What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks, also known as striae, are long, narrow streaks, stripes, or lines that develop on the skin. They often have a different texture and colour than the surrounding skin and can vary in appearance. These marks typically occur when the skin is stretched beyond its normal limits, causing the collagen and elastin fibers in the dermis (the middle layer of the skin) to break.

What are the causes of stretch marks?

There are many different factors that can result in stretch marks.

  • Rapid Growth or Weight Gain: One of the most common causes is rapid growth during puberty, pregnancy, or periods of significant weight gain. The skin may not be able to keep up with the changes in the body's size, leading to the formation of stretch marks.
  • Pregnancy: Women commonly develop stretch marks during pregnancy, especially in areas such as the abdomen, breasts, hips, and thighs. The rapid expansion of the uterus and weight gain during pregnancy contribute to the development of stretch marks.
  • Genetics: Some individuals are more genetically predisposed to developing stretch marks. If your family members have had stretch marks, you may be more likely to develop them as well.
  • Corticosteroid Use: Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications can reduce the skin's collagen levels, making it more prone to stretch marks.
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Morpheus8 Radiofrequency skin tightening performed by our doctors, nurses and therapists. 

While it's challenging to completely eliminate stretch marks, several treatments and options are available that may help improve their appearance:

  • Topical Creams and Oils: Various creams and oils, such as those containing retinoids, hyaluronic acid, or vitamin E, are marketed to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. However, the effectiveness of these products can vary, and results may not be consistent.
  • Laser Therapy: Laser treatments, such as fractional laser therapy, can stimulate collagen production and improve the appearance of stretch marks. Multiple sessions may be required, and results can vary.
  • Microdermabrasion: This involves exfoliating the skin to remove the outer layer, promoting the growth of new, healthier skin. It may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
  • Microneedling: This involves using a device with fine needles to create micro-injuries in the skin, stimulating collagen production. Microneedling may improve the appearance of stretch marks over time.
  • Prescription Medications: In some cases, healthcare providers may prescribe tretinoin (Retin-A) to improve the appearance of stretch marks. This medication works by promoting collagen production and improving skin texture.

It's essential to note that while these treatments may help reduce the visibility of stretch marks, complete removal may not be achievable, and results can vary from person to person. Book a consultation with our team at CLNQ to discuss the most appropriate treatment options for your specific situation. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including staying hydrated and moisturizing the skin regularly, may contribute to overall skin health.

Reza Nassab FRCS Plast

Reza Nassab FRCS Plast

This page has been medically reviewed by Mr Nassab, consultant plastic surgeon.  

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