Stretch Marks 101

Stretch marks form when the dermis, or the layer of skin between the fat and the epidermis, gets stretched. Stretchmarks are parts of the skin where the collagen and elastic fibers have decreased along with reduced blood vessels.

Stretch marks usually happen when the skin is rapidly stretched within a short amount of time, like during adolesence when growth spurts occur, or during pregnancy. According to studies, 90% of pregnant women get stretch marks. Some factors to consider during pregnancy and the possibility of getting stretch marks is the amount of weight a woman gains and the increase in abdominal and hip girth.

There are two types of stretch marks: Red stretch marks and white stretch marks. Red marks are new and have recently developed. They gradually turn purple or even darker sometimes (it varies between each person’s skin pigmentation). The red coloration is because of the bleeding that occurs at the dermal level.

White stretch marks are older stretch marks that have healed over time. The scarred tissue of white stretch marks has lost its pigmentation and has also shrunk.

Treatment for stretch marks include over-the-counter creams for recently-developed ones and to prevent the appearance of future ones. These products increase the collagen level of the dermis to promote elasticity and also help hydrate the skin. These creams also decrease the possibility of inflammation and scarring.

For older stretch marks require more than just creams and are usually done in a dermatologist’s clinic. These include microdermabrasion, microneedling PRP, and laser therapies. Because these older stretch marks have become essentially scars.

If you are concerned about the appearance of stretch marks on your body, don’t hesitate to contact your dermatologist for an evaluation and discussion of treatment options.

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