Stretch marks, or striae, occur after a period of intense growth where the skin is stretched rapidly – such as pregnancy or adolescence. Initially appearing as purple or reddish marks, stretch marks atrophy and lose pigmentation over time, giving them their silvery appearance.
Although stretch marks are a normal occurrence for many people and do not cause any medical concern, they’re not always welcome. If stretch marks are causing you to feel self-conscious, there are select treatments which can help to fade their appearance.
What causes stretch marks?
Stretch marks can be caused by any event that forces the skin to stretch or shrink rapidly. Common examples include growth spurts during adolescence, pregnancy, weight loss, weight gain, muscle growth and sometimes surgery. During these events, the important support structures within the skin (collagen and elastin) are disrupted, leaving behind the scars we know most commonly as stretch marks.
Stretch marks can appear on a range of body areas, however they most commonly affect the stomach, breasts, buttocks, thighs, hips, flank, lower back and the upper arms.
Stages of stretch marks
There are two main stages of stretch marks, striae rubrae (acute) and striae albae (advanced).
Striae rubrae refers to the initial occurrence of stretch marks and they appear pink/red or purple in colour. It’s normal for stretch marks to be slightly itchy or raised during this stage.
After several months, or maybe years in some cases, your stretch marks will move into the advanced stage, striae albae. This stage can be recognised by the flattening of the stretch marks, and they will fade into white, silvery colour.
Treatments for Stretch Marks
As with any scar, stretch marks cannot be removed completely, however select treatments can reduce their appearance. We offer complimentary consultations with our highly trained dermal technicians who can assess your stretch marks and create a customised treatment and product plan to suit you.
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