Also known as striae distensae or simply as striae, is a type of scarring caused, literally, by rapid stretching of the skin beyond its elastic capacity. Micro tears develop and the blood vessels that lie under the skin show through usually creating a stretch mark that is red in color. If the body is slow to produce enough collagen to repair the area, the appearance of the stretch marks usually become darker in color. Pregnancy and rapid weight gain are the most common reasons stretch marks develop.
Stretch marks affect both men and women, appearing as a result of the fast changes in weight, no matter if they are rapid losses or gains associated with a quick stretching of the skin. They are also influenced by the hormonal changes specific to puberty, pregnancy or the exposure of the body to hormone replacement therapies or muscle building.
Other Causes of Stretch Marks
Although many people consider the main cause of these marks to be the skin stretching, due to the name they have been given and because they look like scars, their origin is much deeper. Hormonal fluctuations are considered the primary factor that influences their appearance.
Therefore, people suffering from hormonal imbalance face greater risks of dealing with stretch marks. Among them, there are the teenagers, the pregnant women, people with the Cushing’s syndrome, the Marfan syndrome or suffering from adrenal disorders, but also people using corticosteroid medication.
Sudden Gain/Loss of Weight in Adolescence
Very often, during adolescence, individuals face intense hormone fluctuations associated with sudden gain or loss of weight that affect the skin’s elasticity, overstretching it and disrupting the normal collagen production.
That is when stretch marks appear, not only in women, but also in men, although the affected areas may be different. They tend to be a normal part of puberty, as they are caused by the rapid hormonal changes in the body and by the associated weight fluctuations.
Stretch Marks during Pregnancy
In pregnant women, the significant hormonal changes that take place in the body and the gain of weight can cause the development of stretch marks, especially on the abdomen. The stretching forces that act on the skin’s elasticity are an important factor, as they affect the creation of the protein that is the base of the connective tissue in the skin. This results in the formation of scar-like marks in the dermis that are very hard to hide and even harder to repair.
As eighty to ninety percent of the pregnant women tend to develop stretch marks by their third trimester of pregnancy, some studies focus on finding solutions to prevent stretch marks from forming.
In 1991, the “International Journal of Cosmetic Science” published a study according to which the risk of developing pregnancy stretch marks could be diminished if women applied an OTC stretch mark cream made of a combination of vitamin E and Gotu Kola extract on the affected area (generally the abdomen).
Moreover, a study published by the British Journal of Dermatology in 2006 titled “Striae Gravidarum in Primiparae” showed that young mothers, especially first-time mothers are more likely to suffer from stretch marks. The formation of stretch marks is also influenced independently by the age of the mother, her body mass, the neonatal birth weight and the overall weight gain. Furthermore, it appeared that teenagers face greater risks of developing severe stretch marks.
The Influence of Corticosteroid Hormones
The appearance of stretch marks can also be influenced by the corticosteroid hormones, which can damage the skin. Another study published in the “Clinical and Experimental Dermatology” in 2006 showed the ability of the corticosteroids hormones to weaken the dermal tissue and increase the risk for the developing of stretch marks. Bodybuilders, for example, are also prone to developing stretch marks due to the rapid changes within their bodies.
The Cushing’s Syndrome, the Marfan Syndrome and Adrenal Disorders
Cushing’s Syndrome – The Cushing’s syndrome, also known as hypercorticism or hyperadrenocorticism, refers to the high level of cortisol produced by the adrenal glands and that can be induced by the intake of glucocorticoid drugs or by some diseases known to cause the excessive production of cortisol. The symptoms include fast weight gain and changes in the thickness of the skin, all these encouraging the appearance of stretch marks.
Marfan Syndrome – Unlike Cushing’s, the Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue and that has no cure. People who suffer from this disease tend to be very tall and have long limbs and fingers. They also develop unexplained stretch marks on the skin, probably related to the development of the skeleton.
Adrenal Disorders – The adrenal disorders can also contribute to the development of stretch marks, as individuals with variable hormone levels generally have elevated glucocorticoid hormone levels. This hormone affects the dermis in a negative way, by preventing the fibroblasts found at its level to create collagen and elastin. Without these substances, the skin can no longer provide the necessary support of its structures, and that is how the so hated micro-tears appear. The skin reacts to the small tears under discussion by swelling, and that is how the detested stretch marks appear.
Some Facts about Stretch Marks
The studies in this field show that, throughout their life, approximately 80 to 90 percent of women develop stretch marks of some degree, from adolescence to adulthood and motherhood. Men can also be affected by stretch marks, although, in their case, the targeted area of the body varies depending on where the fat is stored and how the muscles develop.
In the area affected by stretch marks, the skin feels soft and empty, because it is no longer supported by the dermis, the resilient middle layer that helps it maintain its shape. The stretching of the skin is the main factor in the appearance of these marks, usually located in the areas of the body where a larger amount of fat is stored, such as the abdomen, the upper arms and underarms, the breasts, the thighs, the hips and the buttocks.
Due to the significant hormonal changes they go through, pregnant women tend to develop stretch marks throughout the third trimester, when their skin stretches excessively in the abdominal area in order to accommodate the baby.
Types of Stretch Marks
Because these marks are already formed, their visibility is difficult to reduce. Successful treatments in this stage involve encouraging the collagen growth within the skin layers, in order to rebuild the texture of the skin, to level the marks and to minimize their appearance. Our non-surgical treatments significantly reduce and fade stretch marks from all areas of the body. invisa-RED™ technology will stimulate RNA and DNA production (skin cell renewal) rejuvenating your skin and promoting the growth of collagen to repair the damaged area. Most clients will see an improvement after just one treatment but will require multiple sessions to reach their desired goals.
Generally, people suffering from stretch marks require several sessions of laser therapy, depending on the type of treatment followed, on the severity, size and age of the marks. Besides invasive procedures that are costly, painful, and require downtime to heal, no other non-invasive technology or creams exist that will fade stretch-marks as efficiently as invisa-RED™ technology.
How it works
invisa-RED™ simultaneously triggers three processes necessary to repair and minimize visibility of the stretch mark effectively.
Will I feel any pain during treatments?
No. The treatments are quick, non-surgical, non-evasive and pleasant.
How many treatments do I need?
Treatment times are very short, around twenty minutes, and the stimulation of collagen growth will last for several weeks to months after treatments. Multiple treatments are necessary and are recommended three times per week for the duration of your recommended treatment schedule. Treatment sessions will vary from client to client. During your private consultation, a clinician can give you a better idea of how many treatments you will need to achieve your desired results.
Once you have completed your treatment schedule, we recommend you come in for touch up treatments one to two times per month.