STRETCH MARKS OVERVIEW
Stretch marks, or striae, as they are called in medical literature, are red, purple, or white lines on the skin surface. They usually occur as a result of excessive and rapid skin stretching or hormonal changes. The fibers in the connective tissue get damaged, and the skin looses elasticity. The dermis, which is a middle layer of the skin, is then lacerated, and stretch marks appear. They can take different forms Ė from hardly noticeable strips to long unsightly scars. The red or purplish color of striae is caused by blood vessels in the connective tissue; they get visible after tearing of the skin. Over the time, stretch marks turn white, and even tanning canít change that color.
Stretch marks tend to appear during pregnancy and lactation, in teenage years, after excessive weight gain or as a symptom of the endocrine system disorders. In many cases, striae are caused by genetic predisposition. According to statistics data, 90% of pregnant women and 70% of teenage girls complain of stretch marks.
During pregnancy and lactation, stretch marks are most likely to appear on the abdomen, thighs, and breasts. The striae that occur in teenage years may also be spotted on the back and upper arms. The patients that suffer from endocrine diseases can get stretch marks all over the body, and these striae tend to be longer and wider than the ones of pregnant women or teenagers.
Stretch marks present no health risk, and do not impair the bodyís ability to function normally. Still, for many people they become a frustrating problem, and they want to get rid of striae to make their skin look better.
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