The skin protects the body. While it’s flexible and has a lot of give, it can only go so far. Oftentimes, when women become pregnant or people gain weight, they can accumulate stretch marks. These marks show up on the skin as streaks where the skin has been forced to stretch out beyond expected amounts.
Stretch marks aren’t a danger medically. The damage that stretch marks can cause are to a person’s self confidence in their appearance. Many people don’t like how stretch marks look on their body and focus on trying to find a way to reduce the size and appearance of stretch marks. There are several treatments which can help to reduce the impact of stretch marks on appearance.
Where Can Stretch Marks Appear?
Stretch marks can actually appear in more places than people realize. The most common location tends to be on the belly and abdomen. This is due to how common stretch marks during pregnancy are for women. Increased belly fat is common due to obesity and can cause stretch marks as well. Stretch marks due to pregnancy can also commonly affect the breasts, hips and buttocks of women. In addition to the locations mentioned, stretch marks can occur on a person’s thighs. Stretch marks can also appear on the upper inner arm of many people. Essentially, any area of the body that may be prone to grow during obesity may become vulnerable to stretch marks.
What Do Stretch Marks Look Like
Contrary to some beliefs, there’s actually many different appearances of stretch marks. Stretch marks will often change color depending on how old they are. Common stretch marks start out purple or red with blood vessels closer to the surface. As stretch marks get older, they tend to fade to white. There can also be pink, blue or black stretch marks.
Stretch marks can show up as wide streaks, or as thin lines. Typically, the more widespread the stretch marks, the wide and more obvious the individual marks are. Some people may have streaks that end up covering up some very large parts of the body. Another form of stretch mark is the simple line. These tend to actually be indented into the skin slightly.
How Are Stretch Marks Treated?
There are many different ways that stretch marks can be treated. It’s rare that they can be completed removed, but they can often be reduced to very light in appearance. The goal of many forms of stretch mark therapy is to stimulate the natural regeneration of skin, while removing the dead skin of stretch marks. Some of the potential treatments include:
- Stretch Mark Creams - These topical remedies can be found in over the counter or prescription strength forms.
- Microdermabrasion - This is a procedure that helps with the appearance of white stretch marks. Crystals are sprayed onto the skin before being removed along with dead skin.
- Exfoliation - This is a simple procedure where dead skin is removed from the body in specific areas. By removing the dead skin, it often allows other treatments to be more successful and penetrate into the skin better.
- Laser Therapy - Several different forms of laser therapy have been used to stimulate the skin around stretch marks for healing purposes.
- Cosmetic Surgery - This tends to be the most drastic of therapy options. While this can remove stretch marks, cosmetic surgery can leave different scars.
- Microneedling - This process attempts to stimulate regeneration in the middle layer of skin. This can take several sessions over a few months.