Stretch marks are unsightly long scars that could happen to both women and men. In Singapore, many working professionals and students need to sit down for long periods of time or use their phones, thereby leading to stretch marks in prominent areas of their bodies. Find out more about what stretch marks do and stretch mark treatments that specialise in stretch mark removal.
What are Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are scars that form when our skin expands or shrinks rapidly. The abrupt alteration ruptures the collagen and elastin that maintain our skin. As the skin heals, stretch marks may appear. When our bodies gradually change, the fibres in our skin gradually stretch to adjust. Rapid change, on the other hand, can cause the middle layer of the skin to rip, resulting in ugly and disfiguring scarring.
If your skin has been stretched by rapid expansion owing to pregnancy, weight increase, dramatic weight loss, or weight training with rapid muscle growth, it will not bounce back to its original state. Instead, it develops a type of scarring known as stretch marks or striae. Stretch marks are frequently reddish or purplish in hue at first, then become glossy skin striped with silver or white.
Stretch marks can appear on both men and women’s bodies, including the abdomen, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms, and lower back.
Causes of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are more likely to appear at the following times:
- Puberty-related growth spurts
- Rapid weight increase or loss – Bodybuilders are prone to them when rapidly gaining muscle bulk, particularly in the shoulders and chest.
- When you have rapid muscle growth, weight exercise is beneficial.
Stretch marks can also be caused by applying a corticosteroid to your skin for an extended period of time. Stretch marks may appear if you have Cushing’s disease or Marfan syndrome.
Stretch marks can be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown when they initially appear, depending on your skin colour. Stretch marks that are still in their early stages may feel somewhat elevated and irritating. The colour fades with time, and the narrow bands sink beneath your skin. When you run your finger over a mature stretch mark, you may experience a tiny depression.
Types of Stretch Marks
Stretch mark types can be divided into two major stages based on their formation and appearance:
- Striae rubrae are stretch marks that are pink or crimson in color.
- Striae albae are white stretch marks on the skin.
Other types of stretch marks can be classified as follows:
- Striae gravidarum: Stretch marks that appear during pregnancy.
- Striae nigrae: Stretch marks that are dark grey or black (usually applicable to darker complexion skin types).
- Striae caerulea: Stretch marks that are dark blue or purplish in color (also applicable to those with darker complexions).
Striae atrophicans: Thinned skin with stretch marks — this can occur in people with Cushing’s syndrome due to prolonged use of corticosteroids or post-surgical procedures.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks
There is currently no solution to prevent stretch marks. Stretch mark lotions, ointments, and other items all claim to prevent or treat them. Products containing cocoa butter, vitamin E, and glycolic acid, for example, are not toxic, but they are unlikely to be beneficial. The assumption that rubbing creams, oils, or lotions on your skin helps prevent or alleviate stretch marks is not supported by reliable data.
If you are a pregnant woman who is concerned about stretch marks, consult your doctor before your stomach begins to develop. Often, your doctor will be able to recommend lotions. It is vital to note that creams and lotions may or may not work because genetics have a factor in the production of stretch marks.
Stretch Mark Treatments
Treatment will be helpful in making stretch marks less noticeable.
- Prescription medication
Applying hyaluronic acid and tretinoin to early stretch marks has been found to reduce the visibility of stretch marks compared to those who did not use these creams.
- Dermatological methods
Unwanted stretch marks can be treated with dermabrasion, chemical peels, laser therapy, radiofrequency, or ultrasound. There are also new improvements in laser operations that can improve the color and texture of the stretch marks. These advancements aid in the blending of stretch marks with the surrounding skin. Your age, skin tone, and diet will all have an impact on the efficacy of any treatment.
- Nutritional factors
Drink a lot of water. Water consumption makes your skin smooth and less prone to stretch marks. Caffeine can increase your chances of getting stretch marks. If you can’t live without your caffeinated coffee or tea, make sure you balance your fluids. Drink as much – if not more – water than you do coffee, tea, or soda.
Remember that stretch marks can also be caused by nutritional deficits. Consume foods that enhance skin health, such as:
- Zinc-rich foods including nuts and seafood.
- Carrots, citrus fruits, and milk are abundant in vitamins A, C, and D.
- Foods high in protein.
Commercial creams are not very effective, but if you do try them, here is what you can do. On early stretch marks, apply the product. Apply the product to your stretch marks and massage it in. Taking the time to carefully massage the product into your skin may increase its effectiveness. For several weeks, apply the product every day. If there are any results, they take weeks to surface.
Popular home remedies have been shown in tests to be ineffective. Researchers discovered that when people massaged almond oil, cocoa butter, olive oil, or vitamin E into their stretch marks, none of them vanished. Hence, home remedies are not supported by strong research or scientific evidence.
Retinoids, which are derived from vitamin A, and which you apply to your skin, such as tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova, Avita), may improve the look of stretch marks that are less than a few months old. Tretinoin, when used properly, helps to rebuild a protein in the skin called collagen, making stretch marks appear more natural. Tretinoin can cause skin irritation.
If you are pregnant or nursing, see your doctor about other treatment choices, as retinoid cream adverse effects may impact the infant.
In-clinic treatment options may often be the most cost-effective and result-oriented solution for you! At home remedies and creams often have minimal effect.
Stretch Marks may be efficiently and economically reduced and erased utilizing our unique Western-Eastern technique that combines a USA Silicon Valley Technology Sylfirm with Korean Rejuran Scar, which employs PDRN to repair the skin DNA. Stretch mark treatment can be improved further using Long pulsed NDYAG laser and skin tightening treatments, as stretch marks usually co-exist with sagging skin.
Many of our patients observe improvement and transformation of their stretch marks as soon as 28 days following the first session. However, because collagen stimulation and stretch mark regeneration are progressive processes, we advise our patients that treatment compliance and patience are essential. The majority of our patients require 3-6 sessions to attain their desired results. Each therapy is spaced a month apart.
Collagen production normally begins one month following the surgery, and the patient will then see gradual and progressive improvement in the stretch mark, as well as a reduction in the depth and severity of the stretch mark. The new collagen production and stretch mark reduction are long-term in nature!
Schedule Your Consultation for Stretch Mark Removal
Our experts, Dr. Grace Ling and Dr. Lim Luping, have refined our treatment procedures and developed our own unique treatment methods for stretch mark treatment over the years. A combination strategy is frequently more effective than a single therapy modality. We’ve had satisfied patients who have regained their confidence! Contact us today.