Stretch marks are actually scar tissue that forms in the dermal layer of the skin. Usually identified with pregnancy only. However, they will form during any period of rapid change in body structure like rapid growth spurts in puberty, rapid muscle growth experienced by professional bodybuilders, and rapid weight gain as well. When we experience sudden change, our body cannot produce the necessary collagen and elastic to keep the skin pliable and there is a breakdown in layers of the skin leaving scar tissue behind. Stretch marks are most commonly seen on the lower abdomen, thighs, hips, chest/breasts, arms, and buttocks.
There is no guaranteed method to prevent stretch marks. Early detection can be helpful to aid the skin in healing and adapting to the change. Generally, it is best to seek professional advice when you begin to see red or purple lines developing. In the early stages, a skin care professional can prescribe a treatment routine that can be done at home. It will usually consist of topical creams and lotions to help the skin stay pliable, retain it’s elasticity and keep hydrated. Some topical medicaments can be purchased over the counter, however, depending on your particular needs, there are at-home treatments that may need to be prescribed. Your provider may also advise increasing your intake of certain vitamins and the use of exfoliants and peels.
Once the lines turn white the scar tissue has already formed and reducing the appearance is now the treatment goal. There are several options available to patients such as:
- Over the counter Retinoic acid peels
- In-Office applications of prescription strength Glycolic acid
- Fractional and Vascular Laser Therapy
- Intense Light Therapy
- Plasma Pen
Our RN and licensed aestheticians at Stellar Skin and Laser would be happy to consult with you about your options and develop a treatment plan. We usually find the best approach is directed treatment in our office combined with an at-home regimen. Call to schedule with one of our skin care professionals.