Medical corner

Stretch Marks: What to Do

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Stretch Marks are technically referred to as “striae” in medical parlance. So if you hear/read striae, it is really the same thing. Stretch marks are usually found on the breasts, thighs, hips, lower back, buttocks, arms, and lower abdomen. They are commonest there. Stretch marks are a form of skin scarring that develops when the skin is stretched at times as a result of rapid growth, weight gain. In a lot of cases, stretch marks are caused by hormonal changes, puberty, pregnancy, body building, rapid weight gain/loss & HRT drugs. Depending on the location and cause of the striae, dermatologists usually call them different terms. But such details are not needed here.

Terms like striae gravidarum, linea albicantes, striae albicantes, striae vegetures etc. are all names of different types of stretch marks. But in all of the different risk factors for developing stretch marks, please note that pregnancy is the most notorious one.
Especially in women(shughar’s note: abeg, do men get pregnant?). For many women, apart from the usual stress of carrying a baby (or babies) for nine months, one of the permanent changes is stretch marks. During the course of a pregnancy,a woman gains about 10kg, and her abdomen expands to amazing proportions. This can cause stretch marks. Before we go far, stretch marks in itself & by itself is not a disease. That someone has stretch marks doesnt mean they have an illness. Please do not join people who stigmatize others just because they have stretch marks. It is nothing but sheer ignorance to act that way.

Stretch marks simply means your body is growing faster than the skin can cope with, so the elastic fibres of the skin breaks down. And because the parts of the body that grow rapidly includes breasts, buttocks,thighs and abdomen, stretch marks are very common there. People who feel dissatisfied with being slim should also know that the drugs they take for rapid weight gain may give them stretch marks. The American academy of Dermatologists say almost all women will develop stretch marks. Especially after the 6th/7th month of pregnancy. Also if you come from a family where the mother, father or any of the siblings have stretch marks, your chances of having it is very high. Sadly, there is no medical evidence that creams used for treating stretch marks can totally or completely remove them. Dont be fooled. Focus is put rather on fading and helping to reduce it. There’s really no cream that can completely wipe out stretch marks, once there. Some say if you use gels made of onion extract and hyaluronic acid, it helps with stretch marks, but you should be patient to see changes.

Lotions with retinoid such as Retin-A and Torazec gels/creams help with stretch marks. Stay away if you are pregnant or breastfeeding though. There are many treatments that people push forward when it comes to stretch marks, but don’t be deceived, NONE is a 100 percent effective. The degree of success of a treatment option for stretch marks depends on your age, number of pregnancies, skin tone & the drugs you use. Dermabrasion, laser surgeries, and tummy tuck are all surgical options for stretch marks; however these are expensive and not 100 percent certain. I would say if your stretch marks are mild, or in non-obvious places, do not bother yourself at all about it. Don’t waste your time or money. However if you have very disturbing, multiple and possibly embarrassing stretch marks, try and see a dermatologist, they know what to do. Please, NEVER just walk into a pharmacy store and buy creams without recommendation from a doctor/skin-expert. Don’t give urself skin cancer. On a final note, stretch marks are usually not something to worry about, at all. But if it affects your esteem, see a doctor. Thank you for your time. I hope this short post on Stretch Marks was helpful. Pls send ur questions & kindly retweet for your friends too.

Culled from tweets by @drolufunmilayo
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About the author / 

Patrick Jennifer

My name is Patrick Jennifer............ Talkative extraordinaire (aspiring OAP), Professional 'carer', Wanna-be writer, and I am sweetness personified.

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