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Stretch Mark Introduction

In this day and age, when everybody’s trying to have the perfect body, stretch marks are considered to be an obvious sign of imperfection. It is not uncommon for a person, especially women, to have stretch marks, but it is something they wish they could be without. 

Stretch marks, also called striae, are a form of scarring of the skin with an off-color hue. They are often the result of the rapid stretching of the skin associated with rapid growth (common in puberty), weight loss or weight gain (e.g. pregnancy, muscle building, or rapid gain of fat). Stretch marks often start off as reddish or purplish in color and then become glossy skin that appears streaked in silver or white.

They occur in the elastic middle layer of skin (i.e. the dermis). However, if constantly stretched, the dermis can break down leaving behind stretch marks.
Most commonly, they appear on the abdomen, breasts, upper arms, buttocks, and thighs.

Risk Factors

There are certain risk factors that might increase one’s chances of getting stretch marks. These include: being female, rapidly gaining or losing weight, having a family history of stretch marks, being on corticosteroids, being pregnant, etc.

It has also been proven that stretch marks occur more often in white women than in women of other races.

There might be no certain way of preventing stretch marks. The only thing one might do is to maintain a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise.

Getting Rid of Stretch Marks

There are a few ways of dealing with stretch marks. These include:

  • Plastic surgery. It is among the fastest and most effective ways of getting rid of stretch marks. When it is done, there are no signs of them on the skin. However, there are certain disadvantages. Firstly, it is expensive, so only few people can actually even consider this method. Secondly, it is painful and there is a certain period of recovery that one must go through.
  • Laser treatment. In this way, the skin regenerates, leading to an even toned skin. This has also been proven to be one of the most effective ways of removing stretch marks.
  • Creams. These are actually the slowest treatment available. The best creams are the ones that contain Retin-A and alpha-hydroxy acids. It is widely known that creams cannot actually remove stretch marks, but they can improve the appearance of the skin affected.
  • Microdermabrasion. It is a very effective method of removing stretch marks. It is painless, and not that expensive. However, more than one treatment is necessary for the optimal results.

Of course, before trying any of these methods, one should consult a dermatologist. 

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