What are Stretch Marks and What Can You Do to Get Rid of Them?
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Mostly everyone has stretch marks. They are a type of scar on the skin and are referred to as “striae” by doctors. Stretch marks are caused by a tear on the deeper layer of the skin known as the dermis, usually due to an abrupt stretching of the skin’s tissue. When the collagen and elastin are affected, it results in a permanent scar once healed and becomes a stretch mark that can be seen.
Stretch marks are initially dark in color and usually red or purple when they first appear. They may be raised above the skin, itchy and slightly puffy. Over time, they can look better and appear flatter and paler in color.
Who Is at Risk for Stretch Marks?
Everyone can develop stretch marks, but some people are more likely to develop them than others. Elevated hormone levels such as those found in pregnant women or individuals who have a family history of stretch marks are most likely to have them. Teens often develop them as well as their bodies change and grow. People who weight train and those whose weight fluctuates are also likely to develop stretch marks. Even using certain medications that can cause the skin to become thinner, such as corticosteroids, can result in stretch marks.
How Can You Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
Just like any other type of scar on the body, stretch marks are permanent. However, scar massages can help to improve the appearance of stretch marks if they’re done early enough. A scar massage is done by applying pressure on the stretch mark or scar. Once a stretch mark or scar suddenly appears, the best thing to do is perform the massage at least once per day. It takes one year for the scar to become completely mature.
Limited research has been done on red stretch marks but it’s believed that hyaluronic acid and tretinoin are beneficial in improving their pigment. Vascular laser treatments can also improve the look of these stretch marks. However, in spite of these treatments, the stretch marks will never truly vanish.
Can Anything Be Done to Prevent Stretch Marks?
It might be possible to prevent stretch marks. One thing that may be able to help is to keep well hydrated. Another is to avoid gaining an excessive amount of weight, as rapid weight gain can damage and stretch the skin. Although research hasn’t discovered any products that can prevent stretch marks, the best things to do are to control the changes to your body and weight and keep your skin healthy.
Are There Any Surgical Options?
For stretch marks appearing on the lower abdomen following pregnancy, there is a procedure that can eliminate them. A tummy tuck involves removing the skin from below the belly button and tightening the upper skin and abdominal muscles. This procedure should only be performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon.
If you’re in Maryland and want to know about your options regarding stretch marks, contact Cosmetic Surgery Associates to schedule a consultation. Our team is dedicated to providing optimal care for our patients, and we will help you find the treatment that is right for you.
Our Plastic Surgery Associates team includes Dr. Franklin Richards, Dr. A. Dean Jabs, and Dr. Keshav Magge. Each of our plastic surgeons is board-certified, and together they have over 60 years of combined experience. Drs. Richards, Jabs, and Magge are all highly qualified in procedures for the face, breast, and body, and pride themselves in providing excellent results through our state-of-the-art, Quad A certified operating centers