Stretch Mark 2017-08-02T15:26:18+00:00

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Improve the Look of Stretch Marks

Striae distensae, more commonly known as stretch marks, are scars that form when the skin begins to stretch beyond its normal capacity. Though the pathogenesis of stretch marks is unknown, it probably is related to changes in the extracellular matrix, including collagen, fibrillin, and elastin fibers as well as overall thinning of the dermal tissues. As the scar matures, the combined loss of fibrillin in the dermal-epidermal region, elastin in the papillary dermis, and elastin and fibrillin in the deep dermis may give the appearance of stretch marks (1).

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Stretch Marks

Stretch marks develop in three main stages:

the acute stage,
the subacute stage, and
the chronic stage (1).

In these three stages, the lesions first appear red and are slightly raised, before extending in length and possibly turning purpuric in the subacute stage.

Lastly, the stretch marks become hypopigmentated and decrease in size (1, 3). Stretch marks can appear anywhere on the body and are most susceptible due to pregnancy, fluctuation in weight, and muscle gain.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_separator][vc_column_text]

Pregnancy Stretch Marks

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Stretch marks due to pregnancy normally appear first along the abdomen before developing along the breasts (3). Similar to stretch marks that appear on other parts of the body, the marks fade after giving birth, but do not disappear completely.

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Weight Gain Stretch Marks

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Weight gain causes stretch marks in various parts of the body as the skin stretches and the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin tear (4). Most common locations of stretch marks associated with weight gain are the thighs, upper arm, buttocks, and calves (3).

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Athletic Stretch Marks

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Athletes, especially weight lifters, develop stretch marks when they build mass and muscle too quickly. The muscles beneath the skin outgrow the rate in which the skin can grow and causes an overstretch resulting in scarring.

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Why do you get Stretch Marks?

Although the main cause of stretch marks is not fully understood, many studies and theories exist to possibly explain its development.

The main cause of stretch marks is theorized to be due to overstretching the skin and causing collagen and elastin fibers to rupture (1, 3) and creating scars (stretch marks) during the wound healing process.

Other studies have also shown that release of cortisone and glucocorticoids hormones via illnesses such as Cushing disease prevent collagen fibroblast production, leaving the body more susceptible to stretch marks.

Although the majority of people are prone to stretch marks, studies have further shown that genetics may attribute to why some people do not develop stretch marks while others do.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Literature Cited:

[1] Bleve, M., Capra, P., Pavanetto, F., & Perugini, P. (2012). Ultrasound and 3D Skin Imaging: Methods to Evaluate Efficacy of Striae Distensae Treatment. Dermatology Research and Practice2012, 673706. doi:10.1155/2012/673706

[2] Fabbrocini G, Annunziata MC, D’Arco V, De Vita V, Lodi G, Mauriello MC, Pastore F, Monfrecola G. Acne scars: pathogenesis, classification and treatment. Dermatol Res Pract. 2010;2010:893080. doi: 10.1155/2010/893080. Epub 2010 Oct 14. PubMed [citation] PMID: 20981308, PMCID: PMC2958495

[3] Naein, F. F., & Soghrati, M. (2012). Fractional CO2 laser as an effective modality in treatment of striae alba in skin types III and IV. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences17(10), 928–933.

[4] Stretch marks. (n.d.). Retrieved August 12, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stretch-marks/basics/causes/con-20032624 [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]