National Stretch Mark Day is dedicated to honoring, embracing, and celebrating our body’s imperfections. Stretch marks are a common skin concern that affects many individuals for various reasons. The tiger stripes many of us find on our bodies are completely normal but most find themselves wanting to diminish the appearance of the common skin condition. 

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As we honor National Stretch Mark Day, this article will provide education on how they form and suggestions for reducing the appearance. 

The common cause of stretch marks 

Dr. Karan Lal specializes in adult and pediatric dermatology and serves as the Director of Pediatric Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery at Affiliated Dermatology.

Stretch marks are characterized as long, thin, and sometimes red or purplish lines on the skin. They develop when the skin is stretched beyond its compacity. When the skin is stretched, the elastin and collagen in our skin ruptures – forming stretch marks. 

Stretch marks are very common – it is estimated that about 90% of people have them. However, they do not all look the same. They vary depending on how long you’ve had them, what caused them, where they are on your body and the type of skin you have. 

These marks can appear just about anywhere, but they are most common on your stomach, breasts, upper arms, thighs and buttocks. They most commonly appear during pregnancy, weight gain or loss and after a sudden growth spirt. 

How to diminish the appearance of stretch marks 

If you are expecting to gain weight, experts suggest that you use as much moisturizer as possible. Keeping your body moisturized will help your skin prepare to stretch. 

However, most of us aren’t preparing for these marks and they often appear without us knowing. If these marks continue to get worse, it’s recommended to visit your local dermatologist. You can then be prescribed  topical treatments including hyaluronic acid and tretinoin that may help diminish the appearance of your stretch marks.

If you are interested in completely treating your stretch marks, there is some good news. Dermatologist offices like Affiliated Dermatology offer a non-invasive treatment option. An innovative device, the Picocare Majesty Machine, can effectively treat these marks. The machine uses laser technology that delivers energy to the skin in a series of rapid, ultra-short pulses. These pulses break down the damaged skin cells, promoting collagen production and encouraging the growth of new, healthy skin cells. 

During the treatment, the dermatologist will assess the patient’s skin and determine the appropriate settings for the laser. After the treatment, the patient may experience mild redness and swelling but can return to their normal activities almost immediately following the procedure. 

Preventing stretch marks 

In addition to treatments, there are several ways to prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying hydrated, and regularly moisturizing the skin can all help keep the skin supple and resilient. 

Stretch marks can be a frustrating and persistent skin concern but you are not alone in this. Embracing your body and its imperfections is the best advice.

Author: Dr. Karan Lal specializes in adult and pediatric dermatology and serves as the Director of Pediatric Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery at Affiliated Dermatology.