What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are visible marks on the skin that occur when the skin is stretched rapidly, leading to the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers in the middle layer of the skin (called the dermis).
These marks are characterized by long, thin lines, usually reddish, purple or white in colour, and can occur on various areas of the body, such as the belly, legs/thighs, buttocks, breasts, arms and back.
Types and different stages of stretch marks
Stretch marks go through different phases as they develop and evolve over time. There are two main types of stretch marks:
Red or purple stretch marks (fresh stretch marks): At first, stretch marks have a reddish or purplish colour due to the inflammation and broken blood vessels in the affected area. These stretch marks are usually more recent and generally have an excellent response to treatments.
White stretch marks (old stretch marks): Over time, red or purple stretch marks tend to disappear and become whitish. At this stage, stretch marks undergo changes in pigmentation and become slightly more difficult to treat.
As just mentioned, as stretch marks progress from one stage to another, it becomes more challenging to treat them and improve their appearance. Early-stage stretch marks, with more vibrant colours, generally respond better to topical treatments and laser therapies. Mature stretch marks, with a white or silver colour, may be more resistant to treatments and may require more advanced approaches, such as skin resurfacing procedures (complete remodelling of the superficial layer of the skin).
Causes for the appearance of stretch marks
Stretch marks can appear for a variety of reasons, including pregnancy (postpartum stretch marks), sudden weight gain, rapid growth, hormonal changes during puberty, prolonged use of corticosteroids, genetic factors, among others.
What causes stretch marks in adolescence?
Stretch marks in adolescence can be caused by several factors, the main ones being related to growth and bodily changes that occur during this stage of life.
During adolescence, there is sometimes very marked growth over a relatively short period, due to bone growth, muscle development and fat distribution. The rapid stretching of the skin can lead to the formation of stretch marks, generally in areas where growth is most pronounced, such as thighs, hips, breasts, buttocks and belly.
The hormonal changes that occur during adolescence can also contribute to the formation of stretch marks. Sexual hormones, such as oestrogen and testosterone, play an important role in skin health. Hormonal fluctuations can affect collagen and elastin production, making the skin less elastic and more prone to stretch mark deformation.
Genetic predisposition also plays a significant role in a person’s propensity to develop stretch marks. If your parents or other family members have stretch marks, you may be more likely to develop them, regardless of age.
Other factors such as sudden changes in weight or taking steroid medications can also contribute to the appearance of stretch marks during adolescence.
Stretch marks during pregnancy/postpartum
Pregnancy is an exciting and transformative time in a woman’s life, but it can also bring notable changes to the body, including the development of stretch marks.
Stretch marks during pregnancy and postpartum are common and can be caused by the rapid stretching of the skin due to the increase in abdominal volume during pregnancy.
Pregnancy hormones also play a role, making the skin more susceptible to the development of stretch marks.
The most affected areas tend to be the abdomen, breasts, thighs and buttocks.
Good hydration and nutrition during pregnancy, light exercise and the use of some topical products with ingredients such as retinoids, hyaluronic acid or glycolic acid can help prevent the appearance of stretch marks. However, if you already have stretch marks and want a faster treatment to reduce them, see the following section on stretch mark treatment.
Stretch Mark Treatment Solutions
Although stretch marks are considered permanent, there are treatment options available to improve their appearance (both white and red stretch marks), including:
Fractional CO2 Laser
The Fractional CO2 Laser is used for skin renewal, from superficial treatments to deeper treatments.
This treatment is indicated when a complete remodelling of the superficial layer of the skin is necessary, called resurfacing. Thus, newer skin is formed while stimulating collagen production, thus improving the appearance of stretch marks, sagging and skin imperfections in the treated area.
Morpheus 8 is a medical device that combines microneedling radiofrequency with fractional technology to treat a variety of skin concerns, including stretch marks.
Morpheus 8 uses microneedles to create controlled microlesions in the skin and thus stimulate the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. Collagen is essential for skin elasticity, and Morpheus 8 helps restore that elasticity, thus improving the appearance of stretch marks.
Morpheus 8 can be effective in treating both recent and older stretch marks.
The results of these treatments are not immediate, as improvements in collagen production and skin texture occur over time. Patients often notice progressive improvements in the weeks or months following treatment.
There will always be a specialized dermatological assessment, so that we can indicate the most appropriate solution for your specific case (which could be one of the solutions mentioned above or another that the dermatologist recommends).
How long do stretch mark treatments last?
The number of sessions needed will depend on the type, degree and size of the stretch marks. We recommend that you consult our dermatologist to receive a personalized plan for your particular case.
What results can you expect after stretch mark treatment?
The results you can expect after stretch mark treatment can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type and size of the stretch marks, the type of treatment used and how your skin responds to the treatment.
Typically, stretch mark treatment will result in a visible improvement in the appearance of the stretch marks. They become less noticeable, smoother and less prominent on the skin.
After the treatment it is important to maintain a skin care routine and follow your doctor’s instructions to maintain the results.
What is the price of stretch mark treatment?
It is important for you to consult our dermatologist so that you can receive a treatment plan and budget suited to your particular case.
Prices for stretch mark treatments may vary depending on the type of treatment and complexity.
Schedule a consultation today to receive a quote and clarify all your doubts.
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