Stretch marks are indented streaks in the skin that are caused by the stretching of the skin.
The stretching of skin, either during an adolescent growth spurt or during pregnancy can cause stretch marks. Also, call striae, stretch marks are scars that are the result of the skin unable to return to its normal state. Stretch marks usually appear on hips, buttocks, thighs, breast, and abdomen. They may vary in size and color on different people.
While sometimes stretch marks appear during adolescence when rapid growth may occur, stretch marks are more typically associated with pregnancy and the stretching of skin as the baby grows. Stretch marks can also be caused by a rapid weight gain or the prolonged use of corticosteroid. Genetic disorders such as Cushing’s or Marfan syndrome may also be a reason for stretch marks.
There is nothing harmful about stretch marks though often those who have them feel that they are unsightly.
In areas where stretch marks may be about to form, you might feel like the skin is thin and itching. When they first appear, stretch marks might be red, pink, purple, or even dark brown. In time they will fade to a silvery tone, and they will become less noticeable. If you have developed stretch marks during pregnancy, you can expect them to become less obvious within a year of giving birth.
Lotions and creams, even those especially for stretch marks, are largely unsuccessful in diminishing the stretch marks.
You can’t prevent stretch marks, but you can help reduce the risk by maintaining a healthy weight, consume vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A and C to support skin health. Always stay well hydrated.
Contact Northstar Dermatology if you are experiencing these symptoms or any other abnormal skin conditions. Your neighborhood NorthStar Dermatologist would be happy to consult with you about stretch marks and how to reduce the risk of developing them.