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June 2008 Ageless herbal newsletter

Underneath is the main part of the newsletter that was sent out (excluding special offers or promotional items). You can access all previous newsletters and also subscribe to the free newsletter.
stretch, marks, how, formed, cure, susceptible, getting, who, gets, stretch, marks, striae, prevent, stretch, marks, herbs, help, make stretch, marks, look, betteron this page
get rid of stretch marks

Stretch marks

You often see adverts for one or other ‘magical oil’ that is going to make stretch marks disappear like mist before the sun – yet the sad truth is that it will not happen – all it means is that multi-national brands have advertising dollars to dupe customers into buying nearly worthless oil.

stretch marks formed during pregnancy

Most people are still under the impression that it is only females and pregnant women that are prone to this ugly skin condition yet there are many instances where stretch marks will appear. If you are gaining weight rapidly, busy with intensive bodybuilding to bulk-up muscles or even just growing too fast in puberty – all of this can cause stretch marks to appear.

Newly formed striae are normally red-mauve marks, with the skin having the look of satiny-puckered crepe paper, and may also be slightly swollen in some cases.

The size of the striae can vary a lot and can differ from short thin small marks covering a whole area, to broad, long and very pertinent blemishes. After the initial stages they normally lose their reddish color and go white or silvery.

Although the medical fraternity does not see striae as a problem – and correctly so – since it has no negative side effects on the body – it does however impact on the mental state of the person affected by striae.

We have had countless e-mails from both males and females, who inquire about removing stretch marks, as they refuse to swim or go to the beach, as they don’t want to expose these ugly welts that have formed on the skin.

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How are stretch marks formed stretch marks striae causes remove hide get rid of stretch marks

We can go into a highly technical discussion of collagen and elastin and the skin structure to explain the formation of stretch marks (striae) – but in essence what happens – is that with the expansion on the body part – be that the breasts, tummy, hips, thighs etc – the skin is unable to manufacture enough collagen and elastin to keep the skin elastic and pliable – which then results in the skin actually ‘tearing’ in places.

Have you ever taken a cheap plastic bag, and stretched a small part between your fingers to the point just before breaking, and the plastic gets distended? Now that is exactly what happens with your skin – it tries its best to allow for the increase of body mass – but then, as not enough collagen and elastin is available in the dermis of the skin (middle part of the skin structure) – this supportive layer tears and the stretch mark is formed.

The people most at risk of forming striae are pregnant mothers – where you have rapid growth and distention of the belly to accommodate the growing fetus, in people that have rapid weight gain – where the excess fat builds up body mass at a rapid rate, in bodybuilders – where they go on intensive “bulking-up” regimes (especially before competitions) – where the actual muscles expand at a very rapid rate, and in teenagers – where it is not excess weight or excessive body mass creating the problem, but the rapid expansion of the entire body. (This normally happens when children go through extremely accelerated growing phases – and where they normally also suffer from actual "growing pains")

When stretch marks are formed they normally appear as red or purplish marks – which over time will fade to a white mark. After some time has passed they will feel softer than the rest of the skin and less elastic, since they do not have the same support as the rest of the skin, and on close inspection can have a slight ‘sagging’ appearance.

Some medical people also blame the natural secretion of cortisone as the culprit, since natural cortisone is produced by the suprarenal gland during the last months of pregnancy and the onset of puberty - both periods when striae are often formed.

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We have however, seen striae appearing at far earlier stages of pregnancy – and all the blame cannot be placed on hormonal imbalances.

Get rid of stretch marks stretch marks striae causes remove hide get rid of stretch marks

As mentioned previously – if you believe advertisers, then you will find a variety of oils, creams and potions that will promise you that they will magically make your stretch marks disappear – and base their claims on using ‘biological’ oil (but on investigation it is not much more than wheatgerm oil) or is simply a concoction of coconut oil, while some others include potentially dangerous and cancer forming ingredients like sassafras oil.

For more information on Sassafras oil please visit:

The sad truth is that once a stretch mark has formed – and the skin has torn – anything less than surgical intervention will be futile.

