Stretch marks. What are they exactly? Why do they occur and how can they be treated? Our expert, Dr Katarzyna Kisiel, explains.
Stretch marks develop as the result of overstretching the connective tissue and disrupting the integrity of structural proteins that form the "scaffolding" of the skin. It is a network of collagen and elastin fibers that are responsible for the proper firmness and elasticity of the skin. As the result of its overstretching, long, narrow streaks, stripes or lines known as stretch marks develop on the skin.
Initially, in the inflammatory phase, they begin as delicate and narrow reddish or purple streaks. After about two years from disrupting elastin fibers, the atrophy phase begins – the streaks eventually fade and flatten. Stretch marks can develop in people of all ages, but younger people and adults are at higher risk of developing this type of scarring.
Although this problem affects about 70% of women, men also develop stretch marks, especially if they are exercising intensively. They are the result of rapid weight changes, pregnancy, bodybuilding, or some systemic diseases. Stretch marks may also be influenced by hormonal changes associated with puberty, pregnancy, or menopause. People at particularly high risk of developing stretch marks are women during pregnancy or menopause, those suffering from obesity or frequent weight changes, people using steroid drugs, youth during puberty, bodybuilders, and people with a genetic predisposition. Stretch marks most often occur on thighs, hips, buttocks, belly, and breasts in women and on the lower back area and upper arms in case of men. In their initial phase of development, when stretch marks are reddish or pink, they may be dealt with using proper topical preparations. Unfortunately, when they lose pigmentation, they cannot be treated effectively. However, using certain treatment methods supported by proper care, we should focus on fading them by restoring the damaged skin structure.
DR IRENA ERIS PROSYSTEM HOME CARE STRETCH BODY THERAPY 910
Intense Anti-stretch Marks Treatment
Preparations that prevent stretch marks are based on ingredients that improve skin elasticity and stimulate the production of new extracellular matrix proteins, or on substances that improve the micro-circulation in the blood vessels of the skin. On the other hand, preparations reducing the visibility of stretch marks should contain antioxidants, skin softening agents, and substances that support the exfoliation of the epidermis (lactic acid, fruit acids). Finally, an important element of stretch marks prevention is proper, rich in vitamins and microelements diet, exercise, and skin massages.
The treatment of stretch marks is a difficult and timely process. It is much easier to work on preventing them ensuring regular skin care using professional preparations. If, however, stretch marks have already appeared on our skin and skin care does not help, modern cosmetology and aesthetic medicine offer various treatments. These include exfoliating therapies (microdermabrasion, dermabrasion, scrubs with glycolic or trichloroacetic acid or retinoids), mesotherapy, treatments using ultrasound, radio frequency, or laser equipment. They aim to regenerate the skin and support the synthesis of new collagen, and thus to gradually repair the dermis, improve firmness and elasticity of the skin, and enhance its quality and appearance. It is important to remember, however, that the sooner we start the treatment, the better and quicker will be the effects.
dr Katarzyna Kisiel
Expert from Dr Irena Eris Skin Care Institutes dr Katarzyna Kisiel