Stretch marks (striae) are a form of scarring and are caused by a tearing of the dermis, most often associated with a rapid stretching of the skin during rapid growth (typically in pregnancy) or weight gain.
What are stretch marks?
They first appear as red or purplish lines but generally fade to a lighter colour over time. They can appear anywhere on the body, but most commonly in areas where there are larger amounts of fat such as the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, breasts, hips and upper arms. They do not cause any underlying damage and pose no health risk, but it is the cosmetic appearance that is usually most distressing. Stretch marks are very common and 75-90% of women will develop stretch marks of some description during pregnancy. Teenagers are at an increased risk of developing more severe stretch marks.
They seem to be influenced by genetic factors and hormones, although diet and exercise have also been implicated. There are various treatments that can be used to lessen or eliminate stretch marks, such as Dermaroller/Dermapen, carboxytherapy and platelet rich plasma, although often several sessions are required. Topical retinoids that are present in our cosmeceutical skincare products have also been shown to be effective.