Stretch Marks: Concerns

What Are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks, medically known as striae, are streaks or lines that appear on the surface of the skin due to rapid stretching or shrinking. Initially, they may appear red, purple or pink and often fade to a silvery white over time. Although completely harmless and don’t pose any health risks, some people can be self-conscious about them and want to reduce their appearance.

Symptoms of stretch marks

The appearance of stretch marks varies based on skin type and tone, but usually appear as discoloured streaks on the skin that are initially red or purple, fading to a silvery white over time, but still remain visible. Some stretch marks can be quite deep and lead to indentations on the skin, or can also appear raised, and may sometimes by itchy or painful. Stretch marks are commonly experienced during periods of rapid growth, weight gain or weight loss, such as pregnancy, adolescence, or body building. They appear on areas where the skin undergoes significant changes, such as the abdomen, thighs, hips, breasts and upper arms.

Causes

The primary cause of stretch marks is the stretching of the skin beyond it’s elastic capacity. This can occur during pregnancy, puberty or due to rapid weight fluctuations. The stretching leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, the proteins responsible for skin elasticity and structure. Genetic factors, hormonal changes and certain medical condition can also contribute to the development of stretch marks.

Treatments

Microneedling – a course of microneedling sessions can be a transformative solution for stretch marks; by creating a controlled micro-injury to the skin it forces your skin to go into ‘healing mode’. This stimulates the natural formation of extra collagen and elastin, plumping out any atrophic stretch marks and creating a much more even texture and smooth appearance to the skin. Optimal results are typically noticeable 6-8 weeks after treatment and continue to enhance skin quality for up to a year. The best results are often seen after a course of 4-6 sessions at 2-6 week intervals.

 

Skincare – topical skincare products that contain ingredients such as retinoids, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid can stimulate collagen production and help to plump out the skin. Using high grade ingredients consistently is key to improving the texture of the skin.

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