Why do some stretch mark creams work?

By Lisa Henning – August 2014

You researched all the stretch mark prevention creams, read all the reviews, took advice from friends and family, made your choice and stuck to it. So how disappointing that you still ended up getting stretch marks. Why didn’t it work for you?

Why do stretch marks happen? The dermis (living layer of skin) is where our skin produces collagen and elastin, when abundant and undamaged the skin easily stretches and regains its shape. Stretch marks are fine scars caused by tearing in the dermis when the skin lacks elasticity. Collagen gives skin its strength and durability, but elastin is more stretchable and helps maintain skins resilience.

How do stretch mark creams or oils work? By deeply nourishing the skin, penetrating through to the dermis, helping to heal, thicken and re-elasticise. With continued use the skin will become stronger and more elastic, allowing it to stretch even more without damage. Stretch mark prevention creams should not be thought of as a moisturiser.

So why do some products work better than others? It’s not always the product that’s not working, it’s probably more likely you’ve chosen a product that’s not suitable for your skin type. Just like choosing the correct face moisturiser for your skin, you need to use a stretch mark prevention cream that’s suitable your skin, be it dry, normal or oily. Also how old you are needs to be considered as the skin loses elasticity as we age.

The oilier or younger your skin is, the more elastic it is, so your skin’s response to treatment is quicker because it needs less elastic proteins to repair. Conversely the drier or less elastic your skin is, the earlier and more long-term use of creams will be needed to prevent stretch marks happening.

Are expensive products worth it? Elastin can be found in lots of shampoos and conditioners, and collagen in many face and body creams, but the size of the molecule needs to be refined and small enough to penetrate to the deeper layers of the dermis. Many stretch mark prevention creams and oils make the surface of the skin smooth and moisturised, but little if any collagen or elastin reaches the dermis. Try using a sample of cream and a few minutes later feeling how much remains on the surface, and how much sinks in. Micro molecules that penetrate to the dermis aren’t found in cheaper products.

How do I use stretch mark prevention products? They should be applied am and pm to areas prone to stretching: breasts, tummy, buttocks and thighs. For those with dry and less elastic skin, starting to use products early in the pregnancy is recommended, to prepare the skin for stretching. Continue using the products while breast feeding, washing nipples prior to each feed. For dry skins products need to be layered, with the stretch mark prevention cream used first, then a suitable skin moisturiser on top.

Topical Vitamin A (applied to the skin). There’s much controversy and misinformation about what products can and cannot be used during pregnancy. Many doctors tell their pregnant patients that during the first trimester (3 months) they are not allowed to take Vitamin A supplements. Supplements are taken by mouth and work systemically (get into the blood). Topically applied Vitamin A is applied externally, to work within the skin, not the blood.

Vitamin A in the forms of Retinol, Retinyl, Palmitate or beta carotene are perfectly safe to be applied to the skin during pregnancy. These have great benefits for the skin, aiding condition and helping, in combination with other natural ingredients, to prevent stretch marks. Always check product labelling for product safety to use during pregnancy.

RégimA Scar Repair & Anti-Stretch Complex is safe and highly recommended to use during pregnancy. It contains high potency pure Retinol (Vitamin A). This is a safe and extremely effective antioxidant or anti-free radical scavenger, helping to rebuild damaged collagen and elastin, improving the condition of the skin support structure. Scar Repair also contains a unique form of micro molecular synthesised elastin, this is not of animal origin, nor has it been tested on animals. Scar Repair can also be used during dieting and to heal fresh and pink stretch marks and scars.

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