How To Get Rid Of Striae Distensae Stretch Marks

What Is Stretch Marks

Stretch marks (striae) are indented streaks that commonly appear on the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks, or other areas of the body. They are particularly common in pregnant women, especially during the final trimester. While stretch marks themselves aren’t painful or harmful, some individuals may feel self-conscious about their appearance.

Treatment for stretch marks isn’t typically necessary, as they often fade over time on their own. However, there are various factors that can contribute to their development, including rapid weight gain or loss, hormonal changes, and certain medical conditions. New stretch marks tend to be brightly colored, appearing as pink, red, blue, black, or purple, while older ones may fade to a lighter hue.

Some people are more prone to developing stretch marks, particularly on areas like the upper arms, abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. Understanding the factors that contribute to their formation and knowing that they often naturally fade over time can help individuals manage their appearance and feel more confident about their skin.

Who Gets Stretch Marks?

Approximately 90% of pregnant women, 70% of adolescent females, and 40% of adolescent males (many of whom participate in sports) develop stretch marks. Striae can affect adolescents, pregnant women (known as striae gravidarum), and individuals with excessive adrenal cortical activity. They are common among people of all races, with women being more commonly affected than men. Adolescents with stretch marks can expect them to become less visible over time.

Stretch marks are highly prevalent, affecting 70% of adolescent girls and 40% of boys. They typically develop in areas of the body that experience continuous and progressive stretching, including:

Abdomen and breasts in pregnant women
Areas prone to growth spurts in adolescents (such as the thighs, buttocks, and breasts)
Shoulders in bodybuilders
Individuals who are obese or overweight
Stretch marks can also result from prolonged use of oral or topical corticosteroids, as well as from anabolic steroids. They are a characteristic feature of Cushing syndrome, which involves excessive adrenal cortical activity. Additionally, they are more frequently observed in individuals with Marfan syndrome.

stretch marks
stretch marks

What Do Stretch Marks Look Like?

An early indication of developing stretch marks is the flattening and thinning of an area of skin, accompanied by a pink coloration. Occasionally, this may also cause itching. Subsequently, reddish or purplish slightly swollen lines appear perpendicular to the direction of skin tension (known as striae rubrae). Over time, these lines lighten to become whitish or flesh-colored and much less noticeable (referred to as striae albae). Typically, stretch marks are several centimeters long and 1–10 mm wide. However, those caused by corticosteroid use or Cushing syndrome are often larger and wider, and may involve other regions, including the face.

Stretch Marks Symptoms

Stretch marks don’t all look alike. They vary depending on how long you’ve had them, what caused them, where they are on your body and the type of skin you have. Common variations include:

Indented streaks or lines on the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks or other places on the body
Pink, red, discolored, black, blue or purple streaks
Bright streaks that fade to a lighter color
Streaks covering large areas of the body

Stretch Marks In Pregnancy

Stretch marks are common in pregnancy, especially during the last trimester. They often fade but don’t usually disappear.

Widespread Stretch Marks

Stretch marks can cover large areas of the body, but it happens rarely. This can result from corticosteroid medicine use or a disease such as Cushing syndrome.

Stretch Marks Causes

The cause of stretch marks is the stretching of the skin. Their severity is influenced by several factors, including genetics and the degree of stress on the skin. Additionally, the level of the hormone cortisol may also play a role. Cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands, weakens elastic fibers in the skin.

Stretch Marks Treatment

Stretch marks are usually considered a cosmetic issue. However, in rare cases, extensive stretch marks may ulcerate or tear easily in an accident. In adolescents, stretch marks often become less visible over time and typically require no treatment. For those who are concerned about their stretch marks, various treatments, including the following, can be attempted, although their effectiveness has not been conclusively proven:

  • Moisturizers
  • Topical retinoid therapy
  • Chemical peels
  • Pulsed dye laser therapy
  • Fractional thermolysis
  • Skin needling

Stretch Marks Prevention

There is no way to prevent striae, but the sooner the marks are treated after they appear, the better the results.

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