Stretch marks are a type of scarring that can be red, pink, or purple streaks on the skin that fade to white or gray. They can also be groups of sunken lines, usually on the abdomen, thighs, chest, shoulders, or upper arms. They are more common in women and may appear during pregnancy. Stretch marks can also affect other groups of people whose bodies have undergone rapid changes – puberty, growth, muscle mass gain in athletes.
Stretch marks are caused by tears in the dermis, the middle layer of the skin, which consists of collagen, elastin and fibrillin – proteins that give the skin its strength and elasticity. Hormonal changes with rapid weight gain can also cause stretch marks. Other factors causing stretch marks are medications (oral or topical steroids)or medical conditions (problems with the adrenal glands).
Scars are a natural part of the skin healing process, but can often cause pain, discomfort, or aesthetic problems. Most small scars become almost invisible if given the time they need to heal, but large, dense, or sunken scars can be treated to improve their appearance. Scars can be caused by any injury to the skin. However, if the wound is deeper, the healing time increases and the scar becomes more visible. Most scars are treatable, and your dermatologist will recommend the most appropriate therapy for the injury that caused the scar.
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