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What is Stretch Mark?

Stretch mark is defined as “stria” in medical language and is a name given to deformations that occur as a result of excessive stretching on the skin surface. Stretch marks that are visible to the naked eye can cause the person to feel aesthetically uneasy and dissatisfied.

While the size, color and depth of cracks differ from person to person; In some, this situation may hinder social life and create psychological problems. The marks, which occur due to thinning and weakening of the skin surface, are initially purple or red, and over time they begin to open and turn white, and this is called “stria alba”. 

What Causes Body Stretch Marks?

Human skin from the top layer to the bottom, respectively; It consists of epidermis, dermis and hypodermis layers. Collagen and elastin fibers in the skin are the bonds that give the skin its healthy and tight appearance. When these bonds weaken and break due to certain reasons, various deformations begin to occur on the skin. Pregnancy is the main factor in the formation of stretch marks in women, because the weight gained during this period causes excessive stretching of the skin. As a result, mark formation is observed on the skin that loses its elasticity.

Especially in the last months of pregnancy, edema formation in the body increases and marks occur in different regions such as the abdomen, inner thighs and chest. Besides, the exact cause of marks formation is unknown; However, situations such as rapid weight gain and loss, puberty, and rapid body building are effective in the formation of marks. 

Another factor is hormonal changes in the body. According to studies, the risk of mark formation in people with obesity problem is 40% higher than a normal individual; Therefore, it can be said that the problem of stretch marks is related to weight. Damage to collagen fibers in people using cortisone hormone can also cause marking problems. 

Crack Types and Stages

The stretch mark is divided into two in itself. Newly formed cracks in red-purple tones according to skin color are called “stria rubra”. Over time, the color of the marks becomes lighter and the whitening marks are called “stria alba”.

During the first mark formation, some changes begin to be seen in the surrounding tissues, especially when new marks are formed, there is an increase in the number of lymph cells and vascular enlargement in the region. In the next stages, collagen fibers weaken and decrease, and thinning begins in the epidermis layer. 

This condition is defined clinically in 4 different stages:

Stage 1 refers to newly formed red skin marks.

Stage 2 is the period when the color of the mark turns white, but no opening or collapse is observed around the mark in this stage.In stage 3, marks open and skin lines appear.

Stage 4, on the other hand, is the last stage in which a distinctive mark appearance occurs.

How to Treat Body Stretch Marks? 

In the treatment of marks, the stage, depth and severity of the mark are decisive; therefore, the treatment is planned according to the individual. Marks that usually start in red and purple colors turn white over time, at this stage the existing color differences are a good clue to how long the marks have been present.

Applying the right treatment can greatly reduce the appearance of marks, but a relatively long-term treatment may need to be planned for white marks. In addition to this, various dead skin removal methods, special skin and ointment applications, skin surface peeling techniques can be applied to accelerate the mark healing process.

The aim of the mark treatment is to prevent the decrease of collagen fiber in the skin and to provide restructuring from the area. For this, by stimulating the surrounding tissues, the appearance of veins on the surface is reduced and the skin gains its elastic feature. 

Tropical Applications 

In this method, special ointments and ingredients are applied to the area along with the massage. Special ingredients such as olive, almond, cocoa, vitamin A and glycolic acid are an affordable and effective method to reduce the appearance of marks in the area. These creams applied regularly are effective in lightening the marked tone.   

Micro Needling Methods

In micro needling performed with radiofrequency application on the mark, the dermis layer is affected. Special needles are used to increase the collagen production in the area and the skin appearance is improved. 

Laser and Light Therapy

Laser and light therapy, which can be applied in combination with other applications, are widely used and aim to reduce the appearance of veins in the skin. With laser applications, it is possible to increase the pigment density and lighten the appearance of cracks. With this method, which is used to remove white marks, skin regeneration is triggered and the tone of the marks approaches the skin color. Depending on the person, one of the different laser techniques can be used. 

Chemical Peel 

This method, which provides the revitalization of cracked areas by exfoliating the skin, is also widely applied and is used to remove dead skin from the body. In this way, the skin is revitalized and regenerated.

This method can also be applied to allow other treatments to penetrate deeper into the skin.As a result, different methods are applied to alleviate the appearance of cracks and restore the skin to its former color. Among these methods, you can determine the most suitable one for you by consulting a specialist.   

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