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May 5, 2017 | Dermatology
The skin is naturally stretchy and flexible to accommodate for events like pregnancy or growth, but when it’s stretched too far, stretch marks can result. Stretch marks are indented streaks called striae that can appear on several areas of the body, including the breasts, hips, buttocks and thighs.
Stretch marks can fade over time, and certain treatments may help speed up the process. Here are some basic facts about stretch marks, including how to treat and prevent them.
Stretch marks are caused by any extreme stretching of the skin. A variety of factors impact their severity, including genetics, stress on the skin and cortisone levels—cortisone is a hormone that weakens elastic fibers within the skin.
There are several factors that can increase your risk of stretch marks:
Not all symptoms of stretch marks are the same, and they can vary depending on a few factors—their cause, their location and certain qualities of your skin. A few symptoms are relatively common across most cases, however:
Stretch marks don’t hurt and aren’t harmful from a health standpoint, but many people experience low self-esteem or have a poor body image due to the appearance of stretch marks—especially those that are widespread. If this is the case, speak to your doctor about treatment options.
Treatments for stretch marks can only be so effective—they won’t go away completely, however, there are treatments that can help improve the appearance of stretch marks:
Many creams claim to prevent stretch marks, and while certain individuals may find success, there’s no consistent evidence that any of these are helpful. The best prevention against stretch marks is weight moderation, especially during pregnancy. Speak to your doctor about proper diet and exercise habits, and about any other stretch mark concerns you may have.
”Stretch marks.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stretch-marks/home/ovc-20169154
“Your Skin and Stretch Marks.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/beauty/stretch-marks
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.