Stretch marks are the lines or marks on the body surface, that are initially red or commonly known as purple stretch marks, but later as they mature, they turn white or off-white.
The common risk factors for the stretch marks are pregnant women, boys, and girls undergoing puberty, people those who undergo hormonal surgery or sudden excess weight loss.
The marks may also appear in cases due to certain auto-immune diseases like Cushing's syndrome, diabetes or post-pregnancy.
Stretch marks can also appear due to abnormal formation of collagen fibers.
The stretch marks on the skin, before turning into a permanent scar is red in color due to the overstretching of skin before its capacity, which leads to the tearing of tissue.
The body then responds by forming scar tissue. The stretch mark then turns white or greyish with silvery lining.
The glucocorticoid hormone present in the human body is responsible for the stretch marks by preventing fibroblasts from forming collagen and elastin fibers.
The appearance of stretch marks differs with skin complexion of the person having it.
People with a fair complexion, pink stretch marks are observed but in dark complexion people, dark stretch marks can be seen.
Why stretch marks occur after sudden weight loss?
Stretch marks sometimes appear, when people rapidly lose weight during their adolescence period. When rapidly excess weight is lost, the body produces hormones that disrupt the collagen production of the skin.
This disruption in collagen production, results in the formation of stretch marks.
Another reason accounted for the formation of stretch marks due to sudden weight loss is said to be caused due to sudden excess overstretching of the skin.
It is also thought that when skin rebounds from weight loss, the stretch marks come more close to each other, which makes it appear as they have increased in number.
The scientific reason after this thing is that the dermis of our body is made up of some interconnected fibers which are strong enough, that they enable the skin to expand during the growth period.
This can be thought as if the belly or chest grow for a short period and then get back to normal with sudden rapid weight loss, these interconnected fibers then get thin, and some not-so-strong fibers may even break due to overstretching.
This rapid overstretching of the skin could cause dermis layer of your skin to discontinuously break at some places, which is the reason for the visibility of deeper layers of the skin, that is the appropriate reason for the formation of stretch marks.
Stretch marks at the beginning are visible as red or pink marks, this is due to the reason that when the interconnected skin fibers break, this allows the deeply inserted blood vessels to be visible, due to which the stretch marks often appear red or pink, and sometimes purplish.
These marks are generally found on belly, chest, upper arm and buttocks, regions where a large number of fats is stored, which then with sudden weight loss get prone to formation of stretch marks.
This can be seen in pregnant women, teenagers and weightlifters, who rapidly undergo a weight loss.
How to Avoid Stretch Marks while Losing Weight?
Simple ways to avoid stretch marks while losing weight include having gradual weight loss, eating healthy, keeping skin moisturized, exercising regularly and remain stress-free.
Here they are explained in more detail -
1. Gradual weight loss
stretch marks appear due to sudden weight loss, but if gradual weight loss occurs.
With the loss in collagen fibers of the dermis, leads to stretch marks showing through the upper layer of the skin.
2. Healthy nutrition
foods that are rich in protein, vitamins like vitamin C and E and zinc in the regular diet can help in avoiding stretch marks, by stimulating collagen production.
A report by American Association Of Dermatology that individuals in their middle age i.e 40’s and 50’s are less prone of developing stretch marks because by middle age the skin of a human begins to lose elasticity and begins to get thin, as the outer and middle layers of skin break down.
3. Keep skin hydrated
keeping skin hydrated, prevents from getting stretch marks.
By drinking plenty of water and using hydration creams help keep skin soft and supple, so that stretch marks are less likely to form.
This is because the dry skin has less elasticity.
4. Using moisturizing creams and lotions
apply moisturizing creams or lotions two times a day, these creams allows vitamin A to get inside the dermal layer, and hence stimulate collagen production.
5. Exercise regularly
little stretching exercises not only tones muscles to tightens them up but also improves circulation and elasticity of the skin, which helps to avoid stretch marks while losing weight.
Some resistance and strength training exercises, helps the body build lean muscle mass while losing weight gradually and helps hold the skin in place.
6. Be stress-free
it is believed that stress can interfere with collagen production, and lead to the formation of stretch marks.
By being stress-free, one can help avoid stress marks while losing weight.
Stretch marks are the marks or lines that are either pink, red but as they mature they turn off-white or grey.
One of the most common reasons for the formation of stretch marks is attributed to the sudden weight loss.
Our skin has a layer called dermis, which has some strong inter-connected fibers in it. With sudden weight loss, these fibers break during overstretching.
But stretch marks can be avoided after weight loss if certain important things are kept in mind.