Why Stretch Marks Appear and How to Get Rid of Them

What causes stretch marks? Did you know that stretch marks are a type of scar? They occur when the skin stretches or shrinks quickly, causing the collagen and elastin that support the skin to rupture. While the skin is healing, stretch marks can appear. Stretch marks typically happen after a time of intense growth like puberty, weight gain, weight loss, or puberty, often appearing on the stomach, thighs, hips, upper arms, breasts, and lower back. Though anyone can develop stretch marks, women tend to be affected more than men.

So, do you know how to get rid of stretch marks? The truth is that you can’t ever really get rid of stretch marks. Just like any other type of scar, they’re permanent. There are, however, some methods for fading them.

  • Creams, lotions, and gels can sometimes help. For maximum effectiveness, use the product as soon as you notice stretch marks forming before they mature. Massage it into your skin and apply it every day for several weeks, until you see results beginning to appear.
  • Home remedies aren’t particularly effective. Almond oil, cocoa butter, olive oil, and vitamin E don’t really fade stretch marks, and tanning won’t get rid of them. In fact, a tan can make them more obvious. Self-tanner, on the other hand, can camouflage them somewhat.
  • Your dermatologist can prescribe medicine to offer some relief. Prescriptions you apply to your skin include hyaluronic acid and tretinoin. Hyaluronic acid can make stretch marks less noticeable when applied early on, and tretinoin, a retinoid, can make them less noticeable.
  • There are also procedures dermatologists can perform. None of these can get rid of stretch marks, but the following procedures can make them less noticeable:
    • Chemical peel
    • Laser therapy
    • Microdermabrasion
    • Radiofrequency
    • Ultrasound

Do you know if you have stretch marks? Here are some signs and symptoms. Your skin may appear thin and pink before stretch marks emerge, and it might feel irritated or itchy. Some of the same treatments used for stretch marks removal or fading can also alleviate the itch. As the stretch marks develop, they’ll look like wrinkly, raised streaks that are red, purple, pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown. The color of those early stretch marks depends on the color of your skin, but eventually, they’ll fade, flatten, and change to a silvery color. Over the years, they may become less noticeable.

Why do you have stretch marks? What are stretch marks, anyway? To understand that you need an understanding of the skin. Skin is made of three layers: the hypodermis, the dermis, and the epidermis. The dermis is the fibrous middle layer, and it contains tough connective tissue made of elastin and collagen. Those connective fibers slowly stretch as the body grows, but in times of rapid growth, they’re stretched beyond the limits of their elasticity. When this happens, the dermis tears and deeper layers of skin show through, forming stretch marks. Any rapid weight gain can result in stretch marks. During pregnancy, stretch marks form on between 50 to 90 percent of women. Puberty can also lead to stretch marks because it’s a time of rapid growth. Some medical conditions, like Marfan syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome, can cause stretch marks, and so can prolonged use of corticosteroid creams and lotions. This is because corticosteroids can decrease the skin’s levels of collagen, which normally strengthens and supports the skin.

Stretch marks are easy to diagnose with a skin examination. If you see a doctor, you’ll be asked questions about your symptoms as well as current medical conditions and medications you’re taking. Stretch marks aren’t harmful, though in rare cases they may be an indicator of a medical issue that could require treatment.

So, should you see a dermatologist for your stretch marks? If you seem to be spending an excessive amount of time and money without seeing any progress, it may be time to seek the help of a board-certified dermatologist. In-office treatments like medications, microdermabrasion, or laser removal for stretch marks are often much more effective than over-the-counter remedies.

If you need help with your stretch marks, contact All About You Medical Spa. We’re a trusted practice for specialized medical aesthetic and anti-aging services, working in a private, state-of-the-art facility, with your comfort in mind. Fully equipped to deliver top-quality results, our practice strives to stay at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies in the field of medical aesthetics. Our goal is to educate our patients and assist them in navigating the ever-advancing world of aesthetics, and under the direction of Dr. Christine Gould, we customize treatments to meet our patients’ needs. Dr. Gould has worked in medical aesthetics for over 20 years and founded All About You in 2013. For more information, call 203-292-5559 or book an appointment online.