Everything To Know About Stretch Marks On Darker Skin

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As we age, our bodies go through changes that can often result in stretch marks.  They are natural, and beautiful; often a sign that we’re changing or even just had a baby. But, if, for whatever reason, you’d like to fade these, at times unexpected, marks, it may be difficult to manage with just typical products. 

Sometimes, it’s best to consult with an expert to better understand what stretch marks are, how they form, and what they can do to our skin. Especially because, at times, they can signify hormonal imbalances such as PCOS. Additionally, despite their ability to appear on every part of the body, we may not know much about stretch marks and their impact on our skin.

In honor of Mother’s Day coming up, Dr. Phyllis Pobee M.D. tells ESSENCE all about stretch marks, their causes, treatments, and more. 

What are stretch marks?

“Stretch marks are narrow streaks that appear when the skin stretches quickly, commonly due to growth spurts, weight fluctuations, or pregnancy” Pobee tells ESSENCE. The founder of Slim Signal shares that stretch marks appear as reddish or purple lines, gradually fading to a lighter shade. According to the American Association of Dermatology, stretch marks develop when the skin is either stretching or shrinking. The areas you can get stretch marks are commonly found on the stomach, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms, lower back, and butt.

What causes stretch marks?

Stretch marks can come in numerous ways on the body, according to Pobee. “Stretch marks typically arise from rapid skin stretching linked to quick weight gain, significant growth, or hormonal changes such as those occurring during pregnancy.” In addition, when the skin is stretched, collagen and elastin can be broken.

Products for stretch marks

While there are creams and oils to help fade stretch marks, you need to know the difference between the two. “Creams,” such as the one she recommends from Mustela, “are ideal for those with drier skin that requires intense moisture.” Meanwhile, oils, like her Bio-Oil suggestion, “offer a lighter, quicker-absorbing alternative,” Pobee says. “Depending on your skin’s daily needs, alternating between the two may provide optimal benefits.” Pobee also suggests when you’re applying a cream or oil on the stretch marks, apply it twice daily to keep the skin elastic and well-nourished.

Treatments for stretch marks

There are many treatments for stretch marks, including laser therapy, retinoids, tretinoin, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion. According to the American Society of Dermatology Surgery, laser therapy can help fade stretch marks. A light-based treatment regenerates and repairs stretch marks and promotes collagen production.

Retinoids, known as tretinoin, can also help fade stretch marks. The National Library of Medicine shares that retinoids, a form of vitamin A, help stimulate collagen, and patients can use a retinoid cream to improve the appearance of their skin.

A chemical peel, whether glycolic or lactic acid, can also reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Chemical peels, whether glycolic or lactic acid, can also improve the texture of stretch marks. Lastly, microdermabrasion exfoliates your skin to give you an even-toned complexion.

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