Stretch marks / striae are long, narrow streaks, lines or stripes that develop on the surface of the skin.They are also known as striae. They occur when the skin fails to resume its normal form after an episode of rapid expansion or contraction. Myth has it that stretch marks are a result exclusively due to weight gain.
Striae tends to affect more women than men. Most common causes are pregnancy and sudden weight gain or weight loss. At least 6 out of 10 women experience stretch marks during and post pregnancy.
The most common areas affected by stretch marks include:
- buttocks, and
Can striae / stretch marks be harmful?
While it’s true that striae are scars or disfiguring lesions but they are certainly NOT physically harmful. They do not pose a threat of any kind.
The only issue one may face is that of a low self-image and of anxiety. People, who are extremely conscious of their appearance, are emotionally affected by the presence of stretch marks.
Why do striae appear?
The skin consists of three layers. Stretch marks typically form in the middle layer, the dermis. Skin has this amazing ability to expand and contract. It is this middle layer (dermis) that helps maintain shape and elasticity. When this layer stretches beyond its tolerance, stretch marks start to appear. When the skin stretches, the connective fibers tend to break and disrupt collagen formation.This causes scarring known as stretch marks.
Before stretch marks begin to emerge, the skin can appear thin and pink. It may also feel irritated or itchy.
The marks initially develop as wrinkly, raised streaks that can be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown or dark brown, depending on skin color. The streaks eventually fade and flatten and tend to change to a silvery color over time.
How to remove stretch marks?
While stretch marks are not painful,they can be cosmetically discomforting. There are various treatment options available for reduction of stretch marks.
- Topical anti-stretch mark creams
- Microneedling RF
- Fractional CO2 and 585 nm pulsed dye LASER done every 2-3 weeks – LASER treatment for stretch marks removal is gaining increasing popularity. It is non-invasive and painless and gives good results
- Fractional Radiofrequency
- Chemical Peeling
Of all the listed options, Microneedling RF and laser treatment for stretch marks removal seem to be the most popular.
Now, how does laser treatment for stretch marks work?
We already established that stretchmarks appear when collagen formation is hindered. Laser is effective because it stimulates collagen formation in the deeper layers of the skin covering up the long,narrow lines. This treatment is done under topical anaesthetic. For desired results, it may require 8-10 sittings, 3-4 weeks apart.
Stretch marks may not completely disappear.The marks become unnoticeable and this is the expectation we want to set with every patient.
If you would like to get your stretch marks treated, please do connect with us.