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Stretch marks (striae) in the July 2010 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 caused by pregnancy in pregnancyon this page
stretch marks caused by body building and bulking muscles too fast in body building
stretch marks caused by growing too fast and the skin being unable to keep up with the rapid growth growing too fast
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Preventing stretch marks - striae

The most common skin disorder experienced by women is stretch marks. Although pregnant women run a 70% risk of these marks forming, men and women can have them appear in puberty when boys and girls go through ‘rapid growth spurts” and body building enthusiasts also run a great risk of them forming. REFERENCE 1

Preventing stretch marks

To understand the problem, we must realize that these “stretch marks” are actually where the dermis of the skin is torn.

The dermis is a layer of skin found between the epidermis and hypodermis. The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin and the hypodermis (also called the hypoderm, superficial tissue and subcutaneous tissue) is the bottom layer of the skin, containing fibroblasts, adipose cells, and macrophages.

Types of striae Stretch marks striae

Striae – the medical term for this problem – are normally red-mauve marks, with the marks having a satiny puckered crepe paper look, and may also be slightly swollen in some cases.

As they age, the red-mauve color normally fades to white but will have a silvery look to it, and will be very soft to the touch.

There are different types of stretch marks and the medical fraternity refers to striae gravidarum (in pregnancy), striae atrophicae, vergetures, stria distensae, striae cutis distensae, lineae atrophicae, striae distensae and linea albicante.

When we refer to striae – we refer to any stretch marks in general.

The width of these marks varies a lot (from 1 mm – 14 mm and in some cases even wider) and can be short thin marks covering a large area, or can be long, broad, and very pertinent stretch marks.

Stretch marks can appear on the abdomen, breasts, underarm, upper arms, thighs, hips, back and buttocks.

Medical view of striae

Although these unsightly marks do not carry any significant health risks it can affect the psychological well being of the patient, and also influence self-esteem.

This is particularly true in adolescents where peer pressure and self-actualization is important – and sufferers will not feel comfortable to let other people see these marks. Feelings of inferiority and resultant depression are not uncommon. REFERENCE 59

In most cases, the people affected with very noticeable stretch marks will not be seen in swim wear, and will also dress in such a way as to hide these marks at all times.

Although the marks do fade with time and become less obvious, a person may look to using a well formulated topical treatment for stretch marks – like our herbal Ageless Stretch Mark Gel.

The herbal ingredients (phytolastil) of our gel have been clinically tested to help prevent stretch marks and also to improve the appearance of already formed marks.

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

How are stretch marks formed Stretch marks striae

When you have excessive stretching of the skin, be that during rapid growth, pregnancy, muscle and body building, obesity etc. the skin needs to stretch in order to accommodate the increase in size.

When this increase in stretching is more than what the dermis can handle, or if the elasticity of the dermis is not right, the dermis will simply tear (cause splits) to accommodate the increased size.

Stretch marks do not simply appear spontaneously – the skin must be under stress for it to happen, and the health of the collagen is of prime importance. REFERENCE 7

This is further underscored by looking at people suffering from Marfan syndrome – a medical condition where patient’s collagen is also affected. REFERENCE 24 – 41

Collagen and elastin gives density, firmness and form to our skin, and when in good shape, the skin will be healthy and smooth.

The importance of healthy collagen and elastin in the skin has been well documented as being a deciding factor if stretch marks will form or not. The presence of excessive cortisol also seems to play a factor in the incidence rate of stretch marks.

Glucocorticoid, cortisol and hydrocortisone causing stretch marks

When these compounds are present in the body, the possibility of striae forming is increased due to the collagen being under attack.

This is particularly true when the glucocorticoid hormone prevents the fibroblast to form collagen and elastin. REFERENCE 8 - 11

The presence of excessive cortisol in the body is also a major influencing factor in the formation of stretch marks, as it influences the collagen and elastin structure of the skin. REFERENCE 83 + 84

This can be clearly seen with people suffering from Cushing’s syndrome. REFERENCE 12 – 23 When excessive hydrocortisone is present in pregnancy stretch marks are also more likely to form. REFERENCE 51

Stretch marks in pregnancy Stretch marks striae

As mentioned, about 70% of pregnant women may suffer from these marks and they normally start to appear in the 25th week of pregnancy. REFERENCE 2

In a study it was found that the age of pregnant women is important – as older women developed less striae than younger women. The weight of the women also had an impact and pregnant mothers that had increased Body Mass Index (BMI) also had more stretch marks. REFERENCE 3, 60, 61, 68 + 75

Consuming alcohol was also a factor and even the amount of water taken daily was checked.

