Stretch marks are narrow streaks or lines of different color and texture in comparison with the normal skin. The texture of stretch marks may feel like indentation on skin. These grooves are not harmful in nature but can certainly affect your self-confidence.
The occurrence of stretch marks is linked with excessive stretching of the skin over a period which then lose its tendency to resume to normal. The skin loses its elasticity with the lack of collagen (protein compound) in skin which leads to stretches. The major causes of these narrow stripes are;
- Sudden weight changes
- Surgeries for breast implant
- Body building
- Genetic disorder
The rippled marks can develop anywhere on the body depending on the area that gets affected. These marks range from pink to purple or grey in color. The common areas that are prone to stretch marks are breasts, upper arms, stomach, thighs, back and buttocks.
Who is at Risk?
Being pregnant: The appearance of stretch marks is common in women during or after pregnancy as it causes excessive stretching of the skin around the stomach. Hormone pills during pregnancy can also lead to weakening of skin cells that cause marks of stretch.
Being obese or over weight: Obesity can cause stretch marks in both men and women.
Body builders: People who do gym and are indulged in body building can experience stretch marks later, on the areas where muscles bulge.
Adolescents: During puberty, body undergoes sudden changes in height, weight and hormones. These changes may cause stretch marks.
Genetic disorder: Stretch marks may be caused due to family heredity or gene disorder.
Medical condition: Some medical conditions such as Marfan syndrome Cushing's syndrome reduces skin elasticity. Moreover, the person may experience sudden weight gain due to these two conditions which makes the skin prone to marks.
People using corticosteroid: Creams and lotions that contain corticosteroid diminish the collagen levels of skin. This leads the skin to reduce its elasticity and strength increasing the chances of stretch marks.
Once you decide to treat your stretch marks to achieve even skin, your doctor will first diagnose the condition. In the diagnosis procedure the doctor will look at your stretch marks to see its severity and ask your medical history to find the cause.
Stretch marks are something unwanted and you want to fade those marks to look your best and ward off that anxiety. Sometimes, these marks can fade over time. However, if this is not the case with you, or you are the one who want instant results, you can go with treatments to faint stretch marks.
Some medical treatments to fade the appearance of stretch marks:-
Tretinoin creams: These creams come with a compound called Retin-A. It contains retinoid that works well to restore collagen in skin. Collagen is a protein compound that maintains the elasticity of skin making it easier to repair. Tretinoin creams are best effective on new stretch marks that may be slight pink in color. These creams can irritate the skin. Pregnant women should avoid the usage.
Fractional CO2 laser therapy: This technique also uses laser energy to treat the effected area. It targets smaller regions of stretch marks on skin.
Microdermabrasion: This method is effective on both new and old stretch marks. It involves skin rejuvenation. The skin area with stretch marks is polished with tiny crystals that gently sands away the rippled skin and reveals a new, more elastic skin.
MNRF: Microneedling radiofrequency has multiple needle depths per pass allowing it to act on different levels of dermis.Mechanism involved is neocollagenisation by stimulating growth factors.
It is difficult to completely prevent stretch marks. However, you can follow certain habits to reduce its effect.
- Maintain a healthy weight by including regular exercises in your routine.
- Have a balanced diet with portions of vitamin A and C in your diet. Zinc and silicon are also beneficial to maintain skin elasticity.
- Women should consider gradual weight gain and loss during and after pregnancy.
- Drink minimum two liters of water in a day.
- Use cream, oils and lotions to reduce the chances and effect of marks.
Dr. Jasdeep Kaur
MBBS , DDVLDoctor Profile