About Stretch Marks and Proper Treatment

Stretch marks, known medically as striae distensae, is a common condition characterized by the appearance of linear streaks on skin that has been overstretched. These lines are usually different in color and texture than the skin is and run perpendicular to maximum lines of tension in the skin. They mostly occur near the chest, abdomen, groin, thighs, and armpits and begin as flat red lines. With time, these flat red lines turn into slightly depressed white streaks.

Stretch marks are mostly experienced during pregnancy or when someone experiences a sudden change in their body weight. These marks are usually not dangerous to anyone and disappear after some time.

What causes stretch marks?

There is an ongoing argument that for stretch marks to occur, the elastic fibers of the deeper layer of the skin or the dermis seems to have been damaged. This damage is accompanied by inflammation which soon brings scar-like changes. All these results due to the excessive physical stretching of the skin. Some of the clinical situations that may lead to this includes:

Rapid weight gain – This is one of the most common causes of stretch marks. The more a person is likely to gain weight in a short period of time the more severe the stretch marks will be. The amount of stretch marks will depend on the extent of a person’s weight gain.

Growth spurts – Just like rapid weight gain, during puberty the body grows and expands faster that the skin can handle. These leads to the appearance of stretch marks around the body of teenagers especially those who are overweight or have never experienced rapid weight gain in their lives.

Weightlifting – Stretch marks can also appear in people with the top physical condition. Those putting on muscle fast like weight lifters and athletes can also expect some stretch marks mostly around the arms and shoulders. This results because the muscles are growing too fast for the skin to handle them.

Pregnancy – This is the most common cause of stretch marks for women. During pregnancy, a woman’s stomach expands at a rapid pace. This usually leads to the development of stretch marks around the belly.

Hormones – One of the most common causes of stretch marks is the imbalance of hormones in the body. Hormonal changes mostly occur during obesity, puberty, pregnancy, and even during weight lifting. The hormonal imbalance that may occur due to the above conditions may tear the collagen and elastic fibers to tear overstretched skin and therefore leading to stretch marks.

What is the treatment for stretch marks?

There is no particular useful treatment for stretch marks, however, the use of physical modalities like ultrasound and lasers seems to have some future success. You can relieve the itchiness by moistening your skin through the application of self-tanning lotion.

How can I prevent stretch marks?

Though there is no way you can completely prevent stretch marks even after using creams and lotions, you can prevent their appearance by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Apart from controlling your body weight, there is little that can be done to prevent their appearance. If you live in Orange County California and are looking for a consultation, please contact Dermatologist OC today and see how they can help your skin related needs. 

About Barbara Bell