So, to put it very simple and straight forward - no cream, no oil, no lotion, no balm nor any ointment will complete remove stretch marks that are already formed.

Some good results have been achieved by using medical laser (and we stress MEDICAL laser – not the willy-nilly lasers used in cosmetic applications). So you would need to see either a qualified and licensed plastic (cosmetic) surgeon to surgically remove the marks, or see a qualified and licensed skin specialist (dermatologist) to treat it with a medical laser. There are many general practitioners that like to dabble in such work – but they are neither qualified NOR licensed to do such specialized work – so rather spend the money and see a specialist.

Our stretch mark gel will help to PREVENT stretch marks and will make already formed marks look better - but no cream, oil, gel or lotion can remove already formed old stretch marks.

Some people believe that sun tanning makes stretch marks look better, but it is a very temporary solution, as it just make them go a bit red, and after the sun induced redness disappears, they will go back to their original colorless state.

It also happens that older striae are red after a very warm bath or shower, but it also loses the color within a short period of time.

But getting back to potions and lotions – although most of them are good moisturizers, they do NOT address the problem. The problem is NOT an under-moisturized skin – but is the skin’s inability to manufacture enough elastin and collagen.

Preventing stretch marks stretch marks striae causes remove hide get rid of stretch marks

The answer luckily is yes – if you use a topical treatment that will address the problem of sluggish collagen and elastin manufacture, and have added moisturizing properties – it can help to stem the formation of excessive stretch marks.

In tests done by Prof. Chastruse and medical research colleagues at the Central Hospital at Pellegrin-Tondu, based on stretch marks induced by pregnancy, they found that the plant based formula, on which our treatment gel was created, proved 92% successful in preventing these blemishes forming.

REFERENCE:
Chastrusse L, Soumireu-Mourat J, Ambonville C, Hourcabie J. (Hôpital Tondu Pelligrin, Bordeaux), Phytolastil in the treatment of weals of gravid origin - (in French), J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris). 1976 Sep;5(6):848-9.)

One other very important point to keep in mind is the fact that the body requires vitamin C (ascorbic acid) for collagen formation. If vitamin C is lacking in the body, the skin cannot form collagen (the structural foundation of the skin) - so it would also be wise to ensure that you have an adequate amount of vitamin C in your diet or by daily supplementation.

Stretch mark gels and creams stretch marks striae causes remove hide get rid of stretch marks

But returning to the formula of Prof. Chastruse – the botanical extracts also showed a 53 - 86 % success rate in curative action during pregnancy and a 57 % success rate after delivery.

The gel formula included Lady’s Mantle Extract (Alchemilla Vulgaris), Horsetail Extract (Equisetum Arvense) and Ivy Extract (Hedera Helix).

When we formulated our Stretch Mark Gel we used the formula in question but added other botanical extracts to create a more potent formula – which is safe for all to use – including pregnant mothers.

Alchemilla vulgaris (lady's mantle) extract

It contains 6-8% tannins, mainly oligomeric gallotannins, and flavonoids, which are the components responsible for its anti-elastase (preventing the degradation of elastin) and free radical scavenging activity.

It furthermore has an astringent effect on the skin, and helps to protect the elastin fibers, which are extremely thin - between 1 and 3 Tm in diameter. Elastin is required for skin elasticity, and is a protein in the skin, which together with collagen and glycosaminoglycans, make up the connective tissue. All these elements originate in the fibroblast. It is a very specialized herb, and is used specifically where elastin needs to be boosted and the tensile strength increased.

Equisetum arvense (horsetail) extract

It is an extraordinary re-mineralizer of the skin and has haemostatic properties, providing natural silica to the skin. The flavonoids and saponins in horsetail have great cell rejuvenating and regenerating properties and also have a stabilizing effect on the connective tissue, thereby increasing the firmness and elasticity of the skin.

Its extraordinary effect on the skin even prompted the Commission E to approve it, as treatment for wounds. It is the flavonoids that are responsible for its unique wound healing and tissue repair actions.

