The skin is the largest organ of the body and has the exceptional capacity to expand and contract when needed. It is strong and elastic, but the tissues can damage if they stretch more than required.
This rapid expanding and contraction of skin may lead to stretch marks. Nearly 90% of women will get these stretch marks during their pregnancy. However, these stretch marks can affect all age people and skin types.
What Exactly Stretch Marks Are?
A stretch mark is like a scar that develops when the skin stretches or contract quickly. They are long, narrow streaks or stripes that develop over the skin. The rapid change of the skin causes the collagen and elastin that support our skin, to rupture. As the skin heals, they may appear as stretch marks. This is mainly when the skin cannot resume back to normal form after certain period of intense growth.
Anyone can get these stretch marks, mostly they tend to affect women more than men. They can occur on any part of body parts, which include the upper arms, thighs, stomach, hips, breasts and lower back.
At the beginning they look like red or purplish marks and over time, they will fade to a white or silver color.
What Are The Causes Of Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks might not be painful physically, but they can influence a person’s self confidence and self-esteem. The reason why people get these stretch marks remains clear. Some people are more prone to getting these stretch marks due to genetics or hormone levels. Some of the common causes for getting these stretch marks include
Pregnancy: 50 to 90% of pregnant women experience a type of stretch marks during or after birth.
Medical conditions: Certain conditions like Marfan syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome can cause stretch marks. Marfan syndrome can decrease the elasticity of the skin tissue and Cushing’s syndrome can produce too much hormone in the body that leads to rapid gain of weight and skin fragility.
Puberty: Rapid growth in young people going through puberty can also cause stretch marks.
Rapid Weight Gain: Gaining more weight in a short period of time can cause stretch marks.
Corticosteroid use: Prolonged usage of corticosteroid creams and lotions to the body can decrease the collagen levels of the skin and can increase the risk of getting stretch marks.
Some other risk factors involved in developing stretch marks could be linked to family history, certain chronic diseases, body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy, weight of a child in pregnant women etc.
Prevention of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks can’t be prevented in all situations. However, following these steps can help from the risk of getting them:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Use proper sun protection
- Avoid yo-yo dieting.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Avoid sudden weight gain
- Keep skin hydrated
Treatment for Stretch Marks
Many experts struggled for years to find an effective treatment to cure these stretch marks. Unfortunately, the treatments that has developed are not much effective. However, the new treatment procedures developed to cure stretch marks are showing promising results.
Retin-A: There is little evidence that tretinoin cream(retinoic acid) works and help to diminish early stretch marks.
Laser or light therapy: Laser therapy is the newest treatments for curing stretch marks which is effective in reducing their appearance.
Platelet-rich plasma(PRP) with ultrasound: PRP therapy has gained popularity to restore skin capacity by increasing collagen production.
Plastic surgery: It is a procedure of removing excess skin and tightening the remaining skin and tissue.
For more details and best treatment options contact our expert dermatologists at Padma Skin Clinic.