What are stretch marks?
Most of us know what a stretch mark looks like but do we fully understand what it is, how it came about or how it is treated. Stretch marks may appear after repeated over-stretching of the skin over weak connective tissue.Stretch marks appear as long, narrow streaks, stripes or lines that develop on the skin and which differ in colour from the skin around it. They are extremely common and are the result of a sudden stretching of the skin. Anyone can develop stretch marks, although women are more affected than men. Stretch marks can appear as red or purple due to blood vessels showing through the tears in the dermis, depending on the skin colour, and which fade over time into silvery pale or darker lines
Here are some key points about stretch marks:
- The occurrence of stretch marks ranges from 40-90%, depending on race, age and sex.
- Both men and women are affected by stretch marks.
- Approximately 70% of girls develop stretch marks during puberty.
- Approximately 40% of boys develop stretch marks during puberty.
- Stretch marks can arise during pregnancy, puberty, after rapid weight gain, as a result of various medical conditions or after using certain medications.
- Stretch marks often appear from the 25th week of pregnancy.
- Common areas for stretch marks to arise include the stomach, breasts, hips, upperback, buttocks, thighs and upper arms.
- Cocoa butter is not effective in preventing stretch marks.
- Laser therapy has proven effective for stretch mark removal.