28 May 2020

Stretchmarks: causes and treatments - Dr Asher Siddiqi


What causes stretch marks during pregnancy?  

The most common cause of stretch marks is pregnancy. During pregnancy, hormones are produced to soften the ligaments in your pelvis, preparing it and making it more flexible for the birth of your baby. However, these hormones also soften the fibres of your skin, making stretch marks more likely to develop. 

Stretch marks often appear as red or purple lines that usually fade to a white colour over time. They generally occur anywhere that the skin has been stretched, which is most commonly the areas of the body that fat is stored such as the stomach, breasts, upper arms, buttocks, thighs and shoulders. 

 How common are they?  

According to the NHS, 8 in 10women will get stretch marks during pregnancy.Where some stretch marks disappear over time, some dont disappear completely and you can be left with marked skin. 

You are more likely to get stretch marks if your weight gain is more than average in pregnancy. Most women gain about 10 to 12.5kg (22 to 28lb) in pregnancy, although this varies person to person.  

At what stage do they start appearing?

Stretchmarks usually first appear on the stomach, or upper thighsand breasts, when the bump starts to grow. Although when they first appear will vary woman to woman, one of the first signs you might notice is an itchiness around the area where the skin is becoming thinner.  

What can you do to minimise their appearance?  

Although stretch marks arent harmful, they can vary from thin lines to thick red marks and many people dont like their appearance.  As well as using creams and oils, microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a minimally invasive treatment that can drastically reduce the appearance of stretch marks.  

The treatment works by causing a low level of trauma to the skin with tiny needles to create multiple tiny holes. This technique triggers the stimulation of collagen and elastin production as the skin repairs itself. It also improves the absorption of products that rejuvenate and repair the skin tissue, helping skin return to its former smooth state.