Stretch Marks

DSC_0015-8-stretch marks

Stretch marks, or striae, are unsightly marks or scars that can occur on nearly all parts of the skin. They look like red, purple, or pink stripes, or they can appear as line-like areas of lighter or darker than normal skin. They often occur after a rapid growth spurt or weight gain and therefore, are most commonly found where growth and excess fat occur on the thighs, abdomen, breasts, or upper arms. While not harmful, they can cause a significant amount of psychological distress for patients.

DSC_0015-8-stretch marks

Stretch Marks

Stretch marks, or striae, are unsightly marks or scars that can occur on nearly all parts of the skin. They look like red, purple, or pink stripes, or they can appear as line-like areas of lighter or darker than normal skin. They often occur after a rapid growth spurt or weight gain and therefore, are most commonly found where growth and excess fat occur on the thighs, abdomen, breasts, or upper arms. While not harmful, they can cause a significant amount of psychological distress for patients.

What is a stretch mark?

A stretch mark is a type of scar that develops when our skin stretches or shrinks quickly. The sudden change causes the collagen and elastin, which support our skin, to break.  As the skin heals, stretch marks may appear.

Why do stretch marks happen?

Not everyone gets stretch marks. You may have a higher risk for stretch marks if other people in your family have also had stretch marks.  Conditions that allow your skin to stretch quickly also increase your risk of stretch marks.  Examples of these are below. 

What do stretch marks look like?

Stretch marks can initially look red, purple, pink, or reddish-brown. At first stretch marks may feel slightly raised and can be itchy. The color of striae will eventually fade and flatten, and depending on your skin color, the final endpoint may be skin colored or lighter or darker than your normal skin.

How do you treat stretch marks?

There is no magic cream or procedure to erase stretch marks completely; however, there are numerous treatments to improve the appearance of them. Our team of providers at Cenla Dermatology can discuss treatment options with you at your appointment. Understand that no treatment is perfect for everyone and almost always consists of a series or combination of procedures. The color of your skin and risks associated with stretch mark treatment must be taken into consideration. We have extensive experience treating all skin types at Cenla Dermatology.