The release of relaxin hormone during pregnancy also seems to play a part in the formation of striae. REFERENCE 63 - 67

A 92% success rate in the prevention of stretch marks in pregnancy was achieved in the clinical trial on the phytolastil herbal extracts used in our Ageless Stretch Mark Gel.

Rapid growth causing stretch marks

When children experience very rapid growth – even if obesity is not present – they do run the risk of developing stretch marks. This is because the skin does not keep pace with the growth rate of the rest of the body – and then causes stretch marks. REFERENCE 52 - 58 + 76 - 78

Our Ageless Stretch Mark Gel may be of help in this case as it helps to boost collagen manufacture and assists the elastin in the skin as well.

Body building and muscle building causing stretch marks

People that do body building run a risk of stretch marks forming and various factors could influence it. Since the “bulking” in muscle building normally requires excessive exercising, the cortisol level in the body can increase. This in turn can contribute to stretch marks forming.

To help prevent this from happening, a topical treatment like our Ageless Stretch Mark Gel with herbal phytolastil can be used.

Body builders must also take note that injecting anabolic steroids will also increase the possibility of stretch marks forming on the skin. REFERENCE 59 + 79 - 82

Obese patients and stretch marks

Although stretch marks in morbidly obese patients are due to the skin’s dermis not being able to handle the extensive stretching, and then causing striae, it was also noted that people with a BMI of 30 – 40 also had more trans-dermal water loss. REFERENCE 50

Removal of stretch marks Stretch marks striae

When you look around, thousands of products promise to remove and get rid of stretch marks.

Unfortunately – no topical cream, gel, oil, lotion or balm will totally remove already formed stretch marks. That is the plain truth.

Even medical laser intervention is not always very successful, and it is really only surgical removal by a very well qualified plastic surgeon that would remove stretch marks.

Since many companies target pregnant mothers to sell their "stretch mark preventing remedies" – a study was done on various such stretch mark treatments.

These studies found that the application of cocoa butter, olive oil and other moisturizing oils did NOT reduce the incidence of stretch marks being formed during pregnancy and it also did NOT reduce the appearance of already formed stretch marks. REFERENCE 4 - 6

The cocoa butter and oils moisturized the skin, and the striae looked better since the dry scaly look of the stretch marks were not visible with the butter or oil on the skin. This however did not have a lasting effect.

Some people have had mixed results with the application of tretinoin cream (Retin A) to stretch marks - and while a 0.1% cream had some effect, a 0.025% cream had no effect. REFERENCE 76 + 77

Other studies however proved that a cream or gel containing centella, vitamin E and collagen-elastin hydrosates helped to prevent stretch marks and also improved the aesthetics of old already formed stretch marks. REFERENCE 42 - 49

Our herbal Ageless Stretch Mark Gel with herbal phytolastil (including centella) will improve the way stretch marks look and a clinical trial on the ingredients proved it.

The gel has a 92% success rate in the prevention of stria in pregnancy, 52-86% curative action during pregnancy and 57% success on stretch marks after delivery - our clients with old stretch marks report a marked improvement in the way their old marks look after treatment.

Hiding your stretch marks

Some people believe that sun tanning makes it 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 would not be a good idea to suntan – as the striae itself has no melanin – and sun tanning may cause DNA damage in the skin as it has no melanin for protection.

Supplements to help prevent stretch marks Stretch marks striae

The body requires vitamin C (ascorbic acid) for collagen formation – and without it, the fibroblast cannot synthesize healthy collagen or elastin, so it may be a good idea to ensure that you get enough vitamin C, as the body cannot manufacture it.

Taking a supplement when pregnant may also be of use, but please discuss this with your medical practitioner and gynecologist.

It is recommended to take oral zinc (as picolinate) - 45 to 50 mg daily, Vitamin C - more than 1,000 mg daily and pyridoxal 5-phosphate - 50 mg daily as well as multivitamin and mineral supplements and essential fatty oils from flaxseed oil. There also seems to be benefit in taking vitamin B6 with the zinc in the prevention of striae. REFERENCE 85

Our herbal Ageless Stretch Mark Gel

Our herbal Ageless Stretch Mark Gel contains phenolic compounds, flavonoids, amino acids, soluble organic silicon, saponosids, bio-minerals and allantoins.

