In order to gain a proper perspective and understanding as to what occurs within the skin to cause a Stretch Mark, you must first understand the anatomy of the skin. The body has three layers of skin as follows:
- epidermis (outer layer)
- dermis (middle layer)
- subcutaneous stratum (innermost layer).
Stretch Marks occur in the middle layer of skin (the dermis). The durable and elastic dermis helps the skin retain its shape. Constant stretching of the middle layer of skin over time causes the skin to become less durable and elastic. Stretch Marks can then start to form when the small connective fibers within the dermis start to break apart.
Stretch Marks begin as raised pink, reddish brown or dark brown lines that later turn a brighter violet or purple. Gradually these bright Stretch Marks flatten and fade to a lighter color than your natural skin tone. Stretch Marks usually become less noticeable over time.
Most women and maturing girls have Stretch Marks somewhere on their bodies. Stretch Marks can appear anywhere on the body, and more often than not the Stretch Marks occur as a result of weight gain. The Stretch Marks tend to show up on the following areas of the body:
- upper arms
A common time period for many women to get Stretch Marks is during pregnancy. Although Stretch Marks are more common in girls, guys can get Stretch Marks, also. In fact, it is very common for guys that body build to get Stretch Marks because of the rapid body changes that come as a result of bodybuilding. Another group of people that is prone to Stretch Marks is obese people. Stretch Marks have a higher chance of occurring when a person uses steroid creams (i.e. hydrocortisone cream). The risk presents itself when used for more than a few weeks at a time. High doses of orally administered steroids can also result in the increased risk of Stretch Marks.
Stretch Marks pose absolutely no health risk and do not compromise your body's ability to function healthily. However, cosmetic treatments do exist in order to aid the appearance of what can be unsightly Stretch Marks. Although there are many creams and other skin products claiming to eliminate stretch marks, most of these products are expensive and ineffective. You need the help of a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to improve the appearance of Stretch Marks. Consider the following treatments available through these doctors:
- surgical techniques
- laser treatment
These techniques are expensive and normally recommended to people that have finished growing. In most cases, Stretch Marks will diminish over time.