During a growth spurt, pregnancy or substantial weight gain, the skin is deformed, which can cause stretch marks to appear. These thin ridges look like scars. Stretch marks can occur as easily in males as in females and are very common but do not pose a significant health concern. There are treatments to keep them from looking so noticeable.
Stretch marks: what are they?
Stretch marks are a rip in the dermis of the skin, which is the membrane between the epidermis and the hypodermis. If the skin is exposed to a sudden, extreme bout of strain, the tissues stretch without splitting. On the surface of the skin, the stretch marks are noticeable. They're taking on the look of fine, sinuous scars. When they emerge they are purplish in colour. They are known to be at an inflammatory level. Then their color fades and takes on a slightly pearly white colour. In certain cases, their color fades to become the same color as the skin.
Stretch marks typically occur on the belly, buttocks, breasts, biceps, knees and thighs.
Stretch marks: what are the causes?
Stretch marks impact 70% of women. Pregnancy is, in fact, the main cause of stretch marks. During pregnancy, the skin of the belly is subject to strain and it is normal for stretch marks to develop on the abdomen, the belly and the sides, and also on the breasts.
If you get a lot of weight, the amount of fat increases dramatically, which also causes stretch marks to grow on your arms, thighs, abdomen, buttocks and hips. It is also normal for very athletic, sporty people who gain a lot of muscle mass, which can cause thin, stripy scars.
When people, particularly teens, go through a growth spurt, they can have stretch marks on their bodies.
Medical developments have now shown that stretch marks can also be induced when patients have a high level of corticosteroids in their body. Cushing's syndrome is caused by cortisol, also known as stress hormone, released by the adrenal glands.
Finally, thin, delicate skin is a critical aspect in the appearance of stretch marks.
Stretch marks: what are the treatments?
There is no 'miracle cure' to get rid of stretch marks once and for all, but certain strategies are very successful in making a noticeable impact on their appearance to help prevent the distress they create as they appear on the body.
Various procedures can stimulate and/or renew collagen and elastin in the skin. Recent red stretch marks and older white stretch marks, which are more like fine scars, gradually fade away until they are almost undetectable.