The skin is the body's largest organ and has the remarkable ability to expand and contract as needed. The skin is strong and elastic, but its supporting tissues can be damaged if they are stretched too far or too quickly.
Contents of this article :
- What are stretch marks and reasons of stretch marks?
- Modern treatments for stretch marks
- Alternative and home remedies for stretchmarks
The stretch marks
Usually stretch marks are small, depressed streaks in the skin that appear most often on the abdomen in the later stages of pregnancy when the belly is rapidly expanding to accommodate a growing baby.Some women also get them on their buttocks, thighs, hips, and breasts.
Stretch marks are a common problem that affects men and women of nearly all ages and skin types. Around 80-90 percent of women get stretch marks during pregnancy, though they also affect men, women, and teenagers.
Stretch marks, also known as striae and this is a form of scarring on the skin with an off-color hue. Overtime they may diminish, but will not disappear completely. Stretch marks are caused by changes in the elastic supportive tissue that lies just beneath the skin. They start out pink, reddish brown, purple, or dark brown, depending on your skin color. They later fade, although they never totally disappear.
When the middle layer of skin gets stretched too quickly, some of its collagen fibers can break. This allows underlying blood vessels to show through, leaving behind the telltale red or purplish marks.
Overtime, they fade to a white or silver color as blood vessels heal. Typically,the marks don't go away fully. Though they are not physically painful, stretchmarks can affect a person's confidence and self-esteem. They can be disfiguring in severe cases.
Because of their psychological effects, experts have tried for years to find an effective treatment for these marks. Unfortunately, no treatment has been shown to erase them fully. New ways of treating stretch marks are emerging, however,and some of them show promise.
Reasons for having stretch marks
Some people get stretch marks and others don't the reason is unclear. Some people may simply be more prone to getting stretch marks due to genetics or certain hormone levels.
The“American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology” in a research suggests that women who are pregnant at a younger age tend to get them more frequently, as do women who gain more weight during pregnancy. However, these factors alone do not guarantee a woman will get stretch marks.
Again higher levels of steroid hormones in the body appear to play a role in some cases. People who have Cushing disease tend to get stretch marks more frequently than those who don't have this condition.
Similarly, people who are taking steroid medications or using topical steroid creams may be more likely to get stretchmarks. Experts believe this is because steroid hormones may weaken collagen in the skin, making it more likely to break.
Present-day Treatments for stretch marks
Treatments available through skin doctors and plastic surgeons offer some hope for reducing the appearance of stretch marks. Though no solution has been shown to work for everyone, many patients find success with some of the following treatments.
1. Plastic surgeryPlastic surgery
Plastic surgery is good treatment for removing stretch marks. A tummy tuck, thigh lift,and other such procedures work by removing excess skin and tightening remaining skin and tissue. They are often suggested for people who have sagging skin due to weight loss or pregnancy. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons,the ideal candidate for this surgery:
- Is at a stable weight and in good health
- Does not smoke
- Has realistic expectations about what the surgery can do
These procedures are not specifically designed to remove stretch marks. However, losing the marks can be an added benefit when the affected skin is removed from the body.
However,if the skin is not loose, this type of plastic surgery may not be an option.Patients should discuss possible risks and benefits with their surgeon before undergoing any surgical procedure.