18 Jan Moisturisers and Stretch Marks
Stretch marks or ‘striae’, are a very common problem. They occur at times when we either lose or gain weight very rapidly – such as during pregnancy or during the holiday season for example! Quite simply, the skin can’t keep up with the changes. It’s being stretched beyond what it’s capable of and marks begin to appear. They’re usually red at first and eventually fade to a silver colour.
Can moisturisers prevent stretch marks, or reduce their appearance? Well, this is one of the most controversial topics in the skin care world. Some researchers claim that moisturisers cannot do anything to improve the appearance of stretch marks and there is a simple reason for this claim. Stretch marks don’t occur on the surface of the skin – they appear on the middle layer, which is known as the ‘dermis’. Therefore, topical creams usually can’t penetrate deep enough to make much difference.
However, there are others who claim that moisturisers CAN have an impact upon stretch marks. The reason? Keratinocytes. These are specific types of skin cells that, when properly hydrated, have been shown to reduce scarring. Based on this information, some researchers have stated that ‘moisturisation is a key component to reducing the clinical signs and symptoms of scars and striae’.
Even if moisturisers cannot impact the appearance of stretch marks, they can still play a role in the health of your skin. When stretch marks first appear, they may be very uncomfortable and itchy. Moisturising regularly may help to relieve discomfort and help to keep the skin soft and smooth. However, it’s important to use moisturisers that don’t contain any harsh chemicals, or don’t have as many, which could irritate the skin and aggravate any discomfort. Instead, stick to gentler products like AproDerm®, specially designed for sensitive skin.
If you’re keen to minimise the appearance of stretch marks, or prevent them from happening, regularly moisturising your skin may help. However, it’s important not to expect miracles and to remember that, due to striae occurring in the middle layer of the skin, they’re very difficult to target. Stretch marks are natural and they do fade with time, so don’t worry about them too much!