Stretch marks—or striae—affect both men and women.
Stretch marks are a form of skin scarring associated with pregnancy, obesity, puberty, and short-term weight gain from bodybuilding and other physical activities. They form when the dermis – the middle layer of the skin that maintains shape and elasticity – is stretched more than it can tolerate. Connective fibers in the skin eventually break, disrupting collagen production and causing scarring.
Stretch marks can appear anywhere on the body, but the most common areas are your stomach, hips, breasts, upper arms, buttocks and thighs. When stretch marks are new, they have an off-color hue, often red or purple. However, as time goes by, stretch marks typically fade in color and will have more of a white/gray hue with streaks of raised and thickened or indented areas of skin.
While the exact cause of stretch marks is unknown, a leading theory is that striae are the result of the skin’s collagen and elastin production breaking down under mechanical stress under circumstances such as pregnancy, body building, and extreme weight loss or gain. Stretch marks are more extreme when coupled with an increase in the hormone Cortisone—produced by the adrenal gland. Cortisone can weaken elastic fibers in the skin. Certain medications, such as corticosteroid creams, can cause stretch marks.
Although they are harmless and often fade over time, stretch marks can be unsightly and distressing—especially if they are in an area that is highly noticeable, such as the face, legs, or abdomen. There are several treatment options that can improve the appearance of stretch marks, minimizing their cosmetic impact. Depending on the age of the scar or stretchmark, as well as your desired outcome and budget, treatments options can include the use of Tretinoin creams (i.e. Retin-A), or a variety of Laser Resurfacing treatments such as SmartXide CO2, Icon 1540, Halo Pro and Sciton Profractional.
After a thorough examination and consultation, Sante Medical will create a custom treatment plan for your stretch marks.