It’s bathing suit season! How many times have you stopped yourself as you reached for that teeny bikini or speedo and put your shorts and t-shirt on instead? Sometimes skin problems aren’t anything to worry about, but they sure can be embarrassing. That’s the case with stretch marks. They can be ugly and distressing. They can also be treated. Read on to learn more about what they are, what causes them, and what you can do to get rid of them.
What is a stretch mark?
Stretchmarks have many names: striae, striae distensae (SD), striae atrophicans, and striae gravidarum. All of those big words aside, a stretch mark is simply a scar the occurs when your skin stretches or shrinks too quickly. Abrupt changes to the skin can cause it to rupture. The word rupture may sound extreme, but you don’t have to worry. Stretch marks cause cosmetic imperfections but have no health risks. Your skin eventually heals, leaving a scar. No scarrings to the lucky few. The scar is commonly called a stretch mark.
You can probably guess where stretch marks appear the most often— anywhere that may grow or shrink quickly!
Even though they are not dangerous or cause any harm healthwise, stretch marks can make you feel self-conscious, affect your self-image and cause anxiety. For some, stretch marks can also be a significant cosmetic concern that affects their day-to-day lives.
What causes stretch marks?
As your body grows, the connecting fibers in the dermis (middle layer of the skin) slowly stretch to accommodate the growth. Rapid growth causes your skin to stretch suddenly. When your connective tissue is stretched beyond the limits of its elasticity, the middle layer tears, causing the deeper layers of your skin to show through. This slightly raised mark on your skin is a stretch mark. These marks will eventually fade to a silvery, white, or glossy appearance because the pale fat beneath the skin becomes visible instead of the blood vessels.
Although there are times in everyone’s life when extreme growth or shrinkage occurs, not everyone develops stretch marks. Your family history and your hormone levels may have an influence on whether or not you get stretch marks.
Common causes of stretch marks include:
Pregnancy: 50-90% of pregnant women develop stretch marks during or after birth.
Puberty: Kids can grow fast. Sometimes too fast. Rapid growth in young people going through puberty can lead to stretch marks.
Rapid weight gain: If you gain a lot of weight in a short period, you can get stretch marks.
Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions can cause stretch marks. For example, Marfan syndrome can cause a decrease in elasticity in the skin tissue, which increases the risk of stretch marks. Another is Cushing’s syndrome. This condition can cause an increase in a hormone that leads to rapid weight gain and skin fragility, thus increase the likelihood of getting stretch marks.
Corticosteroid use: One of the side effects of prolonged use of corticosteroid creams and lotions is a decrease in collagen levels in the skin. Collagen is crucial in keeping the skin firm and supple. Low collagen levels can increase the risk of stretch marks.
More research is still needed to confirm the risk factors behind stretch marks. So far, studies have shown that risk factors include:
When stretch marks begin to develop, your skin may appear thin and pink and feel itchy or irritated. Stretch marks initially emerge as raised, wrinkly streaks. Depending on your skin color, they may be purple, red, pink, dark-brown of reddish-brown. Over time, they will fade, flatten and change to a silvery color.
Will they ever go away?
Stretch marks are scars. Scars are permanent. Stretchmarks will become less and less noticeable over the years, but they will never go away on their own.
How to get rid of stretch marks
Treatment may make stretch marks less noticeable and alleviate the itch. However, no single treatment works for everyone. Many products on the market don’t work at all.
Stretch mark creams, lotions, and gels:
No one product seems to help all of the time. Some don’t help at all. If you choose to use these products, you will have the best results if you use them earlier rather than later. Once stretch marks mature, these types of products will have little effect. Even when they work, results take weeks to appear.
Tanning can make stretch marks more noticeable, but self-tanner can camouflage stretch marks. Although self-tanner can’t get rid of stretch marks, it can make early, and mature stretch marks less noticeable. You will have to apply the tanner regularly.
Hyaluronic acid, Retinol, and Tretinoin applied topically have been found to make early stretch marks less noticeable. Tretinoin and Retinol are types of retinoids that should not be used during pregnancy.
Studies have shown that in-office procedures are more effective than creams, lotions, and gels at making stretch marks less noticeable. Chemical peels, laser therapy, microdermabrasion, radiofrequency, and ultrasound are all non-invasive procedures that can be performed safely and effectively at a dermatologist’s office. We have found that laser therapy is the most effective and comfortable treatment to reduce stretch marks.
Laser stretch mark removal
Store-bought stretch mark treatments can be expensive. Finding products that work can cost you precious time and money. We specialize in non-invasive skin treatments. We are familiar with the best products and the newest technologies to safely and effectively reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks.
Our preferred method of reducing stretch marks is the Candela Nordlys laser. This revolutionary laser technology can safely remove stretch marks almost anywhere on men’s and women’s bodies, with little discomfort and no downtime. The Nordlys laser also incorporates advanced SoftCool technology – to ensure your comfort during and after laser treatment.
Are you ready to remove those marks?
At Mind & Body Aesthetics Center, we offer the most advanced, state-of-the-art stretch mark and scar treatments for teens, and adult men and women. We can help you achieve clearer, smoother skin so you can start living your life with confidence.