It is estimated that 70 percent of women and 40 percent of men will experience stretch marks at some point throughout their life. Being such a high number, it is likely that you too may fall victim to stretch marks. While easily identifiable by their red, pink, or white streaking, you may have questions about what stretch marks are, how they happen, and especially, how to get rid of them.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks originate in the dermis, the strong, supportive middle layer of the skin that gives the skin its strength and elasticity. Overwhelmed when significantly stretched over a short period of time, the connective fibers in the dermis (like collagen and elastin) become thin and eventually break. As these fibers break, tiny tears develop to aid in the release of the added stress and pressure.
Stretch marks develop in stages. As the skin becomes increasingly thinner, underlying blood vessels become visible, giving way to pink, red, or purple indented clusters, rows, or streaks. Over time, the marks turn white, gray, or silver as the blood vessels contract and only the fat under the skin is visible. Although the dermis attempts repair itself, it tends to lack the smooth appearance that it once had.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are the skin’s natural response to the rapid expansion and stretching of the skin. Certain factors that increase the likelihood of developing stretch marks include:
Genetics: Stretch marks run in the family—if a relative of yours has stretch marks, you are likely to be more susceptible to developing them yourself.
Pregnancy: It is believed that upwards of 90 percent of women will develop stretch marks during their pregnancy.
Weight Gain: Stretch marks occur as your skin stretches to accommodate the newly added weight.
Puberty: The skin is not always able to keep up with a growing body. Studies show that 71 percent of teenage girls have stretch marks—most commonly on their hips, thighs, and breasts.
Are Stretch Marks Treatable?
When it comes to the battle against stretch marks, laser treatments, like Palomar’s Lux1540, have shown to be the most effective. A non-ablative fractional laser, Lux1540 enables Dr. Vendetti to target stretch marks in a unique, multi-pronged approach. Working three ways, Lux1540 stimulates collagen, diminishes discoloration, and improves the texture of the skin.
Without proper treatment, it is nearly impossible to fade stretch marks. We are thrilled to be able to offer an effective treatment at our Virginia Beach practice. Please schedule a consultation at Virginia Surgical Arts to learn if laser stretch mark reduction is for you.