It is formulated with Centella. Calendula. Ginseng. Butcher’s broom. Chickweed, Green tea, Hibiscus, Horsetail, Ivy, Lady’s mantle and Marshmallow.

Benefits of the herbs used in our gel Stretch marks striae

Hereby a short summary of the benefits of each herb:

  • Centella
    • The compounds in centella stimulated the fibroblast - therefore improving the collagen and elastin in the skin, by boosting collagen formation and restoring skin firmness and elasticity. The triterpenes fix amino acids (alanine and proline) to the collagen structure and also improves circulation and skin elasticity, and prevents collagenase.
  • Calendula
    • Is superb with skin rejuvenation and regeneration, healing of wounds, reducing inflammation while softening the skin and at the same time re-mineralizing the skin with the oligoelements it contains. The carotenoids contained in calendula boost re-epithelizing of the skin which is a great help for healing any skin ailment.
  • Ginseng
    • As it stimulates protein synthesis in the skin ginseng helps to prevent collagen destruction and also inhibits fibroblast degradation in the skin - increasing tensile strength of the skin and stimulating skin growth.
  • Butcher's broom
    • It has excellent anti-inflammatory action and the stimulation of the capillaries and butcher’s broom also helps with lymph functioning and increases the tone of blood vessels.
  • Chickweed
    • Apart from protecting the skin cells against tissue degeneration chickweed also helps to sooth and calms the skin.
  • Green Tea
    • As an antioxidant, green tea prevents oxidative stress from free radicals and also helps prevent collagenase (the breaking down of collagen in the skin) and tones the skin with its astringent properties, while boosting cell regeneration and promoting a healthy elastic skin.
  • Hibiscus
    • It improves the cohesion of the skin and helps the skin to increase moisture and skin thickness. That results in a more elastic and flexible skin. Furthermore, hibiscus helps to prevent elastase and hyaluronidase - so it helps to prevent the destruction of elastin as well as hyaluronic acid.
  • Horsetail
    • Since it aids in re-mineralization of the skin with natural silica it improves skin firmness and elasticity as well as cell rejuvenation and regeneration. The Commission E (Germany) (the German counterpart of the US FDA) approved horsetail for its tissue repair action.
  • Ivy
    • It helps to protect the elastin fibers in the skin and ivy promotes better circulation as well as acting as a carrier agent for other ingredients - thereby increasing absorption.
  • Lady's Mantle
    • This herb helps to protect the elastin and lady’s mantle also prevents the breakdown of elastin while increasing skin elasticity and the tensile strength of the skin.
  • Marshmallow
    • This helps with any type of wound repair and boosts the skin at cellular level by containing cellular oxidation. Marshmallow also protects hyaluronic acid and thereby increases skin moisture and improves the skin structure.

Our unique Ageless formula is far superior to other products containing phytolastil – as they only use 3 herbal extracts

  • Lady’s mantle
  • Ivy
  • Horsetail

Our super effective formula contains those 3 herbal extracts, but for added effectiveness our researchers added 9 more herbal ingredients to make our formulation “a class of its own”.

Thousands of happy clients over more than a decade stand testament to the wonderful results we get to prevent stretch marks from forming and also improving the appearance of old stretch marks.

Using our Ageless Stretch Mark Gel Stretch marks striae

The Ageless Stretch Mark Gel can be used while pregnant and lactating.

Our gel is water based and easily absorbed – leaving no oily residue or tackiness on the skin.

Apply the gel twice day to the affected area.

If using it to help reduce the appearance of old stretch marks, improvement will be noted after 30 days of daily application – and the full results seen after about three months.

Closing notes

There are NO miracle cures to totally remove old stretch marks – it is physically impossible.

Newly formed blemishes respond better than old ones, but all can be treated.

Should you have very bad old stretch marks, our effective gel will NOT remove the marks, but it WILL improve the appearance of these old stretch marks.

After treating old stretch marks the appearance will greatly improve, but if you again gain excessive weight or become pregnant the marks may become more prominent once more.

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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.
  • 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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