Hedera helix (ivy) extract

Extracts of the plant are mostly used in cosmetics and for external use, for healing skin as well as treating burns, warts, impetigo, skin eruptions, neuralgia, swollen joints, and cellulite. It has topical anti-fungal, molluscicidal, anti-mutagenic, as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Its other major topical action is that of being a circulatory compound, which helps other ingredients to be absorbed by the skin, as well as assisting with the removal of waste products from the skin.

Camellia sinensis leaf (green tea) extract

It has three major benefits – Firstly, it is a powerful antioxidant, thereby reducing free radical damage in the skin. Secondly, it is a potent anti-inflammatory agent, thereby reducing inflammation in the skin. And thirdly and most importantly, it has an inhibitory action on collagenase (an enzymatic action in the skin, where the collagen is broken down), resulting in firmer and more elastic skin. The flavonoids and catechols in green tea provide it with vitamin P properties. The tannins in its chemical composition give it astringent properties, whereas the polyphenolic compounds act as an astringent, also protecting the skin, causing vasoconstriction and reducing inflammation in the affected area. Cell regeneration is caused, as well as a wound healing activity.

Hibiscus sabdariffa flower extract

It contains a host of beneficial compounds, but in essence it acts on the horny layer of the skin to reduce the cohesion between the corneocytes, which affects the thickness of the skin and also increases skin moisture. This results in an improvement of skin flexibility and a higher moisture level. Hibiscus also contains anthocyanocides, which have astringent, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant (free radical scavenging activity) properties, as well as inhibition of the enzyme that causes elastase and hyaluronidase, while at the same time enhancing the retention of the skin’s hydric content.

Althaea officinalis root (marshmallow) extract

It has very beneficial effects on skin problems and diseases and helps in healing wounds, burns and irritation. Marshmallow not only has good anti-inflammatory properties, but also seems to boost immunity at cellular level. It also has an inhibitory effect in hyaluronidase, which is an enzymatic action in which the hyaluronic acid and other muco-polysaccharides in the connective tissue are degraded. An inhibition and reduction in hyaluronidase leads to better moisture levels in the skin, as well as boosting the dermal structure and improving wound healing processes, while at the same time reducing skin aging and diminishing inflammation.

Centella asiatica extract

One of its main functions is to increase circulation, but it has also been known for centuries for its great wound healing properties. It stimulates the fibroblast and collagen in the skin, yet prevents excessive proliferation of fibrous tissue in wound healing. Centella is particularly helpful in healing damaged and injured skin and maintaining healthy skin tone and elasticity. The triterpene components are principally responsible for fixing amino acids (alanine and proline) onto the collagen structure.

Calendula officinalis flower extract

It is a botanical compound that is often used, as it has excellent properties for skin care and helps with cell rejuvenating, wound healing, reducing inflammation and soothes and softens the skin. Calendula is particularly helpful with cracked and damaged skin and has a humectant action on the skin, which helps with dry and dehydrated skin, while the cell rejuvenating properties are most useful in older as well as damaged skin. Furthermore, it has a slightly antiseptic and bactericidal effect and also helps with re-mineralization, with the oligoelements contained in the compound.

Panax ginseng root extract

One of its main actions is to prevent collagenase (destruction of the collagen) in the way it stimulates protein synthesis and inhibits proteic enzymatic degradation in the fibroblasts. The plant is also responsible for increasing phospholipids synthesis in the blood. Studies have shown that it also has a strong antioxidant effect - thereby neutralizing free radicals, which are more considerable in derivatives of protapanaxatriol than in other fractions of the plant, and it acts by optimizing the cutaneous metabolism of the whole body. It is specifically helpful in capillary products, to stimulate growth and increase tensile strength.

Ruscus aculeatus root (butcher's broom) extract

It has excellent anti-edema and anti-inflammatory effects, due to the a-adrenergic stimulation of the blood capillaries. Application of it stimulates the cutaneous circulation, which makes it suitable for any application where water retention and a slow lymph flow is present, and it can be used on ultra-sensitive skin. The powerful venous vaso-constricting properties are further enhanced by the liberation of noradrenalin in the adrenergetic terminations of the blood vessel walls, which increase the tone of the venous and lymphatic wall and improve the venous return.

