Scientists discover cure for stretch marks

By Fiona Macrae

Stretch marks arise when deep layers of the skin are stretched and torn, essentially creating a miniature wound. Photo / Getty
Stretch marks arise when deep layers of the skin are stretched and torn, essentially creating a miniature wound. Photo / Getty

Stretch marks may soon fade from memory thanks to a cream which is claimed to stop them in their tracks. And its secret weapon? Green tea.

Solution for Stretch Marks is billed as the first effective treatment and could help older mothers, whose skin is more prone to scarring.

The culmination of four years of research at the University of Manchester, its key ingredient is a compound found in green tea which calms red, angry skin.

The lotion, which has just been launched, is designed to tackle marks as they appear, so is not expected to have any effect on existing ones.

Stretch marks arise when deep layers of the skin are stretched and torn, essentially creating a miniature wound, and a wide variety of ointments claim to reverse the damage.

However, a recent review in the British Journal of Dermatology concluded that very few actually work, causing anxiety for women.

The name of the special compound in Solution for Stretch Marks is a trade secret but green tea is drunk in the Far East to ease eczema and other skin conditions.

Dr Ardeshir Bayat, the lotion's co-inventor and an expert in wound healing, said that unlike other stretch mark creams, the ointment "actually penetrates the skin and works on a much deeper level".

Douglas McGeorge, the cream's other creator, said most existing treatments merely moisturise the skin. He added: "More than ever we're seeing women have children later in life. Their skin doesn't "snap back" into shape as normally it would in younger mums.

"With glamorous celebrity mothers regularly photographed in swimsuits and bikinis, there's a natural search by women for treatments to try and maintain a youthful appearance of their tummies and thighs and combat the inevitable toll mature skin takes through pregnancy - namely stretch marks."

The lotion costs £39.99 ($NZD86) for 100ml and should be rubbed in twice a day from the first sign of problems.

Green tea has previously been found to safeguard healthy skin cells, while killing cancer cells.

In 2003, Dr Stephen Hsu, a cell biologist at the Medical College of Georgia in the US, studied the most abundant green tea micronutrient, EGCG. His team tracked the normal growth of skin cells and compared it to the growth of cells when exposed to EGCG.

Dr Hsu said: "Cells that migrate toward the surface of the skin normally live about 28 days, and by day 20, they basically sit on the upper layer of the skin getting ready to die. But EGCG reactivates them. I was so surprised."

- Daily Mail

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