Want the facts about stretch marks? Read on.
WORDS STEPHANIE CLARISSA
Stretch marks also known as striae gravidarum can be a hassle to deal with, especially with pregnancy. It strikes you with bouts of anxiety now and then, making the whole experience of looking after your skin more challenging. Let us have your fears and worries addressed with some expert advice, tips and tricks to get you going.
Many women do not really pay attention to the science behind stretch marks. Yes, solutions are what matters the most, but sometimes getting straight to the facts can help control your methods of dealing with the situation.
It is known that stretch marks are the most common skin changes in pregnancy, affecting up to nine in 10 pregnant women.
Stretch marks usually develop when skin is
stretched easily and rapidly.
There are many underlying reasons as to why stretch marks occur. We dive deeper to teach you more on its particular reasons. Women can expect to experience it during pregnancy and after rapid, fluctuating weight changes. It is also highly possible when your family has a history of stretch marks.
Dr Liana Koe from STO+G practice explains that there are certain underlying medical conditions. They are known as the Cushing’s syndrome or the use of certain medications like corticosteroids. This can cause the skin to become more prone to stretch marks. Some genetic conditions derive from a defective gene and one of them is known as the Marfan syndrome. This makes the skin prone to stretch marks by causing the weakening of your body’s skin, connective tissue and fibres.
Dr Crystal Chin from HAFcare OG Clinic tells us that stretch marks are not related to a woman’s health and this is something to highly regard. She asserts that uterine growth and sudden weight gain cause the skin to stretch rapidly and during pregnancy, leads to the appearance of stretch marks. They also develop due to tearing of the dermis, when pregnancy hormones, relaxin and estrogen are combined with higher levels of cortisol.
Dr Koe tells us in more detail that our skin is made up of three layers. The outer layer of skin is the epidermis. Next is the middle layer (dermis) contains bands of tissue, fibres and collagen (a protein that keeps the skin stretchy). Lastly, the deeper layer known as the hypodermis consists of fat, tissue, and blood vessels.
These skin fibres and tissue are important as they give
the skin the elasticity and ability to stretch.
However, the middle layers will tear when your skin stretches too quickly, allowing the blood vessels in the hypodermis to be visible, causing red stretch marks. In the long run, the blood vessels shrink and the pale-coloured fat in the hypodermis will become more noticeable, causing the change in colour of the marks.
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