Stretch marks are bands on the skin with a different color than the normal skin around, firstly reddish, but later whitish. The skin in the bands are loose and little elastic, irregular and somewhat deepened. They can appear in males and females at any age, but often during puberty, in over-weighted individuals and during pregnancy. They are common at the thighs, the hips and lover abdomen, but can develop at any place in the body. The bands tend to run parallel and are sometimes branched. Stretch marks are chronic, but they tend to get less pronounced by time.

One factor causing stretch marks is a poor production of the structure proteins collagen and elastin by the fibroblasts, which makes the skin weak. In addition forces external or internal to the body must stretch the skin excessively some time. Factors that increase the risk for stretch marks are an elevated production of glucocorticoid hormons as by pregnancy, the excessive burden by pregnancy and over-weight, bad diet and inheritance from the parents.

To hinder stretch marks from coming or to take away the first signs of stretch marks, you can daily massage body areas at risk with a cream containing natural oils. Products for this purpose seem to use a variety of oils with saturated, mono-unsaturated and essential poly-unsaturated fatty acids. In addition they often contain substances like panthenol, menthol, gotu kola extract and vitamin E. Reducing weight, keeping a good diet and be cautious about how you stretch body areas during work and sport activities will also help.

Stretch mark can be treated with laser. By young stretch marks one often uses laser that gives off rays with wavelength of 585 nm to stimulate repair activities. Use of radio waves can also stimulate repair activities in young stretch marks, especially when combined with laser treatment. For older stretch marks one often uses laser rays that give small wounds in the tissue at each treatment session, so called fractional laser treatment. When the tissue heals, it gets stronger than before.

One can reduce the visibility of the marks by surgical abrasion of layers in the skin, so-called dermabrasion. A more superficial abrasion, called microdermabrasion can also help. Use of scrubs containing glycolic acid can be used to smoothen skin with stretch marks and this may also stimulate a regrowth that will strengthen the skin. If there is excessive skin on areas with stretch marks, this skin can be cut away and the rims sewn together. This technique is often use at the lower abdomen and is then called tummy tuck surgery.

Prescription bound creams with retinoids, derivatives of vitamin A, may induce repair activities in skin affected by stretch marks. You can also find non-prescription drugs on the market formulated to stimulate repair of skin attacked by stretch marks. Common ingredients in these are natural oils, panthenol, vitamin A, vitamin E and Vitamin B3 (Niacin). They typically also contain different types of peptides to stimulate regrowth activities in the skin.

Author's Bio: 

Knut Holt is an Internet marketer and author with a focus on health items and science. Please see his web-site to find more skin care information. There are also presentation of products to improve skin health and enhance fitness.