Stellaria media (chickweed) extract

It is high in saponins which have a healing and soothing effect on the skin and is used with great success on rashes, itchiness, eczema, psoriasis, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, inflammations and other skin complaints. The vulnerary properties of this herb help to prevent tissue degeneration and it helps to arrest bleeding in wounds.

Conclusion

We hope this newsletter gave you a good overview of stretch marks, and although we manufacture a Stretch Mark Gel we cannot claim to remove or cure stretch marks, yet the gel is most effective in preventing them – and using the gel on already formed marks will greatly improve the appearance of the marks – but will NOT remove them.

Therefore – if you are in a situation where you may develop stretch marks, rather be pro-active and prevent them, for to remove them will involve surgery and high cost – keep on remembering the old saying “a stitch in time saves nine” – so rather prevent than to fix afterwards.

stretch marks striae

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Ageless herbal product range

Our Ageless herbal product range

Skin care

  • Healing cream
    • To assist in wound healing while soothing skin complaints – such as eczema and psoriasis, acne and piles and moisturizing and protecting the skin. This product has shown its effectiveness over a wide range of problems and judging from sales over more than a decade – it is the trusted healing cream to help with all mishaps, allergic reactions, irritated, burning, itchy and uncomfortable skin conditions.
  • Face wash
    • This face wash will properly clean your face and remove all impurities and environmental pollutants, without drying the skin. It contains eight herbal extracts to help promote a clear, vital and healthy complexion and a younger looking skin.
  • Moisturizing day cream
    • This day cream is formulated to help fight the signs of aging on various fronts. It helps to reduce free radical damage which, if left unchecked, leads to premature aging. The herbal extracts help to promote cell rejuvenation and regeneration and provide moisture and hydration to the skin.
  • Nourishing night cream
    • This nourishing night cream penetrates the skin extremely well and does not make the skin feel oily. It contains a host of herbal extracts to help in the fight against premature aging and has added vitamin E as well. Apart from the moisturizing effect and the anti-aging properties it also softens and smoothes the skin.
  • Eye gel
    • An effective refreshing eye gel to help reduce puffiness and dark rings around the eyes, while fighting wrinkles and lines. This is a very clever combination of herbal extracts and the base formula has its roots in a clinically proven formula.
  • Mud face mask
    • With this skin treatment product we combined a special selection of herbs in a base of thermal mud with oligoelements. This recommended weekly treatment will boost circulation to the skin, help to fight wrinkles and lines, improve firmness while at the same time improving suppleness and elasticity of the skin.

 

Hair care

  • Shampoo with rosemary extract + 7 other herbals
    • Our shampoo is in a class of its own – and granted – it is far more expensive than cheap supermarket shampoos, but no other shampoo has the active ingredients we have in our shampoo. The rosemary will boost the health of the hair and scalp, while the other seven herbal extracts will help strengthen the hair and make it shine, increase the volume and make it manageable.
  • Rosemary hair treatment conditioner
    • We have found that this hair conditioner should really be used as a conditioning treatment. This then removes the need to condition the hair every time you wash – and can be used once a month. It is a superb hair tonic and helps in the control of sebum secretion of the scalp. Although not formulated for dandruff – the ingredients will assist with this as well, while supporting the health of the scalp.

 

Specialized herbal gels and lotions

  • Hand and body lotion
    • When formulating this hand and body lotion we created a rich nourishing, protecting and reviving lotion, which will not leave the skin oily or tacky, but will create a well moisturized, hydrated and supple skin. After applying this lotion it will quickly be absorbed by the skin, leaving it silky soft, smooth and well moisturized.
  • Stretch mark gel
    • Although nothing can remove already formed stretch marks (only surgery can do that) – thousands of satisfied clients confirm that this gel improves the appearance of old stretch marks. The gel will help in PREVENTING stretch marks (a 92% success rate) and is used with great success by expectant mothers and body builders who may form marks when bulking-up. The formula of this gel is based on clinical studies done in France, to which we added other herbal extracts.
  • Cellulite gel
    • Fighting cellulite is easy with this herbal cellulite gel. It contains a patented extract of Bayberry (Myriceline) and nine other plant extracts and essential oils. The gel will help to get rid of cellulite (which has been clinically proven) and will also help to prevent cellulite from forming. So now it is easy to get your soft body contours back again.

