Stretch marks occur when the skin stretches, as is the case with weight gain and pregnancy. For example, most women gain 30 pounds or more during the nine months of pregnancy; this is a normal range for women at a healthy weight. However, the stress and excessive stretching of the skin often results in stretch marks. These stretch mark lines start as a purplish or reddish color but eventually fade to gray or white in time.
Where Do Stretch Marks Appear?
Stretch marks are most likely to occur after rapid growth in a short period of time. Women who have been pregnant are most often seen on the breasts and abdomen (the two areas that grow the most during pregnancy). Stretch marks also can occur along the upper legs and buttocks in patients who have gained weight. In men who are weight training, stretch marks are most often seen in the upper arms.
Stretch Marks and Pregnancy
Stretch marks are entirely usual for pregnant women. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, over 90 percent of women develop stretch marks during the third trimester. They are also genetic; women whose mothers had stretch marks are more likely to have them.
Stretch marks are not preventable. However, the effects can be less drastic when creams and lotions are applied to the stomach and breasts during pregnancy. Staying hydrated can also help reduce the formation of stretch marks. Dietary nourishment and adequate sleep can also minimize their appearance.
For those who want to remove stretch marks, there are a few ways to reduce their appearance. The tummy tuck is a highly effective and safe way to get rid of stretch marks that appear on the stomach, and specialized creams can be used on stretch marks on other body areas.
Gels and Creams
The cheapest option for stretch mark removal is specially formulated gels and creams. The application of cream can reduce the effects of the stretch marks. It takes 12 weeks for the appearance to diminish. Patients should begin treatment while stretch marks are in the “reddish” stage before they start to fade. However, many patients do not experience good results with stretch mark creams.
The abdominoplasty procedure removes excess skin on the stomach. If the excess skin is affected by stretch marks, those will be removed as well. Surgeons will also tighten the abdominal muscles to create a better form for the abdomen.
A tummy tuck improves the waistline and silhouette. The surgery improves the profile view through the removal of excess skin. After recovery, the results are dramatic. During a tummy tuck, an incision is made from hip to hip; the resulting scar can usually be well hidden through undergarments. Patients who undergo tummy tuck for stretch marks should understand that a tummy tuck scar will replace the stretch mark scars.
The options for new mothers can seem endless. There are pills, dermabrasion, creams, and other treatments that claim to reduce stretch marks’ appearance. For those with stretch marks on the stomach, the tummy tuck is an excellent option.
For more information about a tummy tuck for stretch marks, as well as answers to personalized questions, feel free to contact Dr. Vincent Marin.
*The content in this blog is developed to spread the awareness towards plastic surgery. Our blog is not intended to serve as a replacement for an actual in-office consultation with Dr. Marin. As such, the information within this blog reflects the unique cases of our individual patients.