Stretch marks are scars that appear when the skin changes shape quickly. These lines are harmless and often appear during pregnancy, weight gain or loss, or adolescent growth spurts. But is there anything you can do to prevent stretch marks? Here’s what you should know.
Collagen and elastin are the compounds in your skin that keep the surface firm. When your skin suddenly changes shape, the collagen and elastin can rupture. This can cause the appearance of stretch marks, also called striae. They most often appear on areas like the stomach, hips, buttocks, thighs, breasts, and arms.
Stretch marks look different on everyone, but some of the most common symptoms include pink, purple, blue, or black streaks or lines. These lines can be indented, flat, or raised. It’s also possible to experience itching at first. Stretch marks may fade over time, but these scars are typically permanent without treatment.
While stretch marks are common during changes like pregnancy and weight changes, you may be able to prevent them. Just keep in mind that this isn’t always the case.
If you’re in the early stages of pregnancy or planning to lose weight, consider talking to your dermatologist about prevention. They may recommend topical ingredients like hyaluronic acid to stay ahead of stretch marks. Research has also shown that products containing Centella may also be effective.
You might not always be able to prevent stretch marks. However, there are several dermatology services available to reduce the appearance of these scars. Seeing your dermatologist as soon as you notice the appearance of stretch marks boosts your chances of smooth skin in the future. The most common and effective stretch marks treatments include:
Topical Treatments: Products like retinoids, which are a derivative of vitamin A, can be effective at reducing the appearance of new stretch marks. Retinoids can boost collagen production to create a smoother skin appearance. However, these products typically aren’t safe to use during pregnancy.
Laser Therapy: Dermatologist laser treatments can stimulate collagen production and boost skin elasticity. There are several types of laser and light therapies available, so your dermatologist will decide which is best for you. Keep in mind that it can take several laser sessions to see results.
Microdermabrasion: This is an effective cosmetic treatment for a number of skin issues, and dermatologists often recommend microdermabrasion for stretch marks as well. During this treatment, your dermatologist will use a small instrument to spray or rub small crystals onto the stretch marks. The procedure removes the outer layer of skin and encourages new skin to develop.
The results of your treatment will depend on the severity and location of your stretch marks, as well as how long you’ve had them. Your dermatologist will tell you what results you can expect from treatment. They can also recommend lifestyle changes to prevent stretch marks in the future.
Ready to love your skin again? The dermatologists at Pacific Dermatology Specialists are proud to offer skin treatment for stretch marks among our wide selection of cosmetic services. With locations in Long Beach, CA and other communities in the Greater Los Angeles area, our providers also offer medical and surgical dermatology services to support your skin’s health. Contact us today to discuss your skin needs.