Stretch marks are narrow streaks or lines that occur on the surface of the skin.
Doctors often refer to stretch marks as stria, striae or – during pregnancy – striae gravidarum. Stretch marks are often red or purple to start with, before gradually fading to a silvery-white colour. They are usually long and thin. Some people find them unsightly and wish to have them treated to make them less obvious. At Intimate You we can help, but it is important to keep in mind that whilst we can dramatically improve the appearance of stretch marks using fractionated CO2 laser therapy, we cannot take them away completely.
Stretch marks can occur anywhere where the skin has been stretched, but they usually affect areas where fat is stored, such as the:
- upper arms
- shoulders (in bodybuilders).
Stretch marks often occur:
- during pregnancy
- after rapid weight gain
- during puberty
- if you have a family history of stretch marks
- if you have an underlying health condition or a syndrome, such as Cushing’s syndrome or Marfan syndrome
- after the prolonged or inappropriate use of corticosteroid medication.
Stretch marks are caused when the skin rapidly stretches as a result of sudden growth or weight gain.
The stretching causes the middle layer of skin (dermis) to tear, allowing the deeper skin layers to show through, forming stretch marks.
The dermis contains strong, inter-connected fibres, 70% collagen dry weight and elastin, that allow your skin to stretch as your body grows. However, rapid growth can cause the skin to over-stretch and break the fibres.
The tears in the dermis allow the blood vessels below to show through, which is why stretch marks are often red or purple when they first appear.
When the blood vessels eventually contract, the pale-coloured fat underneath your skin will be visible, and your stretch marks will change to the silvery-white colour.
Our doctors at Intimate You work with recent and longstanding stretch marks using the SmartXtide2 DOT/RF fractionated CO2 laser. Usually at least 3 treatment sessions are needed at 6 week intervals. We recommend for best results that treatment is undertaken when skin stretching is decreasing rather than increasing.