Symptoms

stretch marks

Stretch marks, or striae, are lesions that tend to form in the dermis during periods of hormonal flux, with weight gain or loss, pregnancy, and other periods of hormone change. When our body's elastic fibers deep beneath the epidermis become damaged these scars can appear. Women often tend to get them on their breasts, thighs, hips, abdomen, arms, around the belly button, buttocks, and back. This is especially true during puberty and pregnancy when a rapid onset of marks can appear. Initially they may be red, but as the redness fades, they may turn white. However, contrary to conventional wisdom, and their unfortunate name, stretch marks are not caused solely by skin stretching. Hormone changes in our skin are the cause. These hormone changes may be from pregnancy, weight loss or gain, or puberty. Periods of marked hormonal shifts often result in stretch marks.

Some treatments available, particularly with NdYag and IPL, which can help with stretch mark removal, however, no procedure can yet make a stretch mark go all the way back to looking like totally normal skin. We can reduce at least 50% red stretch marks, diminish white marks, improve the texture and make them look better, even in some cases so that you can't see them very easily, but stretch marks are still an area where we improve the problem but don't remove it.

There are no 'perfect' treatments for removing stretch marks. A series of treatment sessions are usually needed to obtain the best results.

When the stretch marks are red, lasers can be highly effective at reducing the redness and stopping some of the inflammation. Lasers work by reducing the redness in the red stretch marks and by improving some of the inflammation causing the stretch marks in the first place. Lasers also induce collagen growth and remodeling, as well as some elastin remodeling which improves the look of the skin.

About Prevention

One thing you can do during pregnancy or times of weight gain is to apply topical creams like alpha-hydroxy acids with oxygen from Karin Herzog, Switzerland or SkinTx Retin-A medicines. These topical medicines can be helpful in curbing the onset of stretch marks in the first place.