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Stretch marks, clinically known as striae, are long narrow streaks that look like bands, stripes, or lines that develop on the skin, these occur when the skin is suddenly stretched like when a person grows or gains weight rapidly or has certain diseases or conditions.

Anyone can develop stretch marks, although they tend to affect more women than men, they are really common. In the early stages of the development of stretch marks, the marks appear as wrinkly, raised streaks that can be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown or dark brown, depending on skin color. Stretch marks may be slightly depressed and have a different texture than normal skin. Due to the pale fat beneath the skin becoming visible instead of the usual blood vessels, these scar-like marks eventually fade and flatten and tend to change to a silvery color over time.

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As many people have experienced, stretch marks can be found on a range of body parts, including the stomach, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms, lower back and even behind the knees.
This type of scarring occurs when the skin cannot resume normal form after a period of intense growth.

They are often seen when a woman’s abdomen gets larger during pregnancy, muscle growth and people who have become rapidly obese, or have lost lost weight. They may also occur during the rapid growth of puberty, Statistics show that over 50% of women experience stretch marks during pregnancy. due to the pale fat beneath the skin becoming visible instead of the usual blood vessels. Stretch marks are not physically dangerous but can cause problems with self-image and anxiety. For some people, stretch marks are a significant cosmetic concern that can affect day-to-day living.

Certain medical conditions can cause stretch marks, such as Marfan syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome. Marfan syndrome can lead to decreased elasticity in the skin tissue, and Cushing’s syndrome can lead the body to produce too much of a hormone that leads to rapid weight gain and skin fragility.

The skin consists of three key layers:

  1. The epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone.
  2. The dermis, beneath the epidermis, contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
  3. The Hypodermis, the deeper subcutaneous tissue which is made of fat and connective tissue.
Stretch marks form in the dermis, when the connective tissue is stretched beyond the limits of its elasticity. As the body grows, the connecting fibers in the dermis slowly stretch to accommodate slow and normal growth. However, rapid growth leads to sudden stretching. This causes the dermis to tear, allowing deeper layers of skin to show through. When there are high levels of circulating cortisone, cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands, is converted into cortisone, which weakens elastic fibers in the skin.

Stretch marks are not harmful and do not cause medical problems. In rare cases, they may indicate an underlying medical issue that requires treatment or monitoring.

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How can one prevent Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks cannot always be prevented. However, the following steps may help to reduce the risk:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Avoid yo-yo dieting.
  3. Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Consuming a suitable amount of vitamins A and C can help support the skin, as well as the minerals zinc and silicon.
  4. Aim for slow and gradual weight gain during pregnancy.
  5. Drink six to eight glasses of water every day.
  6. Apply clinically proven topical and organic creams and oils throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as during any form of body transformations.

What Treatment/s work?

Home care Topical treatments

Topical creams and ointments are more affordable methods for reducing the appearance of white stretch marks. Some creams are available over-the-counter, while others such as tretinoin are prescribed by a doctor. Applied regularly, topical creams can lighten the tone of stretch marks but they may not completely remove them.

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Dermapen

Dermapen is a micro-needling treatment that targets the dermis. Within this procedure, tiny needles penetrate into your skin to trigger collagen production. Increased collagen and elastin promotes skin regeneration that can improve your skin’s appearance and reduce stretch marks.

To effectively treat stretch marks, you’ll need to participate in more than one treatment over a course of months. Dermapen is known to be an effective treatment for reducing stretch marks, specifically for patients with darker skin.

Laser therapy – BBL™

Laser therapy is a common treatment option to remove stretch marks. In the procedure, laser penetrates the skin, triggering regeneration. This stimulates the tissues around your stretch marks to heal at a faster rate. Laser therapy such as BBL™ reduces the redness on the affected area as well as the scar-like look and feel. Laser therapy causes your stretch marks to blend in with your normal skin tone. Though effective, laser therapy requires more than one session to notice results.

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Carboxytherapy

Carboxytherapy refers to the cutaneous and subcutaneous administration of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) for therapeutic purposes. Carboxytherapy originated in1932 at the Medical Spa of Royat France. Studies have shown that carboxytherapy improves skin elasticity, by improving circulation, encourages collagen repair, improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and destroys localized fatty deposits. Carbon dioxide is a natural constituent of our very being. We breathe in oxygen, and we exhale carbon dioxide. Plants take up carbon dioxide, and provide us with the oxygen that we need. There are no known risks associated with carboxytherapy.

There are a number of different treatments used to treat stretch marks, however research and results prove that being consistent with treatments and topical creams as well as for optimal and quicker results a combination of all these treatments recommended above have been proven to be most effective.

Discuss your Stretch Marks treatment options with your Laser Specialist and Clinician at Atlantic Dermatology and Laser today!

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Angie Chaplin Profile

Written By Skin and Laser Clinician Angie Chaplin

​For as long as Angie can remember she has always been passionate about the Skin Care and Aesthetic industry. While completing her International Degree, she worked at various clinics to build as much experience and additional knowledge as possible. Once Angie had completed her International Degree in Somatology in 2011, she specialized in Aesthetic and Laser treatments. She has been privileged to work closely with Doctors and Dermatologists throughout her career, and has had the blessing of providing training for other Aesthetic Somatologists as well as Medical Practitioners within the industry. Angie has also worked with a large variety of lasers and machines, and believes that a combination of different treatments and products are always the key to quickly achieve optimal results.