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Stretch marks are a common problem for most women, and some men. Fortunately, advancements in cosmetic technologies provide many effective treatments for stretch mark reduction. But, in order to know how to get rid of stretch marks, it’s important to learn what stretch marks are. Discover who gets them, how they form and the best ways to get rid of stretch marks.
Before getting started, understand that stretch marks are scars. For some individuals wanting to know how to get rid of stretch marks may be disappointed to discover that no stretch mark treatment can offer complete removal. However, many very effective treatments can significantly reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Stretch Marks 101
Stretch marks, or striae, are streak like scars that result when the skin stretches beyond its limits due to rapid weight gain or pregnancy. Genetic propensity and hormonal changes (such as puberty or taking cortisol steroids) highly influence a person’s propensity to develop stretch marks.
Stretch marks are most common in people with fair skin and women, although striae can happen to men and women, of any skin type. According to a recent study:
Stretch marks can occur on any part of the body that experiences extreme stretching of the skin, but most often, striae occur in areas with large amounts of fat, such as:
Why Do Stretch Marks Form?
There is debate about the actual mechanism that leads to the formation of striae, but most scientists agree that stretch marks are caused by damage to the middle layer of skin known as the dermis. The dermis consists of structural proteins such as collagen and elastin. These proteins are made of elastic like fibers that keep skin taut when stretched. When these fibers are pulled beyond their capacity, they can stretch out and tear. The top layer of skin remains intact, but the torn epidermis allows blood vessels and the deepest layer of skin, known of the subdermis to show through. This results in a scar like streak running parallel across the skin.
Cortisone enhances a person propensity to develop stretch marks. This is because cortisone weakens the elasticity of structural proteins found in the skin’s dermis and inhibits fibroblasts from generating elastin and collagen.
What gives stretch marks their color?
Many of the people wanting to know how to get rid of stretch marks complain about the discoloration of their striae. When the dermis is first torn, the blood vessels tint the striae with a purple to pinkish hue. Recently acquired stretch marks are known as striae rubra. As the striae grows older, the blood vessels contract and the bottom layer of skin, which consists mostly of pale colored fat is able to show through, turning the stretch mark into a silvery, grayish streak. These stretch marks are known as striae albae.
Remember, striae are scars. As such, it may not be possible to fully get rid of stretch marks. But knowing the difference between striae rubra and striae albae is important for those who want to diminish their stretch marks as much as possible. Striae rubra, or newly formed lesions respond much better to stretch mark removal treatments than their older counterparts, striae albae. The sooner your striae are treated with stretch mark treatments, the better the outcome.
Now that you know what stretch marks are, what causes them, and how they get their unsightly characteristics, you are better equipped to choose the best stretch mark treatment for you. Remember, it may not be possible to completely get rid of stretch marks, but these treatment options can dramatically reduce their appearance.
The best way to determine which stretch mark removal treatment is right for you is to schedule a complimentary consultation with the experts at Avahlee Medical Spa. As the leading skin and laser spa in Utah and Salt Lake County, Avahlee is the top provider of professional stretch mark removal in Lehi and SLC.