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Plastic Surgery Blog

How Do You Fix Stretch Marks?

stretch-marks

Do you have stretch marks? Many people do. No one likes them, and most people feel self conscious when their stretch marks show. There are treatments and solutions to skin that is stretched and damaged, including removing the stretched skin itself. Let's talk about what they are.

What Are Stretch Marks?


Stretch marks are scars or lesions - long, narrow strips of flesh called striae, striae distensae (SD), striae atrophicans, and striae gravidarum. They are the result of rapid stretching of the skin. The skin itself has three layers. Stretch marks form in the dermis, the middle layer, when the dermis is stretched beyond the limits of its elasticity. Skin is quite elastic, but under certain circumstances, like an adolescent growth spurt, pregnancy, or a rapid or extreme weight gain, the dermis cannot accommodate the growth. It tears. This reveals the deeper layers of skin and fat. It's these tears we call stretch marks.

If you have stretch marks, you're not alone. Both men and women can develop stretch marks, but women tend to have them more often. They can occur on the stomach, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms, buttocks, lower back, or anywhere that skin can be stretched. Many obese people have them. More than half of pregnant women develop stretch marks over the course of their pregnancies.

Stretch marks are not dangerous. They don't pose any real risk to health. While at first stretch marks are reddish or purplish and feel different than the skin around them, they will eventually fade to a silver or white and blend in more with your skin. If you trace your fingers over the affected area, you will still be able to feel the indentations of the marks, though.

What Can You Do about Stretch Marks?


While having stretch marks doesn't hurt you physically, many people consider them unsightly and feel that their stretch marks make them less attractive or make them less confident when they wear a swimsuit. When they expose the stretched skin, they feel embarrassed, but they don't want to cover up all the time either.

There are many products on the market that claim to remove stretch marks, but there's very little medical evidence that they actually work. Some people cover up their stretch marks with makeup or self tanners, but if they're planning on spending time in the water, this is less effective because the makeup will wash off. Tanning itself doesn't work to cover stretch marks because while the undamaged skin may tan, the stretch marks themselves do not, making them even more noticeable. Plus, tanning is not good for skin health overall.

Ultimately, you can't fix stretch marks without involving a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. Laser treatments and microabrasion can make stretch marks lighter and less noticeable, but they can't heal the torn skin.

A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, however, is an excellent way to improve and rejuvenate the appearance of the abdominal area. It addresses multiple problems: the stomach is flattened, the waist is narrowed, and the excess fat and stretched skin are removed. Stretched skin can be removed in other places on the body as well, and this will permanently solve the problem of stretch marks in those areas.

A tummy tuck is one of Dr. Bancroft's favorite operations to perform because of the incredible improvement that result. For many patients, it seems like the damage of two decades and three pregnancies can be wiped away in one procedure. If you would like to learn more about how we at Bancroft Feldman can help remove the stretch marks you have on your body, whether on the abdomen or in other places, please call our office. We would love to discuss how we can turn the clock back on your body and restore it to beautiful condition. 

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