Striae distensa is the medical term for stretch marks. They most often occur during rapid weight gain, pregnancy, or adolescent growth spurts. Certain medications such as systemic or topical steroid formulas can also cause stretch marks, though this is less common.
Although stretch marks are not medically harmful, they can be a serious cosmetic concern. Dr. Andrew uses various techniques, especially light based therapies, to reduce the appearance of stretch marks for South Florida patients.
UNDERSTANDING STRETCH MARKS
Stretch marks are areas where skin is thinner, due to tension created by rapid changes in a person’s body shape. Recently developed stretch marks may appear pink to purple in color. This is known as striae rubra, which is the inflammatory phase. As the marks mature, the coloring fades and the marks may become whitish.
Different areas of the body may be affected, depending on the cause of the stretch marks. In women, they occur most frequently on the hips, breasts, buttocks, and thighs. Men are more likely to develop stretch marks on their backs, thighs, and shoulders. Less common areas include the armpits, neck, upper arms, and abdominal region.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT STRETCH MARKS
Despite the claims of some products marketed to pregnant women, there is no magic formula to prevent stretch marks. The best way to minimize marks and keep skin comfortable is to maintain good skin health. Use plenty of high-quality moisturizer and drink enough liquid to keep your body well hydrated.
Treatment is most effective when stretch marks are recently developed. Dr. Andrew uses various lasers and light therapies to increase skin elasticity and fade the color. Once stretch marks have turned white, they are more difficult to treat. However, even at this stage laser therapy can still improve their appearance.