Stretch Marks are a common problem affecting both women and men, and many different treatment methods have been developed to eliminate the deterioration of the appearance. There may be many reasons for Stretch Marks, such as hormonal factors, excessive weight gain, rapid weight gain and loss. What is Stretch Marks and How to Treat Stretch Marks? If you want to learn about this topic, this article is for you.
What is a Stretch Mark?
Striae, occurs when the skin is exposed to excessive stress on the dermis layer. The skin becomes thinner, weak and torn. The problematic part is easily separated from healthy skin. While the newly formed cracks create a purplish color darker than the skin color; over time it becomes lighter in color and takes on a pale pearl color. The color of the cracks varies according to the structure of the person. Since skin cracks are frequently encountered in women during pregnancy, it is also called pregnancy crack. Although it does not disrupt the integrity of the skin, its treatment is a very curious situation because it disrupts the aesthetic appearance.
What is The Cause of Stretch Marks?
The skin consists of epidermis, dermis and hypodermis layers from top to bottom. The elastin and collagen fibers in the dermis are the structures responsible for the healthy appearance and elasticity of the skin. When these fibers break off and the bonds between them are weakened, noticeable and aesthetic deformations occur on the skin. The most important factor that causes this is pregnancy status in women. During pregnancy, the skin is exposed to a lot of tension. Especially in the last months, cracks may occur in the abdomen, legs and breasts due to both weight and edema and abdominal tension. Apart from this, the conditions that cause crack formation are not precisely determined. Cracks are seen in certain parts of the body in situations such as excessive weight gain and loss, development of muscle structure during adolescence, bodybuilding.
Another reason for cracking in the skin is hormones. Skin cracks can be seen in the person as a result of hormonal change. Skin crack formation has been associated with weight. According to the researches, the possibility of cracking in people with obesity problems increases up to 40%. It is known that some diseases and drugs used cause cracks. Especially in patients using systemic cortisone, elastin and collagen fibers are destroyed. As a result, cracks may be observed in some areas. It is also found in diseases such as Cushing’s syndrome in which cortisol levels vary. In some infectious diseases, cracks are observed as a result of tissue damage. Sometimes skin cracks can occur for no apparent reason. This situation is called idiopathic crack.
What Are Stretch Marks Symptoms
The color, appearance and location of the new stretch marks on the body vary. Even if it occurs anatomically in all regions, it is generally seen on the breasts, abdomen, hips and legs, inner arm and back. Hormones are known to be effective in cracking. Therefore, the incidence of cracks in different areas increases in women and men. While most of the women have cracks in the chest area after the hip and leg area; There are cracks in the arms, lower back and buttocks in men. The time of appearance usually coincides with adolescence. The cracks that occur during pregnancy are called stria gravidarum and there is a particularly dense crack appearance in the abdomen. Cracks do not give any symptoms other than their appearance. However, in some dense and large cracks, itching, wound etc. may occur.
What are the Stages of Stretch Marks?
There are two types of skin cracks. When it is first formed, it is observed as a more red-purple color than the skin tone. This type is called striae rubra. As time passes, its color becomes pale and takes the name of striae alba. Some changes occur in the surrounding tissues when the cracks are first formed. In the first stage, it was determined that the superficial vein and lymph cells increased in this area. In later stages, a decrease in collagen fibers is seen, and the epidermis is thinned.
Clinically, striae are defined in 4 stages.
Stage I refers to the newly formed skin crack.
In Stage II, the color of the crack whitened. Collapse or opening does not appear around the stria. However, in the advanced stage of Stage II, depression is seen on palpation.
In stage III, there is an opening in the striae and streaking may be seen on the skin.
In stage IV, there is an apparent crack appearance.
In the treatment of skin cracks, it is important to know the clinical stages, as the intensity and type of treatment are usually determined according to the stages of the cracks.
How is Stretch Mark Treated?
The most important thing to know about stretch marks is that this does not cause a clinical problem. As a result of this situation, which is frequently encountered in women, treatment options have been diversified over the years, with the belief that the body is aesthetically impaired. However, the stage at which crack treatment will be started affects the result of the treatment as much. The earlier it is caught, the more successful the treatment will be. Again, it should be known that; Regardless of the type of treatment, cracks cannot be completely removed, but most of them can be removed cosmetically.
First of all, the risk factors of the person should be determined in the treatment. In a period when he will experience a very rapid weight change, information should be given about the cracks that may occur in his body. The fact that the person is aware of the risks beforehand helps to get more effective results in the fight with the cracked appearance.
The main purpose in the treatment of stretch marks is to prevent the reduction of collagen fibers and to stimulate the production of these fibers, to reduce the superficial vein appearance seen in the surrounding tissues in clinical stages, to restore the elastic property of the skin, to minimize the pigmentation problem, to minimize the crack formation by ensuring the normal moisture balance of the skin. Today, a wide variety of treatment protocols are applied to fulfill these goals. These methods are chosen according to the person and applied under his / her supervision. It is common to apply certain special ingredients together with massage topically in the treatment. Among these ingredients, ingredients such as vitamin A derivatives, centella asiatica plant extract, hyaluronic acid, vegetable oils (olive, almond, cocoa), glycolic acid are widely used in topical application. However, it has been stated that the massage applied while applying this content to the skin is more effective than the content in topical treatment. Since some ingredients are not suitable for pregnant women in topical application, it is necessary to consult a doctor while applying them.
Apart from these, chemical peeling and combined microdemabrosion treatment can be applied. In this form of treatment, it is the process of peeling the skin by spraying a special content on the skin. When this treatment is supported with chemical peeling, its effect increases.
Another treatment method is radiofrequency application on the crack. In the classical method, microneedles are used. It can also be applied with other combined systems.
Apart from this, laser and light therapy are among the frequently preferred methods in the treatment of cracks. In particular, laser application is preferred to reduce the vein appearance and increase the pigment density. There are two different forms of laser therapy. Skin integrity is somewhat impaired in the type known as ablative laser. By increasing the wavelength, the water in the tissues is targeted. This water is converted into heat in a controlled manner and used to trigger restructuring.
In another type of nonablative laser application, it works in different wavelengths and gives a chance to treatment for specific problems. Apart from laser, phototherapy treatment is also used in crack treatment.
Today, besides these, special methods called carboxytherapy and PRP have also been used. PRP is frequently used not only in the treatment of cracks, but also in the treatment of acne scars on the skin. It means that the plasma, which contains intense growth factors, obtained from the person’s own blood, is injected back into the person’s orphaned area.
In addition to professional treatments, devices that try to trigger skin regeneration with a device with needles with varying sizes on the rotary wipe, called roles, are on the agenda. However, these devices must be used under expert control, otherwise they may cause unwanted reactions on the skin.
While these methods are not exactly curative, they can help prevent stretch marks and improve the appearance.