Stretch Marks

Retinoic Acid for Striae Works?

Stretch marks are marks on the skin that appear mainly in regions such as the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks and thighs. In some people, over time, these brands may become less noticeable. Pregnant women or people who go through the accordion effect, that is, they lose weight and fatten many times throughout their lives, are the main victims of stretch marks.

The treatment for stretch marks exists and may make them less visible. There are also methods that promise that stretch marks may disappear completely from the skin. We will discuss the specific use of retinoic acid for stretch marks and show if it really works to eliminate those unwanted marks or not.

Types of Striae

Stretch marks are not all alike. Each person will have a different brand on the skin, which will depend on how long it exists, the cause of its appearance, the type of skin and the region of the body where it is found. Thus, the striae can acquire several colors: pink, white, red, blue, purple or black; and can also acquire several formats: stripes, zigzag format or streaks.

Causes

The causes of stretch marks can be of the most diverse. In general, they are caused when the skin is stretched and such stretching can be affected by genetics, stress caused on the skin and also by the level of cortisone, which is a hormone produced by the suprarenal glands of our body that is related to the loss of the elastic fibers of the skin when the levels are high.

The main cause of stretch marks nowadays is obesity, but mainly the accordion effect, when the person slims and fattens several times. This causes a stress on the elastin and the collagen present in the skin, which generate the stretch marks. But there are also other factors associated with the development of stretch marks.

Risk Factors or Stretch Markers

The major risk factors for developing stretch marks involve gender, since women are more prone than men; pregnancy; obesity; the concertina effect; the use of corticosteroid-like medication; submission to breast surgeries; the occurrence of growth spurts; the manifestation of genetic diseases such as Cushing's syndrome and the syndrome by Marfan.

Prevention

To prevent the appearance of stretch marks in a natural way, the ideal is to avoid being overweight and to practice physical exercises (including during pregnancy, if any) and adopt a nutritious diet.

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Retinoic acid - What is it?

However, prevention work is not always effective against stretch marks and they appear the same way. Therefore, there are today in the market of cosmetics and natural products, an immensity of products, for the treatment of stretch marks.

One product that has come to stand out is retinoic acid for stretch marks, which is already very popular in the treatment of acne and now is also being used to treat them.

Retinoic acid or tretinoin is a retinoid product derived from vitamin A. This substance is an oxidized form of vitamin A that participates in growth processes and acts on the metabolism of collagen. When applied topically to the skin, retinoic acid acts to improve the appearance of stretch marks, especially the younger ones. These products work by aiding in the rebuilding of collagen, making the striations look similar to the skin without striae.

Many people confuse retinoic acid with retinol. Retinol also contains vitamin A, but is a different substance and less effective than retinoic acid for stretch marks, which has a higher vitamin concentration. The main difference between the two is that retinoic acid will act on the deeper layers of the skin and therefore will yield better results.

Retinoic acid for stretch marks

When used as a cream, retinoic acid may also be referred to as the tretinoin cream. The mechanism of action of tretinoin is not yet exactly known. However, the positive effects when the cream is applied to the skin are visible and scientifically proven.

The regular use of retinoic acid cream increases the production of collagen, which helps to regenerate the skin in the region of the striae, making them less visible or leading to their total disappearance. The cream also acts as an exfoliant, removing the dead skin cells, revealing a healthier skin layer and redistributing the natural pigmentation of the skin in a uniform tone.

Scientific studies on the use of retinoic acid for stretch marks have shown positive results. According toDepartment of Dermatology, University of Michigan Medical Center, when applied daily for six months, for example, the retinoic acid cream is able to reduce the width, length and severity of stretch marks. Such treatment is even more effective when used on stretch marks that have appeared for less than six weeks.

Side effects

The main side effect of retinoic acid is a possible allergic skin reaction. Therefore, when you notice any burning sensation, redness or tingling after topical use of the product, discontinue use and seek medical advice.

In addition, after using the product, your skin may peel and become more sensitive to solar radiation. For this reason, the use of sunscreen after the application of retinoic acid is mandatory. Last, but not least, pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid using the because too much vitamin A can cause birth defects to the fetus and born.

Before and after

To show that the use of retinoic acid for stretch marks brings benefits, we have below images of before and after people who used the product and felt difference.

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Where to buy and how to use

Retinoic acid is available in products in a variety of forms, such as creams, lotions and gels in concentrations ranging from 25% to 1%. Commercially, it can be found by names like Retin A, Vitanol, Renova and Vitacid.

You can find several products that contain retinoic acid in pharmacies and on internet sites. However, the concentration of retinoic acid in these products may be very low. For best results, it is best to request a medical prescription from your dermatologist, who will tell you the the best concentration of retinoic acid suitable and safer according to your skin type and the appearance of your stretch marks.

If you use a product with more concentrated retinoic acid, the result will be visible more quickly. Experts indicate that within 12 weeks of treatment, their stretch marks should improve considerably by applying the product daily in the region. In some cases, it may take longer to check the results. Less concentrated products obtained without a prescription can also help smooth stretch marks, but should take more time to act.

Verdict - Does retinoic acid for stretch marks work?

Retinoic acid is able to increase the production of collagen and reduce the appearance of stretch marks, in addition to softening existing ones. However, when brands are very old, the product may not be as effective and the results vary greatly from case to case.

It is important to note that there is no treatment today that removes stretch marks completely from the skin. There is still much scientific research to be done on the use of retinoic acid for stretch marks and their benefits for the skin. However, there is already strong evidence that it works to improve the appearance of stretch marks.

If you are not pregnant or planning to have a child, it is worth investing in retinoic acid as a topical treatment for stretch marks. Although it does not remove some more "difficult" stretch marks completely, the treatment can at least dramatically decrease the unwanted appearance on the skin.

Additional references:

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  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8624148
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/14576709_Topical_tretinoin_retinoic_acid_improves_early_stretch_marks
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stretch-marks/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351144
  • http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-A
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609465/
  • https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(15)01816-2/fulltext

Have you used any product with retinoic acid for stretch marks? Do you know someone who has used it and says it really works? Comment below!

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