What stretch marks really are – and what you can do if you’re bothered by them
What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are fine lines on the body caused by sudden changes in growth or overstretching. These are caused by torn tissues under the skin and is a common condition in many people. Stretch marks do not cause significant medical problems but are often considered a cosmetic concern, especially in visible areas. Other names for stretch marks are striae distensae, striae atrophicans, striae rubra (which are red) and striae alba (white).
Who gets stretch marks?
Stretch marks affect women more than men. They usually occur in areas of the body that are prone to progressive and continuous stretching. Stretch marks are commonly found in:
* Pregnant women (abdomen and breast)
* Adolescents undergoing growth spurts (thighs, buttocks, breasts)
* Bodybuilders (shoulders)
* Obese or overweight people
Stretch marks can also occur from prolonged use of oral or topical corticosteroids and from anabolic steroids. They are also a feature of a disease called Cushing’s syndrome, where increased activity in the adrenal cortex (excessive production of the steroid hormone cortisol) is implicated in their development.
What do stretch marks look like?
Stretch marks, when developing may occasionally be itchy. The area of the affected skin becomes pink, flattened and thin. Shortly after, striae rubra which consists of reddish or purplish lines develops, showing in directions perpendicular to the skin tension. These reddish or purplish lines lighten over time to become striae alba, which is flesh-coloured or whitish and is less conspicuous.
Stretch marks are usually several centimetres long and about 1–10mm wide. Some of these stretch marks that are caused by usage of corticosteroid, or resulting from Cushing’s syndrome, are often larger and wider, and may involve other regions.
What treatment is available?
Stretch marks are usually thought of as only a cosmetic problem. However, they may be a cause of concern if a medical illness causes the striae (such as Cushing’s syndrome), or if the patient is on steroids.
The following treatments may help:
* Moisturising oils
* Topical retinoid therapy
* Chemical peels
* Fractional CO2 laser
Stretch marks are a very common disorder in all age groups. These are linear depressions of the skin, which form in areas of dermal damage as a result of the stretching of the skin. They are usually associated with physiological conditions such as puberty, growth, weight changes, pregnancy,obesity and situations that lead to an excess of cortisol.
At the beginning they appear as red or violet raised lines, which can measure several centimeters in length and with a variable width. With time they become atrophic.
Although they are more frequent in women, especially in breasts, thighs, hips and buttocks or, in the case of pregnant women, abdomen; They also appear in men, with the shoulders, thighs and lumbosacral region being the most affected areas.
Stretch marks do not have medical consequences, but they can cause psychological problems to those who suffer them.
For this reason, Mi amor Clinic wants to provide you with some options to prevent and eliminate them.
Stretch marks prevention
The basis to avoid annoying stretch marks is the elasticity of the skin. Therefore, the main thing to prevent its appearance is to provide the skin with the necessary elements to preserve its elasticity, especially when changes in volume are foreseen.
Hydration is fundamental in this process. Apply moisturizers in the areas most prone to the appearance of stretch marks helps to avoid them. The hydration of the organism through the intake of water is also paramount.
Practicing sports on a regular basis helps maintain smooth skin, as well as massages, which help improve blood flow, or showers of hot and cold water.
Treatments to eliminate stretch marks
In the case that we already have stretch marks in some areas of the body, there are several topical treatments that can improve their appearance. Each of these treatments must be indicated by a the dr dermatologist mi-amor after having submitted the patient to detailed and particular studies in each case.
Treatments such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels or lasers are used effectively to reduce the visibility of stretch marks. Depending on the characteristics of each patient, the dermatologist will recommend a type of treatment or the combination of several techniques.
If you want to know more details about how to eliminate stretch marks, consult with our professionals at mi-amor
It’s important to understand that no single treatment works for everyone — our professionals dermatologist can decide your treatment depend on your case ;call us to know more