Stretch marks overwiev
Stretch marks also know as striae distensae are a common skin defect that can only rarely be associated with health problems (Cushing's syndrome, Marfan syndrome). But in most cases, the striae are an aesthetic problem that affects women and men, and which arises from the tearing of the elastic connective tissue in the skin on various parts of the body. The mechanical loading of the skin occurs due to rapid weight gain, in pregnancy, and as the result of intensive muscle strengthening. In all cases above, faster growth in the subcutaneous tissue or muscles occurs, which leads to an impairment of the skin structure.
Cushing's syndrome arises from long-term excessive effects of high levels of hormone cortisol (the most important glucocorticoid) in the body. On abdominal skin, striae develop due to decreased skin resistance (glucocorticoids reduce collagen production).
Striae and development thereof
The precise mechanism involved in the development of striae is not fully elucidated. It is assumed that the impairment of the network of elastin fibers causes changes in the viscoelasticity (the resistance to mechanical damage) of the skin, which thus exhibits lower strength, elasticity, and resistance than healthy skin. This damage leads to the irreversible impairment of the extracellular matrix (the major component of the connective tissue filling the spaces between the cells and ensuring their communication), which the fibroblasts are no longer able to repair.
Glucocorticoids are steroid hormones produced in the adrenal cortex. The most important is cortisol, which plays an essential role in metabolism. The main function of glucocorticoids is their effect on the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, and lipids. Frequent incidence of adverse reactions occurs due to the multiple physiological effects of glucocorticoids in the body. The intensity and incidence of adverse reactions depend on the dose, type of medical product, and duration of use. Frequently, we encounter the skin application of glucocorticoids to relieve inflammatory responses, causing adverse reactions primarily at the site of application (decrease in collagen production in the skin, dry and painful skin, skin thinning and formation of striae).
Solutions for treatment
Due to the high degree of prevalence (the incidence of disease in the population), as well as the impact on the quality of life of people affected, great emphasis has been placed on the development of a successful treatment that would lead to the elimination of striae. Once striae in the skin arise, this change cannot be reversed. No effective method exists to this day that would lead to their elimination.
However, a number of cosmetic products and methods that improve the condition of the skin and lighten the appearance of the striae are available. Active substances that have a demonstrable effect on improving the condition of the skin affected by striae and the prevention of their formation are listed in the personalised recommendation. In addition to these substances, beneficial effects have also been found for cocoa butter, olive and coconut oil, sap from the Croton lechleri tree, called dragon’s blood, and vitamin E. Among mechanical methods are laser correction, various forms of radiofrequency therapy, and microdermabrasion.