Stretch marks are not just for pregnancy. The belly of a woman who is about to give birth is one of the most well-known locations for stretch marks, but they can happen anywhere on your body where your skin quickly grows or shrinks.
There isn’t much you can do to prevent stretch marks from forming, but if you do have them, several treatments are available to help minimize their appearance.
Here’s what you need to know about where stretch marks come from, and how you can treat them, courtesy of the team at Skin Med Spa (they happen to know a thing or two about stretch marks).
Stretch marks are discolored, scar-like lines that form in your skin when your skin grows or shrinks rapidly. They don’t hurt and aren’t harmful, but most people don’t like the way they look on their skin. If you run your finger over stretch marks, you can feel a slight depression in the skin.
Areas where stretch marks commonly occur include:
When your skin stretches or shrinks rapidly, the quick change ruptures the collagen and elastin in your skin (these materials support the skin and help it stretch). Then as the skin heals the break, the stretch mark forms in the areas where the rupture occurred.
The severity of your stretch marks depends on genetic factors and the amount of stress your skin undergoes. Your level of cortisol (a hormone produced by the adrenal gland) can also play a role, as it weakens elastic fibers in the skin.
This process commonly happens on the belly of pregnant women. It can also happen to teenagers if they hit a growth spurt during puberty, causing them to grow so fast that their skin literally breaks — they may find stretch marks across their backs.
Any other type of rapid weight loss or gain can trigger stretch marks, as can weight training when you grow rapidly.
Treating stretch marks is difficult. They usually don’t disappear completely, but you can minimize their appearance with various types of treatment.
These include laser skin resurfacing, dermabrasion, and microneedling, all of which work by stimulating new skin growth where the stretch marks occur. Topical treatments include retinol creams and hyaluronic acid. These treatments all require some time to work, so you should talk to your provider about which treatment might work best in your specific case.
If you’re tired of looking at your stretch marks in the mirror, Skin Med Spa can help minimize the appearance of the marks. Just get in touch with the office, or use the online appointment request form to set your own appointment!