Striae Distensae – the Latin Name for Stretch Marks

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May 24, 2011


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Striae Distensae – the Latin Name for Stretch Marks

Striae Distensae is the Latin name for the marks on the skin which are more commonly known as stretch marks. Stretch marks are a common problem for both sexes, but they affect more women than men due to the rapid weight gain associated with pregnancy, which puts pressure on the skin. Stretch marks can also be a problem for bodybuilders who gain muscle bulk quickly, and for teenagers who are going through puberty and growing rapidly. Although stretch marks are harmless to health and not painful, many people who have them feel that they are unsightly and ugly, and try to either disguise their stretch marks or cover them by choosing appropriate clothing.

How Do Striae Come About?

Striae form when the middle layer of the skin, called the dermis, is put under stretching pressure. The fibers in the skin begin to break down and split, and because of this the fine blood vessels in the lowest level of the skin show through to the top layer of the skin. Stretch marks do not affect everyone, and there seems to be a strong genetic component in determining which people will be affected. There are also certain creams which are prescribed for conditions such as eczema which can predispose people to developing stretch marks.

Preventative Measures?

Preventing stretch marks is not always possible, but there are several steps which can be taken to try to reduce the amount and severity of them. Eating a healthy balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals such as zinc will help ensure that the skin has all of the nutrients necessary to keep it in good condition, and it may be that a vitamin supplement tablet could help with this. Lots of moisturizing using creams rich in vitamins will also help, as will using a massaging action to help the cream or oil soak into the skin. One of the most commonly used creams to fight stretch marks is cocoa butter, as it is easy to find in the shops, cheap to buy and is packed with nutrients which help to keep the skin healthy. Oils are also useful for massaging into the skin and home-made oils using a base oil such as olive or almond oil mixed with a few drops of essential oil can work as well as the expensive massage oils which can be bought in the shops.

What about Surgery?

Surgery is the other option talked about to help banish striae, but this is an obviously radical step and can really only be considered as a last resort. During a surgical procedure the surgeon will cut away the affected skin and repair it. The risks of having surgery to repair damage from stretch marks are that it can be painful and the scarring caused by the operation can be equally as unsightly as the stretch marks. Surgery is also expensive, and it is always advised that thorough massaging and moisturizing should be carried out for several months or years before deciding whether to tackle persistent stretch marks using surgical methods.

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