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Stretch marks

Stretch marks are streak-like lines on the surface of the skin. They are often red or purple at first, before gradually fading to a silvery-white colour. Stretch marks develop when your skin has stretched considerably over a short period of time. The rapid stretching causes the dermis to break in places and allow the deeper layers of the skin to show through, forming stretch marks. Skin elasticity depends on your genes.

They are a very common finding in both men and women. Stretch marks mainly appear during pregnancy or as a result of growth spurts during puberty and weight gain. In women, they are most likely to appear where larger amounts of fat are stored.

The abdomen, buttocks and thighs are most commonly affected by stretch marks. This type of damage on the skin is irreversible, as the ruptured elastic fibres of the dermis cannot be reconnected. Stretch marks are not life-threatening; however, their appearance is an aesthetic issue.

 

Treatment options

The rapid stretching causes the dermis to break in places and allow the deeper layers of the skin to show through, forming stretch marks. Stretch marks mainly appear during pregnancy or as a result of growth spurts during puberty and weight gain. In women, they are most likely to appear where larger amounts of fat are stored.