Our skin comprise of mostly collagen and some elastin fiber. This elastin gives the skin flexibility and allows our skin to stretch. It is also the protein in our skin and forms a protection over it, allowing our skin to extend and shrink back to its initial location. However, the more the skin is stretched, the more damaged the elastin fibers will become, causing stretch marks.
Stretch marks are obvious and prominent although they look similar to normal skin when scrutinized under a microscope. The cause of stretch marks is primarily hormones and hormones fluctuate in accordance to our weight loss and weight gain. Hormones are similar to cholesterol and fats and influence the shape of stretch marks. In the same way, these stretch marks can be artificially created by using topical creams that contain corticosteroid. This cream is identical to our body’s hormones and so by applying it, we are encouraging the appearance of stretch marks. It is a misconception that stretch marks are caused from the stretching and widening of the skin when it is actually caused by mere hormones.
During puberty, growing and people who gain and lose weight during and post pregnancy increases the expanding of skin. These changes in conjunction with the severe hormone changes and metabolism contribute to the creation of stretch marks.
Lasers particularly can treat stretch marks but one should not put hope that lasers can entirely remove these marks as no treatment can do so. The marks and texture of stretch marks can be diminished and improved on but it cannot be removed totally as there is no perfect treatment available for this condition.
Lasers can effectively reduce the reddish color of the stretch marks and stop some inflammation that causes these marks In addition, collagen and elastin fiber are encouraged which can make the skin look more natural. However, whitish stretch marks may not have similar improvements compared to the red marks. And so for this reason, white stretch marks use fractional lasers which can improve the appearances moderately. Results are satisfactory with minimal downtime but some darker-skinned patients may not encounter any response to this treatment the risk of post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.
To prevent the formation of stretch marks, one can take precaution by applying Retinol A and alpha hydroxyl acid creams when one is pregnant or gaining weight fast. The application of this cream can curb the shaping of stretch marks. If the forming of marks had taken place, one should consult an experienced doctor to allow thorough examination to know the treatments available.