With more than 80% of people experiencing stretch marks at one point in their life, it’s no surprise that there are many myths surrounding these harmless stripes.
Despite it being a common condition, there is still a lack of understanding on why what and how stretch marks occur; leading to frustration and little to no success when trying to handle it. Although they are purely a cosmetic concern, it does not take away the fact that they are still a great cause of insecurity and embarrassment for many.
To empower you with the knowledge on how to deal with them for good – here are the top 7 myths about stretch marks – debunked!
1. Only women get stretch marks
Unfortunately, men are just as susceptible to stretch marks as women are – the difference is, stretch marks tend to appear more frequently on the upper body of men (upper arms, chest and back) and lower body of women (hips, buttocks and legs), and is likely due to medical therapies or body image shifting like bodybuilding.
Stretch marks are found to affect, in various degrees, 80 – 90% of women and up to 40% of men across all age groups and skin types! As long as there is skin, there will always be a possibility of stretch marks forming.
2. Stretch marks are only caused by skin stretching
Stretch marks are what happens when our underlying tissues expand too fast for our skin’s dermis to keep up; causing micro-tears and the disruption of collagen and elastin fibres to occur deep within the dermis. These tears then show up as dermal scarring that we see as stretch marks on the skin.
There is a huge misconception that stretch marks are solely caused by sudden weight gain; however, there are many other reasons that can cause your skin to undergo excessive stretching including genetics, hormonal changes, medications and even stress!
3. Thin people do not get stretch marks
Once again, this is a common misconception as people tend to associate stretch marks with weight gain. However, thin people are just as susceptible to stretch marks if they have a genetic disposition to it or if they are going through puberty.
Those who are facing significant weight loss (losing more than a kilo per week) may also find themselves noticing stretch marks appearing.
The truth is, weight gain, weight loss and any type of fluid retention can cause stretch marks to form and they can happen to anyone at any age and size!
4. All stretch marks are the same
Not all stretch marks are equal.
Although all stretch marks take on a different texture than their surrounding skin, stretch marks change colour and shape over time; starting as dark red, purple or brown streaks that slowly sets into white or silvery marks that are trickier to remove.
While early stretch marks tend to be itchy and look “flattened”, older stretch marks appear slightly depressed and irregular in shape.
5. Stretch marks disappear with exercise and weight loss
Stretch marks are technically scars on the skin which makes them unreliable in repairing themselves to go back to their original condition without intervention.
Losing weight doesn’t undo the damage that is sustained within the skin; although toning your body through exercise can help to improve its appearance.
So, while you might not be able to completely remove stretch marks with exercise, you can still prevent it in weight-induced stretch marks by maintaining a healthy diet and weight.
6. Keeping your skin hydrated is enough to stop stretch marks from forming
While it is true that keeping your skin moisturized is a great way to improve your skin’s elasticity and make it more resilient to any stretching and breakage, it does not completely stop stretch marks from forming. All it does is alleviate any itching and irritation and complement any existing treatments.
It is important to note that while making lifestyle changes like drinking enough water and eating a diet high in antioxidants, omega-3 and vitamin C can help prevent stretch marks, they can only do so up to a certain extent. Besides, moisturizers aren’t able to penetrate deep enough within the skin to treat existing stretch marks.
At the end of the day, the best way to remove your stretch marks is to visit a professional and experienced dermatologist to customize a treatment plan for you.
7. Stretch marks can’t be treated
You CAN diminish stretch marks depending on your skin condition, the type of stretch marks you have and the treatment you decide to go for.
Many people tend to go for off-the-shelf products like cocoa butter and coconut oil as they are more affordable and easily accessible; however, research shows that they aren’t effective for treating stretch marks. Other treatments include microdermabrasion and topical retinoids which have been shown improve the appearance of stretch marks in several studies.
One of the biggest breakthroughs in stretch mark removal treatment is through the use of Fraxel, Edge Fractional Co2 as well as the V beam therapy, which has been shown as a powerful treatment for treating stretch marks, especially early stretch marks. It is currently one of the best stretch mark removal methods that is safe, minimally invasive and comes with little to no downtime.
At The Clifford Clinic, we use Vbeam to eliminate fresh stretch marks using its Pulse Dye Laser technology that can precisely target the haemoglobin in blood and effectively fade any redness. Vbeam is also used as a laser treatment for acne scars but has been shown to work just as well in breaking down inflamed or broken vessels found in stretch marks.
The device also boasts a Dynamic Cooling Device that allows our doctors to cool the skin after treatment to prevent it from blistering; making it possible for patients with darker skin to undergo treatment.
We also like to use the Fraxel laser – a resurfacing device that works on older stretch marks by rejuvenating the skin to diminish stretch marks.
How does it do it? Its unique fractional technology treats only a fraction of your skin at a time and can penetrate deep beneath the skin’s surface to eliminate old and damaged skin cells, as well as stimulate collagen to facilitate the skin’s healing process.
Laser treatments take just 3 – 5 sessions to start noticing results; although you will likely need to be more patient when treating older stretch marks.
Stretch Mark Removal @ The Clifford Clinic
Ultimately, stretch marks can never be fully erased – the goals of your treatment should be to improve its appearance so that its “visibly invisible” and to even out the texture of your skin as much as possible.
At The Clifford Clinic, our doctors are confident that they can treat both early and older stretch marks and improve its appearance by up to 80%!
Including the Vbeam and Fraxel laser, our doctors are highly trained in employing a plethora of laser devices to treat a variety of conditions and offers one of the best acne spot treatment in Singapore.
Although some stretch marks may fade away with time, the majority do not. If stretch marks are negatively affecting the way you feel about yourself – contact us to get a fully-customized treatment and restore your confidence today!