What is Stretch Marks?
They say mums are the greatest as they go through pain to give birth and have to carry the baby for 9 months as well as put up with discomfort and body changes. Stretch marks is one of the body changes mums-to-be may develop. It is common for women to get stretch marks during pregnancy usually occurring in the last trimester. What then are stretch marks, causes & treatments? They are indented lines that form on the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks or anywhere on the body, they are painless but they sure do not look pleasing to people having it.
Common Causes of Stretch Marks
What are the reasons to have stretch marks? Anyone can get stretch marks but you are more likely to develop stretch marks for the following reasons:
- You are pregnant, between 50% to 90% of pregnant women develop stretch marks. More so if your ethnicity is East Asian or South Asian.
- You put on weight abruptly or lose pounds suddenly.
- You are a bodybuilding or weightlifting enthusiast, developing bulging muscles fast.
- You are an adolescent going through a phase of fast growth.
- Stretch marks run in your family.
- You have Cushing’s Syndrome or too much stress hormone, cortisol in your body. Or you have Marfan Syndrome, a condition that strikes your connective tissues.
- You have been taking prednisone medication for a long time.
In a nutshell, you will be predisposed to stretch marks if you are pregnant, an adolescent going through fast growth, or if you are overweight.
How do stretch marks form? Constant stretching that leads to changes in skin structure and inflammatory reactions will cause pinkish, red or purple hues of stretch marks. The white blood cells in the dermis are affected and cells are unable to rid of harmful bacteria. Inflammation follows resulting in swelling and redness. The dermis layer loses its bounce and collagen fibres accumulate resulting in scar formations, at this stage blemishes are the most difficult to remove.
If you are experiencing hormonal changes you will also get stretch marks. If you have an increase in oestrogen cortisol levels will also rise leading to the formation of stretch marks. If you are pregnant the placenta will also reduce the level of relaxin serum levels, to prepare the woman for child birth, causing collagen to decrease and increase the incidence of stretch marks. Higher serum cortisol levels also prevent increase the breakdown of proteins into amino acids resulting in less collagen and hence a higher possibility of stretch marks.
Common Symptoms of Stretch Marks
There are different kinds of stretch marks. They vary depending on how long you have been having them, what are their causes, where they develop on your body and your type of skin. Some variations that occur frequently in patients are:
- Depressed lines on the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks or any where else on the body.
- Pink, red, blue or purple lines
- Bright lines that gradually loses its colour.
- Skin turns glossy and silver or white lines form.
- Lines occurring in big areas of the body.
- Some stretch marks may feel itchy or develop irritation
Types of stretch marks include:
This is the earliest stage of stretch marks, the epidermis flattens, collagen fibres thicken and are arranged in a perpendicular pattern. There are signs of inflammation and the skin may turn red.
This is categorised as the more mature stage of stretch marks, scar formations begin, resembling a wrinkled texture, this stage takes several months or years from the earlier Striae Rubrae stage. Irregularly shapes in white colour will start. Skin will also lose elasticity.
Striae Gravidarum or pregnancy stretch marks
This type of stretch marks occur during the 6th or 7th month of pregnancy and are most common on the tummy, breast and thighs. Stretch marks may also form on the lower backs, hips, buttocks and arms, these stretch marks start as Striae Rubrae and develop into linear white indents often with wrinkles. Lost of elasticity of the skin is caused by physical changes in the pregnant woman and hormonal changes during pregnancy. Stretch marks usually take in the form of a parallel pattern.
How do stretch marks affect you? Stretch marks will not cause pain but may affect you more mentally as people who have it may be concerned over how people see them.
You should see a doctor if you are worried about the appearance of the stretch marks or if they are widespread in your body. The doctor can advise you on what are the causes and treatments available.
Common Stretch Marks Treatment
The sooner you treat your stretch marks, the better results you get, as older stretch marks are harder to treat. Some treatment options are:
Laser skin resurfacing
Laser stretch mark removal in Singapore is a type of surgery. Your doctor will shine focused beams of light on your stretch marks, getting rid of layers of your skin in an accurate manner, so that new collagen fibres grow to develop smooth skin. The results are immediate and should last but about one year or several years. Side effects that may occur are little white bumps, swelling, skin turning dark or light.
Another kind of surgery that uses scraping of stretch marks to change the texture of the skin and reveal new skin. Skin usually takes two weeks to recover, you can see results some weeks or months after the surgery. Side effects that may appear include small white bumps, your skin turning dark or light, swelling and large pores.
Comprising of vitamin A this over the counter cream can make a difference to wrinkles, skin texture and hydration levels. However you need to use this cream for 6 months before you can see results. Side effects that may occur are dry skin, your skin turning a different colour, irritation and light sensitivity.
Aloe vera gel, hyaluronic acid and centella herb can be used to massage the affected area but effects are limited and not proven scientifically.
Stretch Marks Prevention
It is hard to prevent stretch marks and currently there is no real proven method. On the internet however you may read about some people sharing their own view about how to prevent stretch marks but be aware that there is no scientific basis.Conclusion
Additionally, you may hear from people around you that coconut oil, cocoa butter, olive oil and almond oil can alleviate stretch marks. In reality, these folklore treatments are not very effective and do not help with stretch marks. If you try creams on your own, you may aggravate your condition.
It is a good idea to seek medical help if your stretch marks cover a wide area of your body, or if you want to find out more about treatment options. Rather than moping around dreading the fact that you are not able to bear skin at the swimming pool or beach or wear more revealing clothes, the best solution is to seek the advice of a reputable medical doctor specialising in this field. The specialist doctor will be able to answer questions such as what are causing your stretch marks and what are the treatment options suitable for you.
Eeva Medical Aesthetic Clinic is a medical aesthetic clinic patients with stretch mark conditions can turn to. Helmed by Dr Grace Ling and Dr Lim Luping with a combined experience of more than 40 years in the medical and aesthetics practice. They have helped alleviate the stretch mark problems occurring on the tummy, thighs and hips especially due to pregnancy and weight loss, for both men and women.
With the advance of technology, patients now have new improved options that are targeted at stretch mark conditions. Eeva Medical combines the use of the Silicon Valley FDA approved Sylfirm PNRF technology with Korean transdermal PDRN to help patients eradicate stretch marks.
Sylfirm X PNRF technology
This is a Microneedling method that makes small targeted injuries to the skin quickening the growth of collagen and new skin, breaking down the scar tissues at the same time. It also harnesses RF or radiofrequency generating heat in the range of 40 to 60 degrees. It combines the use of RF and a micro needle resulting in a minimally-invasive method. Using RF energy this method can penetrate deeper into the skin combining microneedles to improve the targeting of the affected area. Skin rejuvenates and smoothens.
This Korean technology uses salmon DNA to repair and heal stretch marks from the cellular level. It also has the side benefits of rejuvenating the surrounding skin. Minimum of 4 sessions per area done one month apart is recommended.
Indeed with improvements in technology, new methods are used to treat stretch marks effectively unlike earlier days when the treatment results are only limited.
Rest assured that you are in good hands, as Eeva Medical Aesthetic Clinic goes through a detailed consultation with patients before making recommendations for treatment options. The specialists will examine the severity of the stretch marks, the period of time you have had stretch marks, the depth of the stretch marks etc. They will also check if you have sagging skin as this condition aggravates stretch marks. They will also take note of previous medications and treatments you have tried before. Finally they will tailor a treatment package that suits you in terms of your conditions as well as your budget.
You can check out Eeva Stretch Marks Removal Programme here: https://eevamedicalclinic.com/stretch-marks-removal/ as well as book an appointment.