Why Do Stretch Marks Happen?
Learn more about stretch marks and why they occur.
The most superficial layer of the skin is called the epidermis. Then comes the dermis, where a lot of the collagen lives; and then the fat layer. Stretch marks are long, narrow valleys of the skin that result from the skin being stretched more quickly than it can produce collagen.
Because pregnancy is one condition where the skin can be stretched very quickly, stretch marks are more common in women. However, men who have experienced rapid weight gain and weight loss can also suffer from stretch marks.
Stretch marks affect more than 50% of women who have had a child. They are also seen in patients who have taken steroids, and in patients who have a disease that alters hormone patterns (for example, Cushing’s syndrome).
Remedies for stretch marks include over-the-counter lotions and creams. There is no scientific evidence that any of these products remove stretch marks in the long run; stretch marks remain a difficult problem to treat, even with lasers.
Initially, stretch marks can look pink, then purple or light brown. They can be itchy and cause irritation. Eventually, they lighten enough that they are not as visible. For some patients, the stretch marks are still a cause of concern and embarrassment.
Where are Stretch Marks Common?
Stretch marks can occur in a variety of places on the body.
Stretch marks can be seen on the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, arms, and breasts. Many times pregnancy and breast-feeding lead to rapid stretching of the breasts, causing stretch marks. Those who’ve had a breast augmentation can also get stretch marks, though this is rare.
How We Help
How Do I Treat Stretch Marks?
The cornerstone of treating stretch marks is to stimulate collagen production.
A slow buildup of collagen during a series of treatments is the best approach. Depending on their location and individual characteristics, we may recommend a series of fractionated laser treatments or even microneedling/radiofrequency treatments. Other methods include the addition of platelet-rich plasma (PRP).
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes stretch marks?
Any rapid or prolonged stretching of skin like pregnancy, growth at puberty, or weight gain can lead to stretch marks.
What are stretch marks?
When the dermis (middle layer of the skin) is stretched beyond its limits of elasticity, a narrow stripe forms that is thinner than the surrounding normal skin.
Are stretch marks permanent?
Stretch marks begin as a pink/light purple coloration and eventually develop into the classic, silvery or skin-colored depression that can be seen in the abdomen, thighs, and extremities after pregnancy or weight fluctuations. They are permanent, but there are treatments that can help improve them.
Let Us Help You Treat Stretch Marks
Ready to enjoy life without stretch marks? Schedule a consultation with our team of specialists to learn more about how we can help you reach your goals.