Have you ever looked down and noticed thin, white lines running across your skin? Stretch marks are perfectly natural, but they’re one of the most common insecurities people have about their bodies. So what exactly are they and what causes them?
What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are scars or disfigured legions. This type of scarring happens when the skin cannot resume its normal form after a period of intense growth. The most common areas affected are the stomach, breasts, hips, thighs, and buttocks.
Sometimes it is possible to tell stretch marks are forming before you can see them. The skin will appear thing and pink and may feel itchy or irritated. Initially, stretch marks will develop as wrinkly, raised streaks. These can be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown depending on skin tone. Stretch marks due eventually fade and flatter, and tend to turn a silvery color over time. They gradually become less noticeable over time but this can take years.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are caused by extreme skin growth and shrinkage. The skin has three layers. Stretch marks form in the dermis, or middle layer, when the connective tissue is stretched beyond its elasticity. As the body grows, the connecting fibers in the dermis will slowly stretch to accommodate this. However, rapid growth leads to suddenly stretching which causes the dermis to tear, allowing the deeper layers to show through.
One of the most common causes is pregnancy. Between 50-90% of women develop stretch marks during or after pregnancy. Puberty is another common cause. Adolescents go through rapid growth during this time, which can cause them to form. Rapid weight gain is another common cause of stretch marks. Putting on lots of weight in a short time can cause the skin to stretch, leading to stretch marks. Some medical conditions can also lead to stretch marks such as Marfan syndrome or Cushing’s syndrome. In general, women are more likely to develop stretch marks. However, men can get them as well.
How Are Stretch Marks Treated?
Stretch marks are perfectly natural. Many women these days are embracing them, especially ones that developed as a result of pregnancy. Some have taken to calling them their “tiger stripes”, as a symbol of pride. But they can also be a big source of insecurity. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can treat unwanted stretch marks.
At AFYA, we use a few different treatments to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. We recommend Forma Skin Tightening, MicroPen Microneedling, PRP Platelet Rich Plasma, Fractora, and IPL Photo Rejuvenation.
If you’re looking for help treating your stretch marks, contact us today to set up a complimentary skin consultation to see which treatment is best for you!