 

Herbal supplements

  • Apple cider vinegar (liquid) with Centella asiatica
    • The health benefits of apple cider vinegar are combined with the therapeutic properties of Centella asiatica. This old folk remedy is still used with great effect by thousands of people daily.
  • Digest capsules
    • If your digestive system is under-par and you struggle with constipation or you simply need to boost the health of your digestive system then this capsule is for you. Fenugreek is a general digestive tonic and psyllium is a magical bulking agent that will help proper bowel movements, without using a laxative.
  • Detox capsules
    • Our modern day lifestyle exposes us to many unwanted additive and our diet also places stress on the body. To help the body get rid of toxins and waste materials naturally we combined fennel, basil, celery and parsley to help the body remove these toxins. It peps-up your metabolism and helps the bladder, kidneys and liver to do their work more effectively.
  • Urinary and bladder health capsules
    • Using an all natural approach, our capsules will help the discomfort and burning urine sensation of urinary tract infection and help clear up foul smelling urine. We combined cranberry, dandelion, uva ursi and vitamin C in a single capsule to effectively fight bladder infections and to stop the burning sensation when urinating.
  • Tri- Mushroom blend capsules
    • If you need an immune system boost then have a look at our combination of maitake, reishi and shiitake mushrooms. These mushrooms have showed to be a great help in boosting the immune system – and form a good nutritional supplement support for HIV/Aids patients and people receiving chemotherapy. Any person with even a slightly compromised immune system may benefit from this supplement.
  • Olive leaf extract capsules
    • This natural detoxifier helps with a variety of ailments and people with chronic fatigue syndrome, infections, glandular fever (Epstein Barr), and even candida and herpes have found it of value. Olive leaf extract helps to fight bacteria, viruses, retroviruses, and protozoa and yeast strains. Apart from fighting all of these problems it also helps to improve kidney function and fights free radicals.
  • Sexual supplement (previously known as Vuka Nkuzi)
    • Men normally don’t admit when they have a declining libido although it is a most common problem. We combine in this supplement seven different natural ingredients to boost sexual health – without any side effects often experienced with such medication. After more than a decade, and thousands of regular Vuka Nkuzi clients we still offer this well priced supplement to boost the libido.

 

Other products

  • Jojoba oil
    • This liquid golden ester not only moisturizes and penetrates the skin but also helps to fight wrinkles and lines while promoting a clear and unblemished skin. Jojoba does not clog the pores but helps to restore skin elasticity and smoothness. It will leave the skin supple and velvety soft without any oiliness and can be used neat on the skin.
  • Lavender oil
    • This is the most popular essential oil and with good reason. Lavender oil is a superb product to use on burns, insect bites, sunburn, wounds and other skin complaints and irritations. Lavender oil is one of the few essential oils that can be used neat (not diluted) on the skin, and is great to help with regeneration and rejuvenation of skin cells. Emotionally it has a calming and soothing effect and is an exceptionally pleasant smelling oil.
  • Tea tree oil
    • Once used, you will always have a bottle of tea tree essential oil handy. It deals effectively with bacteria, fungi and viruses. Our oil surpasses the “Australian Standard” by having less than 15% 1,8 cineole and more than 30% of Terpinen-4-ol. This powerful essential oil is effective in various ways to fight infections and skin problems.
  • Almond oil
    • This light and deeply moisturizing oil has a softening effect on the skin and can be used on the face and body. Almond oil has excellent emollient properties and helps to balance water and moisture loss in the skin. It can be used neat on the skin and also makes an excellent massage base.

Herbal information

Herbal encyclopedia

Different uses of medicinal herbs

Explanation of the therapeutic properties of herbs

List of ailments and herbs that may be useful


Information on individual herbs

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