Stretch marks are a type of scar that develop as the skin stretches or shrinks. They appear as bands of parallel lines and mainly affect the stomach, upper arms, legs and bottom. Stretch marks vary in colour, starting off as a darker red or purple, and eventually fading to pink or silver. When running the hand across stretch marks, small ridges or indentations can be felt.
When the dermis layer of the skin is torn, or the connective tissue is stretched beyond its limits, stretch marks form. They are also more likely to develop when a high level of cortisone is present in the bloodstream. The stress hormone cortisol is converted to cortisone which weakens the elastic fibres in the skin.
Stretch marks often appear during or after pregnancy or after drastic changes in weight. Adolescents who experience rapid growth can also be affected by stretch marks.
If you relate to this condition but still feel unsure, at Harpenden Skin Clinic we are always here to help and advise patients on the best possible treatment journey performed by experienced clinicians.