What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are superficial skin lesions caused by the trauma caused with excess weight, pregnancy, or severe swelling. These conditions which cause tearing of underlying fascia called collagen, are the main causes of stretch marks. They usually appear as off-colored lesions that form linear at the area where the “stretching” occurred. These marks are typically red or pale in coloration.
Are Stretch Marks Permanent?
Because of the tissue involved, stretch marks cannot be fully cured. Collagen, a fibrous grouping of proteins known as connective tissue, cannot be fully regenerated after the stretching has occurred.
Due to the lack of vascularization in these types of tissues, healing is slow and incomplete. This means the goal is in reducing stretch marks.
Stretch Mark Treatments
Because ridding yourself of the breakdown in collagen is impossible, there are several known therapies that have been used to reduce the outward appearance of stretch marks. If the appearance of your stretch marks has not reduced in six to twelve months after the first appearance, these may be viable options:
- Natural creams, ointments and oils
- Surgery for stretch marks similar to tummy tuck operations.
- Laser fractional resurfacing
- Blue light therapy
These methods, with exception of the surgical method, aim to stimulate the regeneration of collagen in the affected areas of the skin. Natural lotions and oils aide in moisturizing the outer dermal layers of the skin, as well as penetrating to the torn collagen to assist in regeneration. Stretch marks may be lessened by this non-invasive therapy.
With surgery, the goal is completely getting rid of the stretch mark by removal. Affected tissue is resected in the area that was stretched, and removal of all the torn cutaneous collagen is accomplished. Suturing and use of lasers by the physician can ensure limited scar tissue at the incision.
Each of these therapies vary significantly in pricing and insurance coverage due to the purely cosmetic issue concerning most cases of stretching. The lotions and oils are ultimately the cheapest option, and can reduce the minor to moderate skin conditions. With severe stretchmarks, which are more prevalent in patients who have given birth to multiple children or had bariatric surgery, some of the more advanced measures may be needed.
To fully understand the underlying causes, details, and the best treatment options for stretch marks, a dermatologist should be consulted. These highly specialized physicians can provide a wide variety of information based on the severity and specifications of each case. They can tailor a therapeutic plan for each patient to maximize the benefit of any intervention.