Stretch Marks: Causes & How To Get Rid of Them

Stretch marks are scars that form on the skin after it stretches abnormally. They can appear during pregnancy and weight gain, as well as after weight loss or bodybuilding. Treatments can include laser treatment, microdermabrasion, radiofrequency treatment, and chemical peels.

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are scarring on the skin caused by rapid growth or rapid shrinking of your body. It’s common in pregnancy, but it can appear at any age.

Stretch marks generally appear on your:

  • Abdominal area (stomach).
  • Thighs.
  • Hips.
  • Breasts (boobs).
  • Upper arms.
  • Lower back.
  • Buttocks (butt).

Who do stretch marks affect?

Stretch marks can occur to anyone. However, stretch marks are more likely to develop if:

  • If you’re Black, Hispanic, East Asian, or South Asian, you’re pregnant.
  • A sudden weight gain or loss occurs.
  • As a result of bodybuilding or weightlifting, your muscles grow quickly.
  • During adolescence, you are experiencing a growth spurt.
  • The stretch marks in your family have a genetic component.

How common are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are common during pregnancy. Stretch marks develop in 50% to 90% of pregnant women.

How do stretch marks affect my body?

Stretch marks can affect your mental health. They make you worry about how others look at you, which can make you anxious and depressed. You may even experience stress, anxiety, and depression.

What are the symptoms of stretch marks?

Symptoms of stretch marks include:

  • Sunken lines in your skin.
  • There is discoloration (red, pink, blue, black, purple, or brown).
  • Silver or white streaks appear on the skin gradually.
  • Itchiness.
  • Irritation.

How are stretch marks diagnosed?

Stretch marks are generally easy to diagnose. They show up on the skin when a layer of skin is pulled too tight and then stretched, causing tiny tears in the top layer. They can appear anywhere but usually occur in more visible areas like the breasts and abdomen.

If you see your physician and it’s determined that your stretch marks are caused by Cushing’s syndrome, they’ll probably assign you a specialist to coordinate testing and provide treatment plans.

How are stretch marks treated?

Treating stretch marks isn’t easy. You can buy a lot of expensive creams and costly laser treatments, but most of them won’t work for everyone. In general, treating stretch marks is difficult. Treatment can improve stretch marks, but they may not disappear completely. You will get the best results if you address stretch marks as soon as they appear.

Treatment options include:

Laser Treatment:

Stretch marks can be treated in a variety of ways. One of the most effective is laser resurfacing. The CO2 laser delivers pulses of energy that trigger cells to produce chemicals needed to enhance collagen production. A natural healing response is triggered, which reduces the appearance of stretch marks.

Chemical Peels:

Chemical peels can help diminish the appearance of stretch marks by reducing exfoliation or sloughing off the top layers of your skin. While these peels do remove excess dead skin cells, they also trigger new cell growth to look after these areas, helping fade stretch marks and make them slightly smaller.

Microdermabrasion:

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive procedure performed through a wand-like device that sprays tiny crystals onto the skin. The crystals “sandblast” the top skin layer, reducing the appearance of stretch marks. As a result, the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers are tightened. Microdermabrasion is ideal for reducing visible signs of aging, improving acne scars and age spots, and reducing pore size.

Radiofrequency Treatment:

Radiofrequency treatment is an effective and comfortable way to remove stretch marks. During this treatment, radiofrequency energy is administered to the skin area with stretch marks. As a result of this energy penetration, collagen production is stimulated, transforming the skin’s appearance.

If I have stretch marks, what should I expect?

Stretch marks aren’t harmful to your physical health, but they can be very hard to treat. Even without treatment, they will become less noticeable over time.

When should I see my healthcare provider?

If you’re concerned about the appearance of your skin, talk to a dermatologist. If you have stretch marks, but they aren’t bothering you, then it isn’t necessary to see your healthcare provider about them.

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