Summary of Stretch Marks, Causes and Treatment
Stretch marks are long, narrow streaks or lines that develop on the skin. They occur when the skin suddenly stretches and is extremely common.
Anyone can develop stretch marks, although they tend to affect women more than men.
They can occur in a variety of body parts, including the stomach, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms and lower back.
This type of scarring occurs when the skin can not return to its normal form after a period of intense growth, often due to pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss or puberty. More than 50 percent of women experience stretch marks during pregnancy.
Fast facts about stretch marks
- Stretch marks are long, narrow streaks or stripes that occur when the skin is stretched too fast.
Pregnancy, puberty and rapid weight gain can cause stretch marks.
- There is little medical evidence available that confirms the effectiveness of current treatments for stretch marks.
Stretch marks often fade over time without treatment and pose no serious long-term health risk.
Stretch Marks Treatment
One of the greatest breakthroughs of the decade, the CO2 fractional laser treatment (laser skin resurfacing) has enabled many people to get the body they desire.
The Fractional CO2 laser is most commonly used for skin resurfacing of the face but recently has been shown to cause a great improvement in stretch marks. It works by ablating a fraction of the treatment area while the surrounding skin tissue is untouched and therefore, not damaged. This not only proves to be a better option with faster results compared to treatments like topical creams and oils that can take more than 6 months just to show a measly improvement of 10 to 20 percent, but it also produces better results as the collagen production can work in conjunction with existing, live skin tissue as opposed to the entire treatment area being damaged at once. Through the use of a topical anesthetic, side effects like mild discomfort can be allayed. A CO2 Fraxel treatment allows up to a 75% reduction in noticeable stretch marks just after a few treatments.