WHAT ARE STRETCH MARKS?
They are a common concern that often affects the thighs, hips, stomach, breasts and buttocks. Many adolescents experience stretch marks, as well as women during pregnancy.
They often appear as white or silvery streaks on the surface of the skin, that may also feel soft in texture and slightly indented. Stretch marks are usually darker in colour when they first develop, getting lighter as they mature.
WHAT CAUSES STRETCH MARKS?
As their name suggests, these skin irregularities are caused by the stretching of the skin. During puberty, pregnancy, and through weight gain, the body can grow in shape and size fairly rapidly. The skin is usually quite adaptable and can stretch and contract as necessary, but in times of rapid growth, the underlying layers can become torn. Damage to the skin triggers a natural healing response whereby collagen is sent to knit the skin back together, often creating a scar. Stretch marks are similar to scarring as they are also the result of collagen repairing the skin, which is why they are softer in texture and paler in tone.
People who naturally produce more cortisol can be prone to developing stretch marks as Cortisol is a hormone that weakens the skin’s fibres.
HOW CAN THEY BE TREATED?
Although stretch marks are usually harmless, the way they look can cause some aesthetic concern. Retinoid creams can often help to reduce their appearance, but in many cases they can remain quite noticeable. This is when Dr. Grace Kelly Aesthetic Skin Clinic can help. A treatment such as microneedling or laser skin resurfacing can help to rebuild the surface of the skin so that new skin cells are encouraged to grow, restoring a smooth and even texture of the skin.