Stretch marks are visible stripes, lines or streaks that appear on the surface of the skin. These marks occur when the skin is put under stress that it is not used to or stretched too suddenly. Stretch marks are extremely common.
Stretch marks generally only appear on areas that undergo repetitive stretching. This damage causes some scarring on a dermal level. People who were once obese and went through dramatic weight loss will commonly have stretch marks on their skin, especially around their midriff and love handles. During pregnancy, most women will also experience stretch marks immediately after giving birth, most commonly around the midriff and buttocks.
Fresh stretch marks are usually reddish and angry looking.
Mature and older stretch marks are usually a whitish discolouration (hypopigmented) and can have slightly sunken appearance (dermal atrophic scarring).
Treatments must not only be based on type of stretch marks, but also each individual’s skin type. Individuals with a more sensitive skin type may require other types of lasers or devices that improve skin sensitivity.
Reddish stretch marks are best treated by vascular lasers and other treatments that can reduce unwanted vascularity. Mature stretch marks may benefit from filler injections or other collagen stimulators. Both types generally benefit from some skin resurfacing.
Dr Chua Cheng Yu
Dr Lena Fan