What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are bands of parallel lines, which is in different colour and texture from your normal skin. The colour can range from purple to bright pink to light gray. Stretch mark is felt like a slight ridge or indentation on your skin. It is usually symptomless, though sometimes felt itchy or sore.
Stretch marks commonly occur during or after pregnancy or after a sudden change in your weight. They also tend to occur in adolescents who are rapidly growing. Some stretch mark will disappear over time, but some will persist for long time. Stretch marks usually happen on your stomach, thigh, back of leg, breasts, upper arms and buttocks.
The risk factors of developing stretch marks include:
• history of delivering large babies or twins
• dramatic weight loss or gain
• corticosteroid medications
• family history of stretch marks
• overweight/ obese
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks have been found to be a result of skin stretching and an increase of cortisone in your body. Cortisone is a hormone naturally produced by your adrenal glands, which can make your skin lose its elasticity.
What are the treatment options for stretch marks?
Some stretch marks can disappear over time, whereas some will persist. There is no test to predict which stretch mark will disappear. There are treatments that can improve their appearance but no treatment can make the stretch marks disappear completely.
There are several ways to improve the appearance of stretch marks:
• Tretinoin cream works by restoring collagen that helps give your skin elasticity. It is useful on recent stretch marks that are red or pink. However, this cream may cause skin irritation and it is contraindicated in pregnancy.
• Pulsed dye laser therapy target the red colour stretch mark effectively by encouraging the growth of collagen and elastin. It is effective in fresh new stretch marks.
• Fractional Microneedling RF is effective in older stretch mark which turn brown or whitish colour. It works by creating fractionated thermal injury on the targeted stretch mark area which in turn stimulate new collagen and elastin to strengthen the stretch mark tissue.
• Microdermabrasion uses tiny crystals to remove dead skin and reveal new skin that is under the more elastic stretch marks. Microdermabrasion can improve the appearance of older stretch marks.
How Can I Prevent Stretch Marks?
There is no way to prevent stretch marks completely, but some stretch mark cream can reduce the risk of stretch marks. Keeping your weight in a healthy range by eating well and exercising regularly can help to prevent stretch marks too.