Stretch Marks – What Options Do You Have?
The dreaded stretch mark. Scars caused by a tear in the deeper layers of the skin known as the dermis. Unfortunately, stretch marks are permanent and quite visible. Fortunately, the darker, earlier manifestation of stretch marks improves over time and ultimately turns pale and silvery in color. However, these marks never fully go away on their own.
Why Do We Develop Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are caused by rupturing of collagen and elastin in the skin. Most commonly, this is caused by the skin stretching beyond its elastic limit. This can happen as a result of excess weight, pregnancy, hormones, massive muscle gain or even simply genetics. When the weight is lost or the baby is born, the skin never fully recovers from the trauma of the stretch.
Nonsurgical Options for the Treatment of Stretch Marks
Unfortunately, there is very little evidence supporting nonsurgical treatment for stretch marks as a way to completely eliminate them. Ultimately, all we can do is hasten the maturity of the marks – turning them from dark to light. Massaging the stretch mark each day and applying pressure can help this process. Staying hydrated can also be very helpful in keeping the skin healthier. There’s limited evidence showing that topical hyaluronic acid creams may improve the appearance of stretch marks as well. There are even laser treatments that have some limited benefit.
Surgical Options to Improve the Signs of Stretch Marks
Speaking to a qualified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Szymanski is the first step in understanding whether there are appropriate surgical options for your stretch marks. And this largely depends on where the stretch marks are located. For example, stretch marks under the belly button can be removed with a tummy tuck procedure that can also have secondary aesthetic benefits. However, stretch marks on the sides of the abdomen and in certain other areas of the body may not be as amenable to surgical intervention.
Preventing Stretch Marks in the First Place
Of course, all of the above would be moot if we could prevent stretch marks in the first place. Sadly, it is much easier said than done. All we can suggest is that you keep your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water and using moisturizing cream, especially if you see that your skin is dry. Otherwise, try to maintain a stable, normal weight, which can reduce the risk of stretch marks.
In the meantime, for this and any other skin conditions that you may be experiencing, please feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Szymanski who can offer options to improve your skin and body.