Anyone can have stretch marks or striae as it is medically known. The dermis of the skin consists of collagen and elastin fibres. These fibres are responsible for elasticity and resilience of skin. Sudden and continuous stretching of the skin results in rupture of these fibres and stretch mark formation. Stretch marks are narrow, streak-like or broad zig-zag lines on the skin surface. They are often red or purple at first, before gradually fading to a silvery-white colour. They usually occur over the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, upper arms, shoulders and breasts. Stretch marks are more common in women than in men.
Several factors like pregnancy, oscillating between weight loss and weight gain especially through crash diets, puberty, certain medications, genetic factors and health conditions like Cushing’s syndrome and Marfan's syndrome result in stretch marks. Treatment of stretch mark is a challenge and home remedies and camouflaging cosmetics offer temporary solutions.
A few things that could help prevent stretch marks to an extent include maintaining a healthy weight with a balanced diet rich in vitamins (A, E, and C) and minerals (zinc and silicon) and essential fatty acids, keeping your body hydrated with lots of water, good skin care with regular moisturisation and exfoliation, nutritional supplements and ensuring steady weight gain during pregnancy. Another excellent complement to these remedies is cream, though they have limited properties. Creams with aloe vera, cocoa butter and shea butter help in moisturizing and healing of skin
Cosmetic procedures like Chemical peeling, Microdermabrasion and Microneedling help only to a certain extent as they can penetrate only to a limited depth. Moreover, every patient is different, so a combination of various treatments is required to get the best possible outcome. If there is a large amount of loose skin with stretch marks on the abdomen, then abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) can be done to remove the extra fat which also helps for stretch marks. However, this kind of cosmetic surgery is an expensive option.” Lasers are the most effective and novel treatment for removal of stretch marks. “At ISAAC, we use Pixel Fractional Resurfacing Laser. It creates microscopic wounds and healing takes place in the surrounding normal skin. Each treatment produces new collagen and epithelium which fills in the stretch marks and restores the skin’s elasticity. 5-6 treatments result in improvement of both texture and appearance of fresh red as well as mature, white striae. In a nutshell, the treatment is safe for all skin types with little or no discomfort and risk of infection. Further, appearance continues to improve over the next 3 to 6 months after the laser treatment