Stretch marks, medically known as striae, are a type of scar that develops when our skin stretches or shrinks too quickly. They may be a source of cosmetic concern for patients as they are unsightly and can reduce self-confidence. At the Canadian Dermatology Centre in Toronto, we have a team of board-certified dermatologists and expert skin care aestheticians to provide a comprehensive treatment options for unsightly stretch marks. We have the extensive skills and knowledge to assess each patient and offer a tailored treatment approach.
What are stretch marks?
When our skin stretches or shrinks too quickly, as is often the case during pregnancy or after massive weight loss, the collagen and elastin in deep tissue layer of the skin gets ruptured. As the damaged skin heals, stretch marks first appear as asymmetric, raised lines and red-purple in colour (striae rubra), eventually flattening and diminishing to white colour (striae alba) with time, making them less noticeable.
Who gets stretch marks?
Stretch marks occur in areas of the body where skin is subjected to continuous and progressive stretching. If you are developing or have developed stretch marks, you are most likely to do so during these times:
- During pregnancy on abdomen and breasts
- Adolescents undergoing rapid growth spurts during puberty
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Rapid muscle gain and growth
What are my treatment options?
It is important to understand that stretch marks, just like any scars, are permanent and currently, there is no effective treatment available. Stretch marks occurring in adolescents become less visible over time and usually don't require any interventions. In other cases, however, there are treatment options that can be tried to make them less noticeable if they are of a significant cosmetic concern to the patient, but these have not been proven to be effective.
Some of these treatment options are:
- Topical retinoid therapy
- Chemical peels
- Skin needling
Best treatment available today is prevention.
One important point to consider
if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, make sure to consult with one of our dermatologists before treating stretch marks as some products used for treatment contain ingredients, such as retinol, that can harm your baby.
Take the next step
If you have stretch marks that are bothering you then book a consultation today with one of our Toronto board-certified dermatologists to see what we can do for you.