Stretch marks are one of the most common dermatological conditions that people face. They develop in about 60 percent of individuals and remain for the rest of a person’s life.
These marks are also one of the most difficult dermatological conditions to treat. Therapies like the topical application of substances like vitamin E and cocoa butter have a limited effectiveness due to the way stretching of the skin works.
What is a Stretch Mark?
These are types of scars that result in a recessed mark upon the skin. They are the result of the body trying to quickly accommodate for skin stretching, which causes a subdermal wound to form.
The way stretch marks manifest depend upon the location of the damaged skin, your genetics and the condition of your body. They tend to start as red, inflamed areas that fade to lighter colors as they become proper scars.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
The immediate causes are easy to understand; the skin is forced to stretch, which causes wounds that the body must heal via the scar formation process.
The cause of this expansion depends on a number of different causes. Pregnant women, for example, tend to experience stretch marks because of the changes that occur within the body during pregnancy.
Other causes of stretch marks include:
- Becoming pregnant – Young women are especially prone to stretch marks because of the elasticity of their skin.
- Rapid weight gain – Weight gain causes tissue to push outwards against the skin, which creates tension that must be relieved to ensure proper function of the skin.
- Puberty – These marks often occur during puberty because of the influx of hormones that cause changes in body shapes.
- Anaerobic exercise – Individuals undergoing an aerobic exercise, such as weightlifting, will sometimes develop these marks due to a jump in the development of muscle mass in the limbs.
- Medical conditions – Conditions like Cushing’s syndrome and Marfan syndrome can lead to a genetic predisposition for stretch marks. The symptoms of both conditions can usually be treated.
- Corticosteroids – Prolonged use of corticosteroids can sometimes result in these marks. This happens because the corticosteroids damage the underlying collagen structure, which compromises the integrity of the rest of the skin.
What Can Be Done About Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are similar to other types of scars in that they cause both a deformation in the skin and a change of skin tone where they are present. By selectively targeting the marks, the body can remove these structures while replacing them with healthier, more uniform cells.
Laser procedures and other non-invasive treatments designed to induce selective destruction of the cells often prove very successful with patients. Both new and old scars and marks may be treated by these methods.
To learn more about stretch marks, or to see what your options are for lessening their appearance, visit Guelph Medical Laser and Skin Centre in Guelph. Our team will evaluate your body’s unique needs while creating the most effective treatment plan for you. Contact us today to book your consultation.