since lotions, can only help fade
the appearance of it, and not cure it at all.