Stretch marks, or “striae gravidarum” are scars on the skin that are often red or purple to start with. Over time, they will gradually fade to become a silvery-white colour. These scars are usually long and thin.
Although stretch marks can occur anywhere on the body, they are usually found in areas where fat is stored such as tummy, thighs, breasts, upper arms, buttocks, and shoulders. They are often due to certain life events such as:
PREGNANCY Stretch marks often occur during the last stage of pregnancy. It is very common to develop stretch marks, affecting about 8 out of 10 pregnant women. Your skin type and the elasticity of the skin affects whether you get them or not.
As your baby grows and the skin stretches, you may get stretch marks on the tummy. You may also develop them around your thighs and breasts as they grow in size during pregnancy.
Although they may disappear after childbirth, not all of them will fade.
RAPID WEIGHT GAIN If you put on weight rapidly over a short period of time, there is a chance you may get stretch marks. Although they may fade after you eventually lose weight, not all will disappear completely.
If you are on a diet plan that causes your weight to fluctuate, you may strain your skin and cause it to stretch and shrink rapidly over time.
PUBERTY Your hormones often cause your body to grow quickly and sometimes your skin stretches very fast. Boys may develop stretch marks on their shoulders and back and girls usually get them on their hips, thighs and breasts.
SKIN TYPE Your skin type determines if you will develop stretch marks easily. Collagen is a protein that helps keep your skin flexible and stretchable. The less collagen you have in your skin, the more likely you will develop them.
Generally, they occur when your skin rapidly stretches suddenly and it causes the dermis to tear, allowing the deeper layers of the skin to show. The tears in the dermis allow the blood vessels to show, which is why they are often red or purple when they are first formed.
Treating stretch marks can be very tricky as they are often affect a large area of your body. Once they form, treating them will require stimulating collagen, to heal the tears in the dermis. These include resurfacing lasers, and skin tightening procedures such as TriLipo Body Contouring.
Know Your Problems
- Stretch marks are a type of scar, which forms due to the tearing of the dermis from rapid expansion and changes in weight.
- When treated early, the results are better.
- Treatment will involve laser resurfacing, and other collagen stimulating treatments such as TriLipo Body Contouring.