Stretch Marks – Risk Factors
Stretch marks are lines across the skin and they can be in pink, red, brown, silver, black or purple. They usually begin as in a dark tone and lighten gradually. These can be slightly protruding or depressed and they form due to constant stretching of the dermis. Stretch marks are most common on the abdomen, breasts, chest, upper arms, legs, buttocks, hips and back. Who are the people most susceptible to stretch marks? Stretch marks during pregnancy is common among women estimated at 43% to 88%. Adolescents is another high risk group. About 6% to 86% teenagers experiencing quick growth develop stretch marks. Among these, 35% to 40% are boys and up to 70% are girls. Teenagers undergo fast growth at the average age of 16 years old. The last group are people who are obese. As high as 43% of people overweight develop stretch marks. If you have stretch marks over a large area of your body and you are concerned you may want to seek stretch marks removal from a general practitioner or dermatologist.
Stretch Marks Diagnosis
The doctor will begin with a physical detailed check of the affected area. Testing for cancer known as biopsies are often not necessary. During this examination, the doctor will identify the stage of development of the stretch marks. Inflammatory symptoms onset during the earlier stages with discoloured, swelling and immune reactions occurring. More mature developments are characterised by silvery white streaks, with thin flattened skin. The doctor will examine the linear formations and distribution patterns of the stretch marks.
In doing so, the doctor will look out for linear focal elastosis. This involves many raised lines with a yellowish colour often found on the back. Another condition is anetoderma where bounce of the skin is lost resulting in depression of the skin. The doctor will also look out for small bumps of swellings which may be itchy as this indicates the presence of PUPPP( Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy).
Together with the physical examination, the doctor will ask verbal questions to find out the causes of the stretch marks, such as if the patient has experienced weight gain or loss, fast growth, taken medication and undergone bodybuilding activities. The doctor will also question when the condition first started and what creams the patient has tried and what other symptoms the patient is experiencing. If the doctor suspects other medical conditions to be the root for the stretch marks he may ask the patient to do further tests.
Risk Factors of Having Stretch Marks
Factors which put you most at risk to stretch marks:
- Demographics factors
If stretch marks run in your family, you will have a high incidence of developing them. This means you have reduced collagen and fibronectin genes. If you have a history of developing stretch marks , often in the breasts and thigh areas, the possibility of getting them again is high. Other factors are: If you have recently experienced weight gain or loss. If you are a teenager undergoing fast growth. If you are a bodybuilding enthusiast and have developed muscles.
- Medical conditions and medication use
If you have Cushing’s syndrome and this leads to excess cortisol and weight gain. Marfan syndrome affects connective tissues and growth development. Ehlers Danlos syndrome gives you stretchy skin that bruise easily. Anorexia nervosa makes a person not eat and so lose weight dramatically. Chronic liver disease can cause fluids to accumulate in the tummy and lead to streaky formations. Corticosteroid medications used to treat eczema or psoriasis can cause stretch marks. Patients undergoing chemotherapy may treat skin conditions with topical steroids as well as experience weight changes and thus develop stretch marks. Contraceptive pills can lead to hormone changes. Antipsychotic medications can lead to weight gain and so people taking them are prone to stretch marks.
- Surgical procedures
Breast augmentation procedures and others that involve tissue expanders. Organ transplantation and cardiac surgery procedures both may result in stretch marks.
Being pregnant can make you more susceptible to stretch marks due to the following reasons: If you are young and pregnant in your teenage years or early 20s, you may experience fragility in the elasticity of your connective tissues. If you have gained a lot of weight during pregnancy, have multiple gestation pregnancies, have a high pre-pregnancy BMI, experienced stretch marks in the breasts before you are pregnant, carrying a heavy baby in the womb, or if you have polyhydramnios.
When to See a Doctor?
Stretch marks are seen as not causing harm to one’s health, so they are considered as a cosmetic concern. But if you experience stretch marks over large parts of your body, and risk disfiguring, you may want to consult a general practitioner or dermatologist and a cosmetic surgeon if you need to do a procedure.
At Eeva Medical you can benefit from a stretch mark removal in Singapore that is done by a certified medical doctor. You will be able to repair stretch mark scars with collagen stimulation, reduce the depth of stretch marks, reduce the laxity of skin around stretch marks and have a smoother appearance of skin. The clinic uses FDA approved technology and is suitable to treat both new and old stretch marks and is for both men and women. Check out their website and make an appointment.