Are stretch marks a sign of being unhealthy? Should I be worried?

Date 22 Apr 2024  

Table of Contents

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks, medically termed striae, are scars or disfiguring skin lesions. They are long set-in lines, narrow streaks, stripes, or rippled marks on the skin that can affect anyone, especially women. This type of scarring can occur on a range of body parts and is usually seen on the hips, thighs, stomach, upper breasts, and lower back.

Stretch marks can be of varying colour when newly formed. They can be pink, red, purplish-blue, reddish-brown, or dark brown, depending on the skin colour of an individual. Over time, the stretch marks get mature and turn silvery white, shares a Cosmetic Gynaecologist In Hyderabad at Eternelle Aesthetics. They gradually fade out and flatten, but they do not completely go away.

Certain aesthetic procedures are required to get rid of the unappealing appearance of stretch marks. So, if you are experiencing them, then this article will help you learn more about stretch marks, their causes and ways to get them managed with the expert insights of stretch mark treatment doctors at Eternelle Aesthetics.

What are the causes of stretch marks?

Stretch marks are the result of rapid, excessive skin expansion or contraction- stretching of the connective tissue beyond its elasticity limit. They form in the dermis- the middle skin layer. The dermis tears and the deeper skin layers show through, that’s the stretch marks.

The common causes of stretch marks include:

  • Puberty (Adolescence): When an individual reaches puberty, rapid growth spurts occur and that leads to stretching of the skin and the appearance of stretch marks.
  • Rapid weight gain: Putting on a lot of body weight in a short time period can cause stretch marks.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women experience stretch marks, especially at the time of their last trimester or after the delivery of their child. Stretching of the abdominal skin to accommodate the baby in the womb and a surge in cortisol hormones that weaken collagen and elastin fibres can cause stretch marks.
  • Bodybuilding: People who do workout to build muscles can get stretch marks as their muscles bulge.
  • Prolonged use of topical corticosteroids: Corticosteroids reduce collagen levels in the skin. Collagen supports and strengthens the skin and its reduced amount can cause stretch marks.
  • Certain medical conditions: Marfan Syndrome and Cushing’s Syndrome can result in stretch marks. Marfan Syndrome causes reduced skin elasticity and Cushing’s Syndrome causes a lot of cortisol hormone production which results in weakened elastic fibres in the skin.
  • Breast implant surgery: Placing breast implants in small breasts leads to sudden rapid enlargement of the breasts and an increase in breast volume. There is stretching of the skin which causes stretch marks to appear on the breasts.

What are the risk factors associated with development of stretch marks?

Stretch marks develop due to a number of risk factors, including:

  • Family history
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) before pregnancy
  • Chronic diseases
  • Birthweight of the child in pregnant women
  • Obese women bearing large or multiple babies in their womb
  • Age-related changes in the skin’s collagen and connective tissue that affects the tearing of the skin.

Are stretch marks a sign of being unhealthy?

Stretch marks are not a serious medical condition. Their development does not cause any physical harm but they aren’t appealing to look at either. They can cause self-image problems and anxiety. People go in for stretch marks removal treatments if they are conscious of their appearance.

Rarely, stretch marks may be caused by an underlying health issue such as Cushing’s Syndrome (a disorder marked with high cortisol hormone level), Marfan’s Syndrome (characterised by reduced elasticity in the skin), or Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome (a disorder that manifests as very stretchy skin that can easily bruise). That’s when stretch marks can be a sign of something serious or unhealthy and a cause of worry.

How can stretch marks be treated?

There are a range of medical treatments that can help treat stretch marks by boosting collagen in the skin. Eternelle Aesthetics, cosmetic surgeons in Hyderabad offer a variety of stretch mark removal treatments at their office. The different treatment options include:

  • Laser and light therapy: Lasers or intense light energy gets converted to thermal energy that can help fade out stretch marks by promoting collagen remodelling. Pulsed dye laser produces painless, gentle bursts of light. They are best for the removal of newly formed, pink, or red stretch marks as they help calm the blood vessels under the skin. For the removal of old, white stretch marks, Fractional CO2 laser therapy is very effective. Excimer laser therapy can help correct pigmentation problems associated with stretch marks. It involves the use of UVB light.
  • Microdermabrasion: This is a skin resurfacing therapy wherein tiny abrasive crystals are used to rub off the superficial skin. It is recommended for the treatment of new, reddish stretch marks.
  • Radiofrequency therapy: In this stretch marks treatment in Hyderabad, radio waves are used to generate heat that is passed into the skin’s middle layer to trigger collagen. As it helps restore collagen in the skin, it can help improve stretch marks.
  • Chemical peels: In this treatment, an acid solution of specific strength is applied over the stretch marks to burn off the superficial skin layers and encourage new skin growth. Depending on how deep stretch marks are, different chemical peels can be used to improve the appearance of stretch marks. There are three kinds of chemical peels: Light (such as lactic acid and glycolic acid), Medium (such as salicylic acid), and Deep (such as phenol and trichloroacetic acid).
  • Cosmetic surgery: A tummy tuck can flatten the abdomen by removing extra and loose skin as well as extra fat. It even tightens abdominal muscles. Stretch marks in the lower abdomen after pregnancy can be removed to some extent with this surgery.

How can I reduce my risk of having stretch marks?

You cannot prevent stretch marks but you can reduce your chances of being affected by it. The ways by which you may reduce your risk of having stretch marks are as follows:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle and stable, healthy body weight.
  • Avoid dieting.
  • Eat a diet rich in vitamins (like Vitamin A and Vitamin C) and minerals (like Silicon and Zinc).
  • Drink adequate water daily.
  • Slowly and gradually gain weight during pregnancy.

Take Help of An Expert

Stretch marks are unsightly marks or indented scarring on the skin that do not pose any chronic health risk. Their treatment is normally intended to improve the appearance and self-image of the person. If you are searching for the best clinic or specialist to get rid of your stretch marks at a reasonable price, consult the best plastic surgeon in Hyderabad at Eternelle Aesthetics today.