Stretch marks may be widespread among expectant mothers, but anyone can develop them at any age. Also known as striae by doctors, stretch marks are merely scars in the dermis (inner skin layer) that develop following an abrupt stretching of the muscle. As the collagen and elastin rupture, they leave a permanent scar beneath the skin. Stretch marks can appear in various parts of the body, and some will stay with you forever. However, those appearing below the belly button can be surgically removed. There are also multiple ways to help reduce the likelihood of developing marks.
Stretch Mark Causes and Risks
Various factors influence the appearance of stretch marks, ranging from extreme hormone levels (prevalent among pregnant women) to body changes (such as gaining or losing weight) and family history. In their early stages, stretch marks appear dark with red or purple highlights. They are often slightly raised above the skin surface and may be itchy and puffy. However, they eventually flatten and become pale, remaining as scars. Body changes and soaring hormones during puberty may cause stretch marks in most teens and expectant mothers. Other causes include strenuous physical workout and using skin lightening products.
Getting Rid of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are permanent but fade out and even become invisible with time. However, they can be severe, leaving significant scars. As such, it is recommended to start combating them as soon as they appear. Deep body massage can help reduce the development of stretch marks by speeding up the maturity and healing of the bruised tissues. However, massage is only effective during the early stages. If you already have stretch marks, there are a few options you can review.
Gels, creams, and topical lotions have been touted to aid the reduction of stretch marks. Unfortunately, there’s little quality research evidence backing their efficiency. The only approved and effective method is tummy tuck surgery, which removes the scars and tightens the skin above for a smooth, even appearance. The surgery is only available for stretch marks appearing below the belly button. If you live in Pennsylvania, Gabay & Gottlieb Cosmetic Surgery offers tummy tucks in Philadelphia that can help remedy stretch marks below the belly button.
Experienced Plastic Surgeons in Philadelphia
If you have stretch marks appearing on the abdomen, breasts, hips, flanks, buttocks, and thighs, early massage and topical applications may be the route to go. However, stretch marks are temporary problems that can fade away without treatment and pose no serious health risk besides being unsightly. A plastic surgeon can help you get rid of stretch marks in the tummy tuck area. New mothers can also consider a mommy makeover that features various procedures (tummy tuck, liposuction, breast lift, etc.) to help combat the adverse effects of pregnancy.
Gabay & Gottlieb Cosmetic Surgery can help you find the safest and most effective solutions for various skin blemishes. Contact us today to find out more about dealing with stretch marks of all kinds.