While pregnancy is a beautiful phase as you nurture a new life inside your womb, it does leave its marks on your body in the form of stretch marks. These are basically scars that develop when the skin stretches or shrinks rapidly. This abrupt change results in the rupturing of the supportive collagen and elastin under the skin.
However, not every woman develops these stretch marks during pregnancy which are associated with other situations too. These include rapid weight loss or weight gain, growth spurts common during puberty, prolonged topical use of corticosteroids and rapid muscle growth when weight training.
While stretch marks appear raised and itchy during the early stage, they become narrow bands of slightly depressed skin as they mature. Unfortunately these stretch marks are permanent and don’t always make a pretty sight. A number of creams, lotions and gels are available over-the-counter that claim to get rid of these unsightly stretch marks. However different products are effective for different people. When using such products, do note that they aren’t very effective on mature stretch marks. They are best applied when stretch marks are young and positive results are only seen after many weeks of massaging-in the products.
Prescription medications containing hyaluronic acid or retinoids are effective too when used continuously for about 24 weeks on young stretch marks. If you find yourself worrying overtly about your stretch marks, its best to see a dermatologist. These skin specialists can offer in-office procedures that are proven to be effective in fading these scars. Some of these procedures include:
- Laser therapy
- Chemical peel
For best results, your dermatologist might use more than one procedure to treat the stretch marks as scarring levels differ between different people. Do note that when these procedures are performed by someone who isn’t very experienced, there is a potential for side effects. But when performed by an experienced dermatologist, the chances of side effects are temporary and minimal, and are a part of the whole process only. After the procedures, a little bit of redness and swelling is to be expected and it starts to subside within a few hours or two to three days time. Healing time also depends on the procedure used.
The dermatologist will decide on the treatment module depending on your health, age, skin type and the age of the stretch marks. If you are living in Bangalore, then you should see Dr Rasya Dixit, a highly-experienced cosmetic dermatologist at the Dr Dixit Cosmetic Dermatology Clinic in Kormangala area.
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The information provided in Dr. Dixit's answer is for educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice. The information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with a qualified health professional who may be familiar with your individual medical needs.