Most people think only women have to deal with stretch marks, but men get them too, mostly from rapid weight and muscle gain. They’re difficult to prevent, no matter how you got them. You need to visit an experienced dermatologist like those at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, New York. In one visit, you have access to many different speciaiists and the latest technology. Call today for an evaluation.
As the largest organ in your body, your skin takes a lot of abuse. It consists of three main layers that work together to protect your body. Your three layers of skin react differently to changes within your body or from environmental damage.
Sudden weight gain or pregnancy sometimes causes a breakdown in the collagen located in the middle layer. This results in stretch marks. Resembling mild scar tissue, stretch marks allow the underlying blood vessels to show through the broken collagen.
Stretch marks are painless. Often appearing on your hips, buttocks, breasts, thighs or abdomen, these marks usually fade over time. The collagen production decreases, the blood vessels narrow, and the marks fade in color.
What Do Stretch Marks Look Like?
The appearance of stretch marks varies, depending on how long you’ve had them and how they occurred. You may notice indentions or lines on your skin. Stretch marks may cover one small spot, or they may encompass much larger areas.
These streaks or lines often start out as red, blue, purple or pink in color. The streaks’ color fades over time to white or silver. Your skin type and color may affect the appearance and severity of stretch marks.
Why Do You Get Stretch Marks?
Although anyone — man or woman — can develop stretch marks, it’s unclear why some people have a greater tendency than others. Some contributing factors may include:
- Pregnancy, especially at a young age
- Family genetics — if you have family members who have stretch marks, there’s a good chance you’ll also end up with them
- Lighter, fairer skin types, which seem more susceptible
- Quick or significant weight gain or even muscle gain
- A diagnosis of Cushing’s disease, Marfan syndrome or other genetic conditions
- Choosing to undergo breast enlargement surgery
- High levels of steroid hormones, which weaken the skin’s collagen layer
Many cosmetic companies sell topical creams or ointments to combat or cover stretch marks. Despite claims to the contrary, once stretch marks form, they never completely disappear. Some treatments are more effective at reducing their appearance than others. Talk to your dermatologist at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, NY.
What Are Your Treatment Options for Stretch Marks?
Other than radical surgery to remove excess skin after you’ve lost a lot of weight, there aren’t any proven treatments to completely and permanently remove stretch marks. There are some options to temporarily reduce their visibility or cover them up. The treatments that minimize their appearance include:
- Retinoid creams that include tretinoin. This prescription medication helps rebuild the collage beneath the top layer of your skin, where the damage is. These retinoid creams work best on new and recent stretch marks. The creams seem to be less effective on older marks.
- Microdermabrasion. Using a handheld device that blasts tiny crystals onto your skin, microdermabrasion is a mechanical process that encourages the collage in the first few layers of skin to tighten, stimulating healthy growth.
- Laser and light therapies. Intense pulsed light (IPL) are medical lasers that have proven an effective form of treatment for some people. This delicate procedure increases collagen production over time. This procedure should only be performed by a certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist.
- Plastic surgery. If you’ve experienced significant weight loss and have sagging skin, this invasive treatment removes the excess skin and tightens other areas. You may experience some scarring.
- Microneedling. Tiny needles in the hands of an expert puncture your skin, reaching into the middle layer and harnessing your skin’s natural healing abilities. The increased collagen production reduces the appearance of your stretch marks.
- Fibroblast plasma skin treatments. This treatment combines ultrasound with your own platelet rich plasma (PLP). A new, cutting-edge treatment, fibroblast stimulates your skin’s natural healing properties to rebuild collagen and elastin fibers. After drawing blood from your arm, your Medex doctor uses a centrifuge to separate the platelet rich plasma from the rest of your blood. The resulting plasma is injected into the middle layer of your skin to jump start the healing process and reduce the appearance of marks.
The best treatment for stretch marks is prevention. You can work to prevent marks by maintaining a healthy weight and consulting your doctor during pregnancy to improve the elasticity of your skin. Better treatment options like fibroblast plasma restores a smoother, more youthful appearance.
While stretch marks pose no danger to your health, they can be unsightly. When you’re ready to get rid of them, contact the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, New York to learn about your options from an experienced dermatology specialist.