Stretch marks are narrow streaks or lines that occur on the surface of the skin, Doctors often refer to stretch marks as stria, striae or – during pregnancy – striae gravidarum, they are long, narrow red or purple initially before gradually fading to a silvery-white colour.
Stretch marks can occur anywhere where the skin has been stretched, but they usually affect areas where fat is stored :
- upper arms
- shoulders (in bodybuilders)
Before stretch marks appear, the affected skin will become thin, flattened and pink, and may feel itchy, the stretch marks themselves appear as red or purple streaks or lines, but can be pink, reddish-brown or dark brown, depending on your skin colour.
Stretch marks can occur in patches of parallel lines on your body and often appear “scar-like”. Initially the lines will be slightly raised and may feel wrinkly, before eventually flattening out. As the lines become flatter, they’ll start to fade and change to a white or silvery colour. They’ll usually become less noticeable over time, although this process can sometimes take years.
Stretch marks are caused when the skin rapidly stretches as a result of sudden growth or weight gain, the stretching causes the middle layer of skin (dermis) to tear, allowing the deeper skin layers to show through, forming stretch marks.
The dermis contains strong, inter-connected fibres that allow your skin to stretch as your body grows. However, rapid growth can cause the skin to over-stretch and break the fibres. The tears in the dermis allow the blood vessels below to show through, which is why stretch marks are often red or purple when they first appear, once the blood vessels contract the pale-coloured fat underneath your skin will be visible, and your stretch marks will change to a silvery-white colour.
Treatment consists of a Serum and Cream which will help, promote elasticity and flexibility of the skin and skin micro-needling which will stimulate fibroblast collagen production to improve the appearance of the skin, multiple treatments are required.