What are Stretch Marks (Straie)?
Stretch marks or striae, as they are called in dermatology, are a form of scarring on the skin with an off-color hue. They are caused by tearing of the dermis, and over time can diminish but not disappear completely. It is a common misconception that stretch marks are solely the result of the rapid stretching of the skin associated with rapid growth (common in puberty) or weight gain (e.g. pregnancy or muscle building) that overcomes the dermis’s elasticity. Stretch marks are influenced by hormonal changes associated with puberty, pregnancy, muscle building etc. Although stretch marks are generally associated with pregnancy and obesity, they can also develop during rapid muscle growth.
For so many women, stretch marks are an unavoidable and unpleasant side effect of pregnancy. They can also affect anyone else who has gained or lost a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. Some people are even unlucky enough to acquire them during the growth spurts of puberty. Although maintaining a stable weight and taking good care of one’s skin are certainly steps in the right direction, the unfortunate truth is that heredity and hormonal changes play a considerable role in the formation of stretch marks.
There are many oils, creams, and lotions that are purported to improve or even prevent stretch marks. While Vitamin A and AHA has been shown to be marginally effective at reducing the apparent depth of stretch marks, and there are those who swear by treatments with other lotions and potions, most medical experts agree that the claims are mostly hype.With the advent of the use of lasers for cosmetic purposes, though, hope for the treatment of this cosmetic problem seems to have been renewed.