Stretch marks, also known as striae, are long, narrow streaks, stripes, or lines that develop on the skin when it experiences a sudden stretching or shrinking. As a result, it causes the collagen and elastin, which support the skin, to rupture. When the skin heals, stretch marks may appear.
While stretch marks are harmless, it can occur on anyone regardless of your age and gender. However, stretch marks tend to affect women more than men due to a variety of reasons. It’s also common for teens to develop stretch marks on certain parts of their body especially at the thighs, hips, lower back or buttocks.
Fortunately, stretch marks are temporary but in some cases, they may remain on your skin for the rest of your life. With advancements in the medical field, you have a variety of ways to remove stretch marks, be it through a remedial process or medical procedure.
In this article, we’ll be sharing all that you need to know about stretch marks so that you can make an informed decision to remove them from your skin.
What are stretch marks?
In general, stretch marks are scars that appear on the skin when our skin is stretched or shrunk rapidly. The abrupt change causes the collagen and elastin content in our skin to burst, causing stretch marks to appear during the skin’s healing process.
How does it look like?
When stretch marks first appear, they tend to be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown, depending on your skin tone. They may also feel slightly raised and can be itchy at times.
Over time, the stretch marks may fade and the narrow bands start to sink beneath your skin. If you run your finger over a mature stretch mark, you may feel a slight depression in your skin.
Where is it commonly found?
Like any other scars, stretch marks can develop on anyone, even if you’re a male. Some of the most common areas affected include:
While stretch marks are physically harmless, it can affect people’s self-esteem and cause anxiety. For some people, stretch marks can be a significant cosmetic concern which may affect their day-to-day living.
Causes of stretch marks
As pointed out earlier, stretch marks are formed when the skin experiences extreme growth or shrinkage within a short amount of time. Common causes of stretch marks include:
- Pregnancy – About 50 to 90 per cent of pregnant women develop stretch marks during or after giving birth.
- Growth spurt – As the name suggests, growth spurt in teenagers or young adult can cause stretch marks to appear on their skin.
- Rapid weight gain or weight loss – Putting on a lot of weight or losing them in a short time can cause stretch marks to develop in certain areas of the body.
- Family history – If your family has a history of developing stretch marks, you’re more likely to inherit the condition.
- Medical condition – Certain conditions such as the Cushing’s Syndrome and Marfan Syndrome can cause stretch marks to appear.
How do they form?
The skin is made up of three layers – epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. And the dermis is where stretch marks form, as it contains tough connective tissues, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
When the connective tissues are stretched beyond their elasticity limit, it causes stretch marks to appear due to rapid expansion or contraction of the skin. Over time, the connecting fibres in the dermis slowly stretch to accommodate slow growth.
However, rapid growth may lead to sudden stretching causing the dermis to tear and allow deeper layers of the skin to show through and appear as stretch marks. They will eventually fade to a silvery, white, or glossy appearance as the pale-looking fat appears beneath the skin instead of the blood vessels.
Reasons to remove your stretch marks
Stretch marks may not be harmful to your health, but its appearance on your skin can make you feel self-conscious about your public image. That said, you can choose to remove stretch marks from your body as a way to improve your body image and our aesthetic medical clinic offer several safe ways to help you remove stretch marks.
Is it possible to permanently remove stretch marks?
Stretch marks may not disappear completely from your skin, but they do fade over time with various stretch marks removal treatments. Some of which include home remedies, topical creams, and medical procedures such as laser stretch mark removal.
Is it too late to remove old stretch marks?
In all honesty, it’s never too late to remove old stretch marks but they require treatments that can further heal your skin’s dermis. While old stretch marks can be frustrating to look at, Eeva Medical Clinic can help offer you advice on getting them removed.
Types of Stretch Mark Removal
There are many ways for you to remove stretch marks from your skin. But you need to bear in mind that stretch marks are like any other scars you have on your body. They’re here to stay so you can only improve its appearance and texture.
While topical creams, lotions and gels may help fade your stretch marks, researchers believe that these treatments should be applied as soon as the stretch marks appear. That way, it can prevent your stretch marks from worsening.
Not only that, but proper application of topical treatments may also minimise the appearance of stretch marks. This is so that your skin can better absorb the cream’s ingredient. For better results, make sure to diligently apply the treatment on your stretch marks.
Much like your topical treatments, home remedies can help improve the appearance of your stretch marks and make them fade more quickly. Some of the ingredients that you can use are:
- Sugar – Exfoliate the area using homemade sugar scrub containing almond oil or coconut oil along with some lemon juice.
- Coconut oil – Applying virgin coconut oil to your stretch marks may improve your skin’s appearance and reduce the redness.
- Hyaluronic acid – Stimulate collagen production in your skin to enhance your skin’s natural healing process.
That said, there’s no clinical evidence to prove that these home remedies can help remove stretch marks.
If topical treatments and home remedies yield less effective results on your stretch mark removal, aesthetic procedures may help to achieve the results you desire. The procedures often include laser treatments, microdermabrasion, and injectable skin treatment.
Laser stretch mark removal involves using light beams in a concentrated amount to remove the outer layer of your skin to encourage new skin growth. While it can’t remove your stretch marks completely, laser treatments can help smoothen the skin and reduce its appearance.
Similarly, microdermabrasion helps to reduce the appearance of your stretch marks by targeting the epidermis and stimulate the skin to tighten collagen and elastin fibres. It works by exfoliating the epidermis with exfoliating crystals to reveal new skin underneath.
Injectable skin treatment
Like skin boosters, our injectable skin treatment involves a combination of western and eastern technology to remove stretch marks from your skin. The combination of USA Silicon Valley Technology Sylfirm with the Korean Rejuran Scar can help repair your skin’s DNA. Also, the stretch mark removal can be enhanced with long-pulsed NDYAG laser to encourage skin tightening.
Stretch marks may be permanent but early prevention can help minimise its appearance on your skin. You may also opt for aesthetic changes for stretch mark removal, but be sure to seek medical advice from the professionals like Eeva Medical Clinic to clear your doubts.