Stretch marks, also called striae in medical circles, can cause a woman to feel badly about her physical appearance, according to both the Mayo Clinic and MedlinePlus. While sometimes stretch marks can’t be prevented, women can reduce their risks of getting these by limiting their use of corticosteroid medications and staying at an average weight. Unfortunately, despite some women’s best efforts, stretch marks still appear; young women who become pregnant or women with a family history of striae are far more likely to suffer from stretch marks. Women with diseases of the adrenal glands or Cushing’s syndrome are also more susceptible to developing unwanted striae.
Stretch marks or striae can occur whenever the skin is rapidly stretched, notes MedlinePlus. Rapid weight loss or weight gain, whether or not associated with pregnancy, usually causes stretch marks in women.
Stretch marks can be displeasing to the eye, but they are not medically dangerous situations, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sometimes, the treatments for removing stretch marks can cause potentially unpleasant side effects, so some women may want to leave them alone and hope they will indeed fade over time.
Types of Treatments
Laser surgery options are usually the most effective way to remove or reduce the appearance of stretch marks, according to the Mayo Clinic. Newer stretch marks can be treated with pulsed dye laser therapy or fractional photothermolysis; older striae may best be treated with the excimer laser or microdermabrasion. However, all types of laser treatments can cause side effects and, in some cases, at least mild injury to the skin.
Creams aren’t going to get rid of stretch marks, nor can lasers necessarily totally eliminate the existence of unwanted striae on the body, according to the Mayo Clinic. In most cases, cosmetic treatments, such as fractional photothermolysis or the excimer laser, can reduce the color of stretch marks, but they usually do not banish them from existence.
Because of the risks associated with laser treatment and the fact that such therapies are not covered by insurance, some women may need to investigate alternative methods to reduce striae, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some women have reported successful stretch mark reduction through using the prescription remedy tretinoin cream. However, the cream may not work for everyone and is usually much more effective on newer stretch marks.
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