In dermatology, stretch marks are often called striae (plural) or stria (singular). Striae are a type of scarring found on the skin. They are the result of tearing of the skim layer known as the dermis. The epidermis is the outermost layer of skin, and the dermis is the layer just under the epidermis. Together they make up the cutis. The dermis is composed of elastic fibers, collagen, and extrafibrillar matrix. It also contains receptors for the sense of heat and touch, sweat glands, hair follicles, sebaceous glands, lymphatic and blood vessels. Rapid skin stretching is associated with rapid weight gain as in pregnancy. The marks may also be affected by hormone replacement therapy, bodybuilding, and changes in hormone levels due to puberty. Striae may show up anywhere on a body, but usually appear where excess fat is stored such as the abdomen, thighs, back, buttocks, hips, breasts, underarms, and upper arms.
There are a number of ingredients that have helped with stretch mark prevention and relief. It is important to keep your skin hydrated by using a moisturizer daily. Some over-the-counter moisturizers may have chemicals that pregnant or nursing mothers should avoid. Be sure to check the ingredient list and ask your doctor. Studies with Retin-A or retinoic acid cream resulted in definite improvements on stretch marks. However, pregnant or nursing women should not use products that contain retinoic acid, because it may cause birth defects. There is an FDA registered cream known as Lextrin with active ingredients hyarolunic acid, centella asiatica, and thuja occidentalis. Pregnant or nursing women should not use products with thuja occidentalis as it may cause birth defects. Other ingredients that have been shown to help with striae include glycolic acid, Vitamin E oil, and egg oil. Hopefully the topical application you choose has one or more of these ingredients.
Picking the Best Stretch Mark Prevention Cream is hard because there are several worthy candidates. Revitol Stretch Mark Cream contains the active ingredient Vitamin E that was mentioned earlier as helping with striae. Another product is Dermology Stretch Mark Prevention Cream with ingredients Vitamins A, E, and D3 among others. Another top quality cream is Trilastin SR Intensive Stretch Mark Complex recommended by former model Tyra Banks. Results can be seen in just three weeks, but the product is relatively expensive. A more affordable cream is Skinception Intensive Stretch Mark Therapy that can repair and prevent stretch marks.