Stretch marks are narrow streaks or lines that occur on the surface of the skin.
Doctors often refer to stretch marks as stria, striae or – during pregnancy – striae gravidarum.
Stretch marks are often red or purple to start with, before gradually fading to a silvery-white colour.
Where stretch marks occur
Stretch marks can occur anywhere where the skin has been stretched, but they usually affect areas where fat is stored, such as the:
- tummy (abdomen)
- upper arms
- shoulders (in bodybuilders)
When stretch marks occur
Stretch marks often occur:
- during pregnancy
- after rapid weight gain
- during puberty
- if you have a family history of stretch marks
- if you have an underlying health condition or a syndrome, such as Cushing's syndrome or Marfan syndrome
- after the prolonged or inappropriate use of corticosteroid medication
Stretch marks often occur during the later stages of pregnancy, affecting about eight out of 10 pregnant women. Whether or not you'll get stretch marks depends on your skin type and how elastic it is.
During pregnancy, hormones are produced that soften the ligaments in your pelvis so they're more flexible when you give birth. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect joints. However, the hormones also soften the fibres in your skin, making it prone to stretch marks.
Rapid weight gain
You may get stretch marks if you put on a lot of weight over a short period of time. They sometimes remain even after losing weight, but should eventually fade.
Regular dieting can cause stretch marks as your weight goes up and down. If you need to lose weight, lose it slowly and steadily so that your skin isn't put under strain. Bodybuilders and athletes can also get stretch marks as their muscles increase in size.
During puberty, the body often develops very quickly in growth spurts.
Boys may get stretch marks on their shoulders and back, and girls may get them on their hips, thighs and breasts.
If you have a close relative with stretch marks, such as your mother, you're more likely to develop them yourself.
Although stretch marks can affect both male and female family members, they're more common in women.
Underlying health conditions
Cushing's syndrome occurs when the body overproduces the hormone cortisol, which is thought to cause stretch marks.
Microneedling and Growth Hormone Serums
At Ailesbury we get great results in the treatment of stretch marks by using 1.5 mm needles combined with human growth factor serums. We use motorized micro-needling like Dermapen, not the derma roller, for a more even and more effective result. Rollers such as the Dermaroller create a more erratic pattern of "tears" through the skin rather than the clean, more evenly distributed punctures