What is stretch marks:
Stretch marks are lines found on the skin that develops because of the tissue right below tear due to over-stretching or rapid expansion. They may develop during various stages of our life. Moreover, they do affect both men and women. Men develop stretch marks possibly through extreme changes in weight and also through engaging in muscle and body building activities. On the other hand, women usually get stretch marks during pregnancy and through weight flux and hormonal changes as well.
Stretch marks develop when the dermis, which is the middle layer of our skin, gets stretched to the point that its elasticity starts to break down. This then causes some form of microscopic bleeding plus inflammation of the surrounding tissue. Thus, the affected part appears to have some raised lines, which are symptoms of newly formed stretch marks. Depending on your natural skin tone, stretch marks usually start out as reddish to dark brown or even pinkish in color. Later on, it turns into purple.
The epidermis, which is the outer layer of our skin, stretches as well. It thus becomes a bit translucent so we can see the formation of stretch marks with our naked eye. As our skin recovers, scarring takes place and causes the appearance of light-coloured lines that we typically call stretch marks. The once raised marks flatten and fade into a hue that is several shades lighter than your natural skin tone.
CAUSES OF STRETCH MARKS
· Rapid weight gain
· Cushing’s syndrome
· Marfan syndrome – stretch marks
· Alcohol-induced pseudo-Cushing syndrome – abdominal stretch marks
· Steroid therapy
· Pituitary tumors, adult – striae
· Overuse of cortisone skin creams
· Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
· Lichen planus
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Stretch marks don’t all look alike. They vary depending on how long you’ve had them, what caused them and where they are on your body, as well as on the type of skin you have.
Common variations include:
· Indented streaks or lines in the skin
· Multiple pink, red or purple streaks
· Bright streaks that fade to a light pink, white or grayishcolor
Stretch marks are common on the abdomen, breasts, upper arms, buttocks and thighs. Sometimes they can cover large areas of the body.
Depending on your skin color, stretch marks start out as pink, reddish brown or dark brown streaks. The reddish brown pigmentation in the marks gradually fades, and the stretch marks or “striaegravidarum” (which is the medical term) begins to look like glistening silvery lines of scar tissue.
Apart from stretch marks occurring during a sudden weight gain or loss, women are very likely to develop stretch marks when they are pregnant. This will depend on several factors such as:
– Age – younger women tend to have a more elastic and supple skin than older women so the younger you are the less likely you are to get stretch marks.
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