Stretch marks occur across the skin when the exterior is stretched quickly due to weight gain, pregnancy, or fast weight loss. Stretch marks usually appear as dark lines and then turn into lighter lines. Both men and women are affected. Stretch marks can appear anywhere on the body, but most often occur around the stomach, thighs, hips, breasts, arms, and occasionally the back.
Stretch marks are not physically harmful but can be especially unsightly. A patient who is concerned with stretch marks should speak with a board-certified plastic surgeon to learn about their options. A medical history and a full checkup are both necessary in determining the best course of treatment for stretch marks. Since there are several types of medicines that can cause stretch marks such as hormones and steroids, it is important to study the patient’s history carefully and thoroughly.
There are several types of minimally invasive surgeries that can reduce or even remove stretch marks. All treatments should be discussed with an experienced stretch mark doctor first, even with over-the-counter methods.
Dermabrasion is a type of quick surgery that has had some success in treating stretch marks. The procedure can take just a few minutes, but may have to be repeated over some amount of time. Dermabrasion consists of a scraping away of the skin with a specially fitted tool. The skin showing the visible stretch marks will be cut down to “new” skin which does not have stretch marks on it.
Chemical peels may also be used in treating stretch marks. During chemical peel treatment a high-powered topical formula will be applied to the stretch mark. The application will thin out the skin chemically and remove the external marks.
These two surgeries are very minimally invasive, though some rare side effects do exist. Depending on your age, skin tone, medical history, or other factors, you may have varying or different results when treating your stretch marks. Your treatment will undoubtedly involve some combination of procedures and the application or prescription of ointments, dressings, or other types of compresses.
There are several products on the market that are available over-the-counter and by prescription. Lotions, creams, and ointments may have some results in treating and removing the marks. Many products over promise results, have not been properly tested, or may cause serious side effects such as allergic reactions. It is important to discuss treatment options openly and frankly with your doctor, even when using over-the-counter medication.
Your general health is vital to a successful treatment as well. Stopping smoking, starting an exercise program, and eating healthy are all key in fighting stretch marks.