Stretch Marks and scars are two very different things. However, their effect on one’s appearance and self-esteem are great.
Scars happen as a result of the body’s healing process. It can develop after an injury- whether it’s from an accident or due to surgery.
As an injury heals, the body produces collagen to reconnect the broken tissues. During the process, a scab forms to protect the affected area against bacteria.
Once the injury is healed, the scab falls off. Under that scab, you may or may not have a scar.
Stretch Marks, on the other hand, are seldom a sign of serious medical issues. They develop more commonly due to the skin being overstretched.
They typically begin as flat red lines that turn into slightly depressed linear streaks on the skin. Stretch Marks commonly develop on the thighs, abdomen, groin and chest.
Scars typically happen because of tissue damage. It could result from any of the following:
Body piercings and tattoos
Complications of other skin conditions, like acne and chickenpox
There are two common factors linked with stretch marks.
First is the overstretching of the skin. It can happen due to pregnancy, excessive weight gain and even growth spurt.
Another reason is the increase cortisone in the body. It’s a naturally occurring hormone.
When you get too much of it, such as what happens when you get adrenal gland disorders, the skin loses elasticity.
Scars don’t have any other symptoms apart from the physical changes involving the affected area. There are, however, different types of scars.
Flat scar happens as part of the body’s natural healing process. It’s the most common type of scar you’ll encounter.
At first, flat scars tend to be dark in appearance but they can improve after a couple of months.
Keloids develop as a result of excess collagen production. The scars keep on growing beyond the affected area even after the wound has already healed.
They are often raised bumps on the skin and they feel itchy or painful. They have a rubber texture, although some can feel like soft lumps.
Hypertrophic scars are somewhat similar to keloid scars in that they are due to excess collagen. Their difference, however, is that hypertrophic scars don’t continue to grow beyond the injured area; they just continue to thicken up to a couple of months.
Pitted scars are usually linked to skin conditions, like acne and chickenpox. They can also result from an injury involving fat loss underneath the skin.
Stretch marks, meanwhile, don’t look all the same. Their appearance will depend on how long you’ve had them, their location as well as their causes.
Commonly, their variations will include:
Indented streaks on the skin
Purple, pink or blue streaks
Bright streaks that appear lighter later
Skin Care Routine For Scars and Stretch Marks:
Establishing a skin care routine for scars and stretch marks isn’t really that difficult. You just have to find products that can lessen their appearance and prevent similar issues from developing.
Sounds overwhelming? Here’s a step-by-step routine you can follow.
Step 1: Cleanse
If the cause of your scars is acne, you need to invest in a good face wash or body wash for acne-prone skin. These products contain acne-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, to heal existing zits and prevent future breakouts.
Antibacterial cleansers are great options, too. They can prevent infections that can make your scars a lot worse.
For stretch marks, you need to find cleansers and soaps that are formulated with moisturizing ingredients that can reduce the appearance of the streaks over time. This includes vitamin E, aloe vera and shea butter.
Step 2: Exfoliate
Exfoliation is something you shouldn’t miss if you want to completely bid goodbye to your scars and stretch marks. However, although the goal is to buff away the dead skin cells on top of your skin, you should still be cautious of exfoliation.
Doing it excessively can cause damage to your skin and that can make things a lot worse for you.
In exfoliating scars, you need to do regularly. Try to exfoliate every three days to get rid of the dead and discolored skin cells that make up your scars.
Choose a gentle exfoliator to get the job done or use a soft washcloth with firm pressure. Be careful as not to scrape your skin.
If the scars are on your face, don’t use anything too abrasive. Skip your loofahs and scrubbing gloves.
For stretch marks, dry brushing can help in reducing their appearance. Do it daily, before you step in the shower.
While in the shower, use an exfoliating scrub. You can use those with grains but just make sure that they are still gentle enough for your skin.
Step 3: Tone
Toners won’t technically lessen the appearance of your scars. However, they are still essential in that they help make your skin more able to absorb the creams and lotions you’re going to apply after.
Step 4: Using serums
Serums are formulated with smaller molecules to enable them to get through the deeper layers of the skin. There, they deliver potent ingredients that can address specific skin issues, like scars and stretch marks.
In choosing your serum, find one that can remove darkly pigmented skin cells. Ingredients to look out for are glycolic and salicylic acids.
Serums that contain vitamins A and E are great options, too. You should also be on the look out for the best vitamin C serums.
As for application, serums are best applied twice a day. You should apply yours right after cleansing and toning.
Step 5: Moisturize
This is a key step in preventing scars and stretch marks.
You see, when your skin is dry, it’s actually more prone to scarring as its barrier is compromised. By locking in moisture, you’ll be boosting its resistance against infection and damage.
Take note, however, that moisturizers can’t make your scars and stretch marks disappear- unless you are using products particularly formulated for your skin concerns.
These creams should be applied using circular massaging motions. You can use them after your wounds or injuries heal.
If you still have an open wound, delay using the creams.
Step 6: Use sunscreen
Being exposed to the sun’s harmful rays without protection can make your scars darker and more prominent. For someone aspiring to have fairer and clearer skin, this is probably the last thing you want to happen.
So, before stepping outdoors, make it a habit to apply your sunscreen. Aim for products with SPF 30 for better protection.
Reapply as often as necessary and make sure to apply your sunscreen on all exposed areas.