Stretch marks, also known as striae distensae, arise from the progressive stretching of the skin during pregnancy or following weight gain. Areas where stretch marks are present are characterized by thinning of the skin as a result of a loss of the extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM is the largest component of normal skin that gives the skin its unique properties of elasticity, tensile strength and compressibility. ECM components, such as collagen and elastin, can be replenished by fibroblasts which are cells in connective tissue that are vitally important in the process of tissue repair. Cosmetic ingredients that are effective in the reduction and correction of stretch marks should therefore reactivate the production of fibroblast cells in the skin.
The following active ingredients have been proven to reactivate the synthesis of these ECM components:
CENTELLA ASIATICA EXTRACT
Centella asiatica extract stimulates the growth of fibroblast cells, thereby improving the synthesis of the ECM components of the skins dermis such as type I and III collagen, fibronectin and elastin. Type I and III collagen are abundantly found in the dermis and they are the primarily responsible for increasing the skin's resistance to stretching and maintaining dermal structure. Increasing these vital skin components allows an improvement in skin tone and firmness by significantly improving the tensile strength and elasticity of newly formed skin.
Recent studies have also shown that formulations containing centella asiatica extract improve the moisture content of the skin by increasing the surface hydration state and decreasing transepidermal water loss (TEWL). The American Academy of Dermatology and other studies have confirmed that adequately hydrating the skin will significantly reduce the risk of stretch mark formation.
Click here for more information on how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
CROCUS CHRYSANTHUS BULB EXTRACT
The dermis is not easily reached by topically applied cosmetic actives. Chrocus Chrysanthus bulb is a flower bulb extract that overcomes this by stimulating the synthesis of proteins in the epidermis which improves the communication between the epidermis and dermis, thereby increasing the production of ECM components such as elastin and collagen in the dermis. Chrysanthus bulb was found, in a series of tests, to stimulate keratinocytes to secrete growth factors that could enhance the synthesis of collagen and elastin in the dermis. This effect on fibroblasts was comparable to one of the transforming growth factors (TGF-B), a natural growth factor involved in ECM synthesis.
Clinical studies have found that after a 2 week treatment period, the skin firmness was greatly improved and the collagen and elastin contents in the skin were both increased (115% for collagen and 25% for elastin). The results of the study indicate that Chrocus Chrysanthus bulb extract renews the skin’s resilience, tone and firmness and rejuvenates skin texture.
Chrocus Chrysanthus bulb extract has also been clinically tested in a placebo-controlled study to prove its activity against stretch marks. The results of the study indicated a visible reduction in skin redness, increased lightness in stretch mark areas and reduction in the roughness of skin. Overall flower bulb extract showed a significant effect to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Tamanu oil (Calophyllum Inophyllum seed oil) is well known for promoting wound healing and diminishing scars. The oil has a unique mechanism of action that stimulates cell growth and increases the production of collagen. Topical application of tamanu oil results in an accelerated healing process, regeneration of the dermis, and a minimization of stretch marks.
PURASAL MOIST XS
Purasal Moist XS is an ECOCERT and COSMOS approved ingredient that provides the skin with intense long lasting moisturisation. Studies on Purasal Moist XS have demonstrated an increase in skin moisture of up to 50% compared to baseline and placebo products, and significant hydration of up to 24 hours. The use of Purasal Moist XS also has long term benefits on the skin such as noticeable improvements in the skin’s softness and suppleness. The intense hydration properties of Purasal Moist XS make it the ideal ingredient to ensure the skin’s maximum elasticity is maintained throughout pregnancy.
Have you tried any of the above-mentioned ingredients to prevent stretch marks? Let me know in the comments below.
Natralogic's Tummy Crème contains a unique blend of all the above-mentioned ingredients that work synergistically to help promote collagen and elastin production, allowing an improvement in skin tone and elasticity, and provides the most effective prevention and correction of the appearance of stretch marks
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or queries please feel free to leave a comment below. For more tips and advice on maternity skin care check out the Expert Advice section of the Natralogic website.
All the best
Lauren Lamont - Natralogic Founder
MSc Chemistry, Dip.Cos.Sci (SA)