Stretch marks are technically a form of scar tissue. They are exactly what they say they are - the result of the skin stretching too quickly.
When the skin expands faster than it can keep up with, there is initially an inflammatory response followed by a healing phase. The initial stage of a stretch mark are noted to have redness and inflammation. After the skin begins to heal, these marks settle into lighter or hypopigmented linear scars.
There are several common scenarios to see stretch marks develop.
Pregnancy is a time that stretch marks on on women’s minds however it is very common to see these develop under other scenarios.
Puberty can lead to a characteristic pattern of stretch marks in both boys and girls. There are often lower back stretch marks as a result of growth spurts in particular.
Exercise and gaining muscle mass at a rapid rate can often lead to stretch marks in those susceptible to them located over the biceps, deltoids and thighs.
And, taking long term steroids can thin the skin and trigger the development of stretch marks as well.
Most products that are used for stretch marks work by lessening the appearance of stretch marks. The tissue paper like wrinkling or crepey skin that overlies stretch marks makes them appear more pronounced. Many products work to hydrate the overlying skin to improve its turgor reducing their overall appearance. There are technically no products that can cure stretch marks simply because they are a form of scar tissue.
Here are some common products people use for stretch marks to improve their look:
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter:
This is a common go-to product given its affordability and ease of use. By keeping the skin well moisturized as it expands the hope is to reduce the inflammatory response to rapid stretching and hopefully reducing the scar tissue that follows. Probably best used before they develop. Once the stretch marks have already developed they are on their way to form scar tissue.
This is a multiuse/multipurpose skin oil that applies easily and rubs in quickly. It can soothe the itching and skin sensitivities that occur when stretch marks are forming.
Burts Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter
This product both moisturizes and feels like an added barrier on the skin. It makes the feel of clothes rubbing against the skin far less sensitive.