Stretch marks, known as striae distensae, are common and may affect up to 88 percent of people. Puberty, pregnancy and periods of pronounced growth are the most common causes of stretch marks. Sometimes the marks tend to lighten over time, eventually disappearing, but most times they may be permanently visible and a continuing annoyance.
Stretch marks typically appear on the buttocks, hips, thighs, or breasts. The skin is elastic, but when it stretches or shrinks quickly, this can interrupt the body’s production of two important proteins: collagen and elastin. This disruption sometimes leads to those annoying stretch marks, which is a form of scarring in essence.
They first appear as discoloured lines in the skin, sometimes with a red or purple tinge. They are sometimes itchy and may have a different texture from the surrounding skin.
All age groups are affected and most often it relates to puberty-related growth spurts, pregnancy, periods of quick weight loss or gain, weight training that increases muscle mass quickly or after using creams or ointments that contain steroids for extended periods.
The mosaic fractional laser at Lasermed is very effective in removing scarring and stretch marks – especially in young people. A dermatologist also can prescribe tretinoin, a type of retinoid, which may reduce the early appearance of stretch marks, but it has less of an effect on mature marks.
No single method works for everybody. Dermatologists may recommend a combination of the techniques listed above.
Some creams, such as Dermastine Jeune Maman have also been found to be effective. For the best results, people should apply creams, lotions, and gels as soon as stretch marks appear.