Contrary to a popular belief, the formation of stretch marks is not only associated with the excessive stretching of skin. Stretch marks, also known as striae distensae, largely result from the increase in the level of cortisol in blood, a hormone which is secreted by adrenal glands. The quantity of cortisol increases during the period of pregnancy, adolescence as well as because of obesity or weight gain.
During pregnancy, the increase in the level of estrogens also contributes, to some extent, to an increased possibility of stretch marks formation. Considering the fact that hormonal pills also have the impact on female sex hormones, there is a chance that those pills may be one of the factors conducive to stretch marks appearance.
The formation of stretch marks is also influenced by a regular use of steroids during a longer period of time because they play a part in making epidermis thinner, blocking collagen synthesis in dermis and degrading currently existing collagen fibres, among other things.
As you will learn in a moment, a formation of stretch marks is connected with an incorrect synthesis of collagen in skin.
An improper and poor in nutrients (vitamins, microelements and dietary minerals) diet is also named as one of the factors contributing to the formation of stretch marks. What is more, the insufficient quantity of zinc is particularly of great importance. Therefore, women who are frequently on low-calorie diets are prone to stretch marks.
Finally, genetic tendencies appear to be another significant factor on which you have no influence whatsoever. By reason of this, there is a chance that if stretch marks formed on the body of a mother during her pregnancy, they may (but they do not have to) appear on the body of her daughter.
How are stretch marks formed?
Stretch marks are formed on the level of dermis, whereas their formation is associated with the impairment of fibroblasts, namely cells responsible for the production of collagen fibres and elastines. Collagen and elastine are albumen of a fibril structure and both of them create the arranged network, hence providing the skin with flexibility, firmness, springiness and proper tension. A properly built collagen fibre is distinguished by its remarkable resilience to stretching. You have to apply the load of at least 10 kilograms in order to break a collagen fibre of a 1mm diameter (1).
Fibroblasts which are impaired, for instance due to the increased level of cortisol in blood, start producing modified fibres of collagen and elastine which become more fragile and less prone to stretching. When the skin is excessively stretched, for example during pregnancy, this regular network is broken due to the fragility of fibres, which results in the appearance of stretch marks. Given that epidermis is made thinner at the same time, stretch marks become more visible.
Stretch marks may be described as spindle-like streaks which are usually to be found in such parts as buttocks, abdomen, thighs and breasts. The formation of stretch marks can be divided into two phases.
In phase I, also known as the inflammatory stage, stretch marks have the form of red streaks (striae rubra). At this particular phase, you still have a great chance to rid of them.
In phase II, also known as the vanishing stage, stretch marks are seemingly being regenerated. Red streaks lighten and become reduced. It happens because modified collagen fibres and thin elastine fibres attempt to regenerate the broken network, so to speak. However, there is absolutely no possibility of restoring the state of dermis before the loss had taken place. As a result, visible white stripes (striae distensae alba) which are palpable due to the touch remain at the skin. Starting the treatment of older stretch marks which undergo
the vanishing stage now may improve the state of skin a bit, however, there is no possibility of removing them from the body completely.
Who is prone to have stretch marks?
- obese persons,
- teens during their adolescence period,
- pregnant or menopausal women,
- persons whose weight fluctuates quite frequently (when there is a sudden drop in weight, stretch marks may form),
- persons who are frequently on low-calorie diets,
- persons who take steroids,
- persons who have genetic predispositions.
Stretch marks may form on the bodies of both men and women, both obese and slim, both the elderly people and teens during their adolescence period. Almost 90 per cent of pregnant women are more or less affected by this problem.
Collagen deficiency results in stretch marks
A deficiency of collagen is associated with forming stretch marks. It is worth starting by stating that stripes are the result of the excessive and sudden stretching of skin due to various factors. Pregnant women and persons working out in a gym who aim at the fast growth of muscle mass, rapid increase in weight and drastic drop in body weight are two main groups which are the most affected by stretch marks.
Stretch marks result from the breaking of collagen fibres which provide the skin with resilience and the ability to return to a previous shape changed due to stretching. This is not possible when too much cortisol is secreted in the organism. This particular substance is believed to be a growth hormone which has the impact of fibroblasts, hence influencing the state of skin at the same time.
What can be done to counteract stretch marks?
Supplement collagen by applying it on the outside
If you wish to rid of stretch marks or – if possible – counteract them, you need to provide collagen applied directly on the skin. Collagen is now available in the form of gel and is specially intended for the external us, particularly in those parts which are prone to form stretch marks, namely the area of abdomen, thighs or buttocks.
Collagen which is also available in the form of COLVITA capsules will perform nicely as well. Owing to the capsule which may be easily swallowed, collagen in the form of freeze-dried preparation enters the stomach. As a result, the organism receives a great dose of this albumen fibre quite fast.
Given that stretch marks have already formed, you should use SILVER collagen. If your skin is properly prepared, collagen will be highly absorbed, hence the very medicine will perform satisfactorily.
Regardless of the form in which collagen is applied, it contributes to binding fibres in the skin. Therefore, it may be said that collagen increases the skin’s resistance to stretching. This substance also provides the body with flexibility and firmness. In this way breaking of another fibres is hindered. Collagen which is applied externally also contributes to stimulating the skin to increase the production of its own collagen.
Does it work?
Collagen is extremely helpful when it comes to the struggle against stretch marks. This is because collagen improves and regenerates the skin, and protects it against another attack of stretch marks.
Considering the fact that hormonal changes and genetic predispositions are also named as factors contributing to stretch marks, we are not always able to counteract them.