Understanding stretch marks, and what happens to the skin when they are formed

Posted on 17 Oct, 2013

The experience of having a newborn baby may be exciting and beautiful. However, the emergence of stretch marks or scarring during pregnancy is not.

The skin produces a major protein called collagen which makes up the connective tissues in your skin. Although the skin is very elastic, overstretching disrupts the normal production of collagen which results in scarring known as stretch marks. These are fine lines that appear on the body which may deepen or widen with time. At first, the stretch marks may appear red or purple and may have a different texture from the surrounding skin. These stretch marks lose further melanin with age and change to a lighter, white or silvery tone. At this point, the stretch marks can be stubborn to remove completely.

Stretch marks may not be a physical health problem nor uncomfortable, but they are often unpleasant and are considered by many who have them to be ‘unattractive’. Women often feel scarred by their stretch marks and uncomfortable envisioning themselves in their pre-pregnancy two-piece bikini. For some, rapid weight gain/loss and growth can cause stretch marks but according to the NHS, pregnancy is the largest contributor with approximately 75% – 90% of women developing stretch marks during this period.

When stretch marks appear quite extensively across the body, they can have a significant impact on self-esteem. Common areas for women to notice stretch marks are the hips, bottom and the breast. Stretch marks are more common for women, however, men do also suffer from them. For men, common areas include the upper arms and the chest, which may result from excessive weight and body training.

At-home methods such as creams like the Marine Skin Science Marine Boost Super Serum, body brushes and exfoliating gloves help to keep the skin moist, encourage circulation and flush the skin. While it might not be possible to prevent stretch marks completely during pregnancy, these techniques go a long way to reduce the risk of developing them.

However, once these stretch marks develop, stronger and more intensive clinical treatments are necessary which can be combined with the at-home methods. LTC Advanced Medical Grade Microdermabrasion is a treatment that removes or significantly reduces all types of scarring, including stretch marks. Over time, the medical graded microdermabrasion removes the damaged scarred layers of the skin. The treatments have produced excellent results for many who are unhappy and unconfident about their bodies and have allowed women to open up their pre-pregnancy wardrobe and re-discover the two-piece bikini option.