The bane of my existence… Part Deux

What is the bane of my existence (Part Deux)?

Having stretch marks.

I have never been pregnant and have never gained or lost a substantial amount of weight in a short time. I put lotion on every day of my life. I take care to take care of my skin because it needs love. However, I still have stretch marks in the most unfortunate places.

When I was very young, about 12-years-old, I grew a chest. It just popped up like a couple daisies in the snow, and I was completely unprepared. Years of wearing training bras when I should have been in a C-cup wore on my skin.

I also have stretch marks along the sides of my hips from when my body went from skinny and childlike to curvy and womanlike. Yay! I am a woman. Boo! I’m already messed up.

What causes stretch marks?
Stretch marks usually occur after rapid weight loss or gain. They are most common during pregnancy or the teen years (me), when growth spurts (curves) and increased levels of steroid hormones cause changes throughout the body. Stretch marks can also be cause by obesity and weight lifting. Genetic factors play a role, too, but the basic cause is really unknown.

Basically, it does not matter what you do. If you have a disposition, even in the slightest, you’re going to get stretch marks. If you have absolutely none, you are a goddess, and we need to talk. Otherwise, for us earth-bound creatures, here’s some advice.

Once stretch marks have passed the red-purple stage, into the white-silvery, deep indentation stage, they are more challenging to treat and likely permanent. I know. You wish you figured it out earlier. I do, too.

Avoid rapid weight loss or gain and moisturization is crucial. Skin becomes pliant, more plasticized and better able to stretch when it’s moisturized and healthy. You should lotion three to four times a day with cocoa or shea butter, but that’s mostly impossible. Definitely if you have the red-purple marks, lotion up A LOT. But if your into the permanent stage, lotion in not going to be your fix. If you do plan to moisturize often, make sure you hit the most affected zones: breasts, belly, hips and thighs.

How do you get rid of stretch marks?
Quick answer: You don’t. But there are treatments.

  1. Wheat Germ Oil: helps in the very early stages. Plan for stretch marks if you’re planning for weight loss or gain.
  2. Glycolic Acid: Rejuvenation power! It is a sugar cane derivative and a member of the alpha-hydroxy-acid family. It increases collagen production. It can also be administered by a dermatologist for about $100 and requires three to four visits before results appear.
  3. Vitamin C: increases collagen production and helps in the early stages. Combined with glycolic acid, 500mg vitamin C supplements three times daily may work.
  4. Restalin and Peptide-Containing Products: an eye and face cream that increases elastic tissue production might work, but peptide-containing products are really a waste of time and money.
  5. Retenoids: helpful in the early stages. Combine with glycolic acid to see results within 12 weeks.
  6. Laser Treatment: works on new ones and is being tested in the later stages, but there are always going to be leftover stretch marks. And treatments can be up to $1,000 or more. Boo.

Livestrong.com has an article about “How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks from Weight Loss” specifically.

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Eat a balanced diet of protein and vitamins A and C
  3. Run cream or lotion onto your skin daily
  4. Treat your skin with microdermabrasion
  5. Undergo laser therapy

They had basically the same advice.

My stretch marks are here to stay, and I’ll only have more after having children and gaining more weight because I’ll get old and busy and forget to keep my body healthy as well as my mind.

Oh well! What are stretch marks but wrinkles that tell stories of growing up and getting older? Okay, that’s dumb, but mine are here for keeps; and it keeps me going to think of how I got them and how it totally wasn’t my fault.

Remember that ladies. Stretch marks totally are not your fault and we ALL have them.

(Unless you’re a goddess, and I kinda hate you. Don’t take it personally.)

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