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Stubborn stretch marks: Golden rules for successful prevention

22 OCTOBER 2012

Pink or red streaks that appear on your stomach, legs, breasts, arms or buttocks – we all dread finding new, unsightly stretch marks.

But are we fully informed about these undesirable markings and how best to prevent them?

Stretch marks are flat scars resulting from rapid changes in the skin, alterations caused by certain medicines or hormonal changes in the body.

 

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Pregnant women, patients treated with corticoids, adolescents and people who have undergone drastic weight loss or gain are all prone to developing them.

HELLO! Online fills you in on all you need to know about stretch marks, as well as the best tricks and treatments to help reduce them.

What colour are the scars?

The colour is an indication of its developmental stage. Red or pink marks are fairly new and will therefore be easier to treat. White streaks are older and more difficult to tone down.

Where do they appear?

Stretch marks can show up anywhere; it all depends on the cause. Pregnant women tend to show signs on their breasts, tummy and hips. In people who have undergone drastic weight gain or loss, the problem spots are usually found on the tummy, legs, hips and arms.

Can you get rid of stretch marks?

Stretch marks are scars, so it is impossible to remove them completely. However, if you treat them early on in their developmental stage while still pink or red, the results can be positive.

Prevention is the best policy

As stretch marks are so difficult to get rid of, prevention is the best policy – and the earlier, the better. Start taking measures at puberty for maximum protection against these unwanted streaks.

There are six golden rules for successful prevention:

1. Hydrate your skin daily with deep moisturising creams, using soft circular motions. Lotions that contain rosehip or wheat germ oil prove to be quite effective in repairing damaged skin.

2. Women should always use bras with plenty of support, especially when exercising.

3. Eat a healthy and balanced diet.

4. Avoid sudden changes in weight. If on a diet, seek advice from a food and nutrition specialist.

5. Drink lots of water. This hydrates your skin and improves its elasticity.

6. Participate in regular, controlled exercise.

What if they have already appeared?

If you already have stubborn stretch marks, don't despair! There are medical treatments available that can visibly reduce their appearance.

Medium peels exfoliate the skin by abrasion and offer effective results. Mesotherapy aims to moisturise the skin and accelerate its renewal capacity. IPL, short for Intense Pulsed Light treatment, is a third option.

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