By Dr. Teo Wan Lin, Consultant Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre
What are stretch marks? What do they look like?
Stretch marks, also known as “striae” look like streaks of skin over areas like the back, the thighs and arms. They are caused by tissue under your skin tearing from rapid growth or over-stretching. They can have different colours, from white to brown to purple.
What causes stretch marks?
Stretch marks are very common, especially over areas of the body where the skin is subjected to continuous and progressive stretching. Stretch marks are generally harmless but can be cosmetically disfiguring for some people, and rarely is due to medical conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome (abdominal obesity due to prolonged exposure to cortisol) and Marfan syndrome (a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue). Stretch marks can also occur from prolonged use of oral or topical steroids.
Who gets stretch marks?
Common areas include the abdomen and breast in pregnant women, as well as teenagers undergoing growth spurts (thighs, buttocks, breasts). Over the shoulders in body-builders, in obese or overweight people.
What is an early sign of stretch marks developing?
An early sign is when an area of skin becomes itchy, flattened and thinned out with a pink colour, followed by purplish swollen lines which may lighten. They may be several centimeters long and 1–10 mm wide.
Can I get rid of stretch marks?
It is important, that, if in doubt, get your stretch marks reviewed by your dermatologist, as there are a few medical conditions which may mimic stretch marks. There are a few creams with active ingredients that help in reducing stretch marks, there are also specific treatments which should only be performed by a qualified dermatologist to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
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Meet with Dr. Teo Wan Lin, consultant dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre for a thorough consultation and a full skin examination to treat any problems regarding stretch marks.
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