Chemical Peels for Stretch Marks

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Reasons why people have stretch marks

Stretch marks (or striae), as the name suggests, occur when the skin becomes stretched as the elastic property of the skin is tested. It is not only pregnant women who suffer from stretch marks, those going through puberty who experience a growth spurt can also be inflicted with stretch marks, as can those with who have gained weight regardless of their sex.

Formation of stretch marks

When stretch marks first appear upon the skin, they are usually reddish or purple lines yet they tend to fade to a lighter colour with time. They occur in the dermis layer (the middle layer) of the skin, this is the layer that functions to maintain the shape of the skin. Stretch marks appear when blood vessels in the inner layer of the skin, the dermis, rupture. If there is support within the dermis stretch marks will not occur, stretching of the skin determines where the stretch marks with run from and in which direction. Effectively stretching of the skin is not the principle reason for stretch marks appearing on the skin.

Glucocorticiod hormones, responsible for the development of stretch marks, effect the skin by preventing fibroblasts from forming fibres of collagen or elastin. This prevents the skin from becoming taunt; hence there is a lack of support within the dermis layer.

The areas of skin where stretch marks are most likely to be found are the areas where the largest amount of fat is stored. Hence the abdomen, breasts, upper arms, hips, thighs, buttocks and underarms are the parts of the skin that are most commonly inflicted with stretch marks.

Treatment for stretch marks

Chemical peels prompt the growth of new skin cells through a process of chemoexfloitaion. This involves chemicals that dissolve the old layers of skin cells thus stimulating the body to begin it’s healing process and creating new skin cells.Crucially chemical peels are most effective in the treatment of superficial skin conditions such as mild acne, superficial scars and superficial wrinkles for example. However, due to the fact that stretch marks often occur in the dermis layer of skin rather than the epidermal layer (the surface layer) the majority of chemical peels will not penetrate that deeply. Moreover, even phenol peels (the deepest variant of chemical peel) cannot replace the elastin fibres that are lost when stretch marks develop. Like other treatments that attempt to remodel the skin chemical peels are likely to have minimal effect.

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