Stretch marks or striae are long, narrow stripes that develop on the skin and are of a different hue from the surrounding skin area. These types of scars occur when there is a sudden spurt in growth and weight gain such as during puberty or pregnancy; the elastic supportive tissues lying just beneath the skin surface, being unable to cope up with the sudden and rapid changes in skin tugging and stretching, end up tearing.

Basically, the dermis or the middle layer of the skin which is involved in maintaining shape and elasticity gets stretched beyond its tolerance, resulting in tiny tears or breakage of the connective fibers and disruption of collagen production, resulting in scarring or stretch marks.

However much you may wish them away, these grooves never disappear completely, but they can be made to fade away with time and with the help of certain treatments. Although these scars can sometimes look disfiguring and rob you off your self-confidence, they do no harm to your health as such. They are commonly seen on the hips, buttocks, thighs, lower back, upper arms, belly and breasts of women, but this doesn’t go to say that guys don’t get them too!

Although these marks begin to fade, becoming less visible by 6-12 months time, they never disappear completely. Many women opt for laser treatments to get rid of stretch marks after pregnancy to regain their youthful appearance, but the only way to get rid of them completely is a little drastic and involves surgery in the form of a tummy-tuck.

If your stretch marks aren’t too noticeable, try traditional methods first by using over-the-counter creams and lotions; alternatively, there are a number of home remedies available on the web if you are a DIY freak. But with so many products promising great results, you might end up spending more than on a visit to a dermatologist, plus, you can’t really be sure the over-the-counter products won’t harm your skin further! These methods aren’t really very effective on old well-developed stretch marks either, in which case, you might end-up visiting a dermatologist for more authentic and guaranteed results.

A visit to Dr Dixit Cosmetic Dermatology, Bangalore would reap positive rewards for you as the highly-experienced Dr. Rasya Dixit knows exactly how to take care of each case with an individualized treatment program specific to the unique needs of each patient.

The excimer laser stretch mark removal therapy is highly effective on stretch marks as it works through the process of ablation, causing the stretch mark tissues to disintegrate, allowing a new smoother skin to re-grow. In most cases, the marks disappear, but in older and more defined marks, removing the striae completely can become a challenge. However, Fractional CO2 Laser therapy, a newer therapy mode, could be of help here.

Surgical stretch mark removal is the ultimate treatment method, but as of now, can only be applied to tummy areas through the process of abdominioplasty, also known as tummy-tuck. However, only the scars below the navel get removed through this invasive method.

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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.