Stretch marks are a type of scar that occurs when the skin stretches rapidly. These marks may develop due to a sudden change in weight or as a result of rapid growth during puberty or pregnancy.
Although stretch marks are usually permanent, they may fade over time. Certain treatments may also help improve the appearance of stretch marks.
In this article, we discuss what stretch marks are and how they develop. We also outline some treatments that may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks on the back.
Stretch marks usually appear as lines or streaks across the skin. Although they are harmless, they can be a cosmetic concern for some people.
The appearance and texture of stretch marks are different than those of the surrounding skin.
In the beginning stages, stretch marks may be pink, red, purple, or dark brown. They may also be slightly raised and itchy.
Over time, stretch marks tend to fade to a lighter or silvery color. They may also create a slight depression in the skin.
Depending on the extent of the skin stretching, multiple stretch marks may be present. These marks typically extend in the same direction.
Areas of the body that stretch marks typically affect
Stretch marks occur following the rapid stretching of the skin.
The skin contains the proteins collagen and elastin. Together, these proteins maintain the structure, strength, and elasticity of the skin.
However, if the skin overstretches, collagen and elastin can rupture, resulting in a scar. This overstretching may occur as a result of rapid growth or weight gain.
Possible causes of stretch marks on the back include:
Stretch marks are a type of scar. Although they will not disappear completely, they often become less visible with time.
Many stretch marks will present in a much darker shade than their surrounding skin and then fade to a paler shade over time.
Finding an effective treatment for stretch marks can be
Some treatments may help reduce skin discoloration, swelling, or irritation. Others aim to improve the appearance of stretch marks by increasing the production of collagen and elastin.
Below are some possible treatment options for stretch marks.
Many people claim that certain oils and body butters can improve the appearance of stretch marks. However, there is very little scientific evidence to support most of these assertions.
In 2015, a group of researchers conducted a
There is a lack of high quality evidence on methods for preventing or treating stretch marks. However, the following general skin care tips could help improve a person’s overall skin health:
- drinking enough liquids
- quitting smoking, if a smoker
- practicing techniques to manage stress, such as meditation and deep breathing
- avoiding excessive sun exposure and dry air
- refraining from using tanning beds and sunlamps
- wearing sunscreen in hot or sunny weather
- wearing protective clothing during harsh weather conditions
Several cosmetic treatments may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. These include:
Microneedling is a procedure that uses tiny needles to prick the skin. This procedure can stimulate the production of collagen, which may help improve the appearance of stretch marks.
An older pilot study from 2012 found that seven out of 16 women who received three microneedling treatments experienced a marked-to-excellent improvement in stretch mark appearance. The remaining nine women noted a minimal-to-moderate improvement.
The researchers concluded that microneedling might be an effective stretch mark treatment for some people.
Microdermabrasion uses an abrasive surface or spray to remove the outer layers of the skin. The procedure aims to stimulate skin regrowth to improve the appearance of stretch marks.
A 2014 study investigated the effectiveness of microdermabrasion as a treatment for early and narrow stretch marks. The study compared microdermabrasion with the use of a topical cream containing 0.05% tretinoin. People typically use tretinoin for the treatment of acne and fine lines.
The study involved 32 female participants. One group received 16 weekly dermabrasion treatments, and the other applied the tretinoin cream daily. Both treatments significantly improved the appearance of stretch marks, with no significant difference between the two.
However, the authors noted that the microdermabrasion was associated with better adherence and fewer side effects.
Laser therapy is a procedure that uses focused light to increase collagen production, restore elastin, and increase the thickness of the outer layer of the skin.
According to a
Stretch marks rarely cause physical symptoms that require treatment. However, some people dislike their appearance and may feel self-conscious if the marks are conspicuous.
Stretch marks on the back can be less visible than those on other parts of the body, so they may cause fewer concerns.
However, if a person is worried about stretch marks on their back or any other area of their body, they should talk to a doctor or dermatologist. These healthcare professionals will be able to explain the possible treatment options in more detail.
Stretch marks are very common and can appear anywhere on the body, including the back. They can develop when the skin overstretches, which may occur during growth spurts, pregnancy, or rapid weight changes. A person with a family history of stretch marks may have a higher chance of developing them.
Although stretch marks are permanent, they usually fade over time. Certain treatments may improve the appearance of stretch marks. However, many of these treatments require further scientific study to confirm their effectiveness.
Anyone who is concerned about stretch marks on their back or any other area of their body should consult a doctor or dermatologist for further advice.