(NC)—Summer is the season for ultimate freedom – a time to go barefoot, let the hair down, and to throw off all unnecessary clothes. Better still, it appears that the majority of Canadian women are confident about their physical appearance, according to the results of a recent survey. As many as 71 per cent will likely be enjoying everything that summer has to offer – although they did say that a little advice on enhancing their appearance is always welcome too.
Sun protection is at the top of the skin care list, along with moisturizing, gentle hair removal, and dealing with skin imperfections, especially stretch marks.
“Pregnancy is one cause of stretch marks, but so are body-building, rapid weight gain and weight loss, and rapid growth in adolescence,” says Bob Bennett, the business unit director at Mederma, the brand line recommended by doctors and pharmacists. “Our research shows that about 68 per cent of women and 24 per cent of men do indeed develop stretch marks in the course of their lives.”
On the company website (www.mederma.ca) you will see that experts recommend dealing with stretch marks as soon as possible, preferably when they first form. However, even for older stretch marks (and other scars) you do have options to improve how they look and feel. Dermatologists and researchers report that:
• Over-the-counter gels with the proprietary botanical extract cepalin is a pleasant-smelling extract from the onion family and in 77 per cent of test patients, it has clinically shown to reduce discoloration, improve texture, enhance skin softness, and improve the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Read package labels or ask a pharmacist for assistance.
• Heavy moisturizers that are good for hydrating the skin can sometimes make stretch marks softer, look better, and reduce itchiness.
• Self-tanners and sunless tanning products can help camouflage stretch marks. Avoid tanning beds, however. Too much sun and tanning can make stretch marks appear worse and it is not advised for the overall health of your skin.
• Prescription cream with tretinoin (from vitamin A) can reduce the length and width of stretch marks when they are new, although it is not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers.
• Chemical peels can improve how skin feels and looks.
Laser therapy can improve the colour of stretch marks and how elastic, or flexible, the skin is.
Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about options that might be best for you.