Stretch marks or striae are unsightly marks or scars that can occur on nearly all body parts except for the face. They can be red-pink stripes or lighter or darker than normal skin. They often occur after a rapid growth spurt or weight gain and therefore, are most commonly found on the thighs, abdomen, breasts, or upper arms where growth and excess fat occur. While not harmful, they can cause a significant amount of distress for patients.
A stretch mark is a type of scar that develops when our skin stretches or shrinks quickly. The sudden change causes the collagen and elastin, which support our skin, to break. As the skin heals, stretch marks may appear.
Not everyone gets stretch marks. You may have a higher risk if other people in your family have also had stretch marks. Conditions that allow your skin to stretch quickly also increase your risk of stretch marks. Examples of these are below.
Stretch marks can initially look red, purple, pink, or reddish-brown. At first stretch marks may feel slightly raised and can be itchy. The color of striae will eventually fade and flatten, and depending on your skin color, the final endpoint may be skin colored or lighter or darker than your normal skin.
There is no magic cream or procedure to erase stretch marks completely; however, there are numerous treatments to improve the appearance of them. Our team, in conjunction with Dr. Haseltine, Dr. Holcomb, and Nurse Practitioner Cherie can discuss options at your appointment. Understand that no treatment is perfect for everyone and almost always consists of a series or combination of procedures. The color of your skin and risks associated with stretch mark treatment must be taken into consideration. We have extensive experience treating all skin types at Pure Dermatology.