During pregnancy as your tummy and breasts get bigger, stretch marks can make an unwelcome appearance. They can be red and sore as they start to stretch and it feels like there is nothing you can do about it.

What are stretch marks?

The dermis is a layer of skin sandwiched between the epidermis and hypodermis.

When we look at the dermis under the microscope it looks like lots of small balloons crammed in next to each other. These are actually straight lines of white collagenous fibres which when overlayed in a certain pattern create a circular pattern – I guess rather than a balloon it might be more of a dodecahedron shape but you get the idea.

In a stretch mark, if we look at just one ‘balloon’, the tension placed on that balloon during pregnancy can alter its shape causing it to take on a less round and instead a more oval appearance. A stretched dermis cell is more like a popped balloon, appearing deflated and oval in shape. If that happens through a number of these cells they begin to appear as streaks on the skin.

So when we refer to stretch marks, we actually mean the cells in the dermis have been stressed beyond their capacity to restore themselves. The balloons are now like popped balloons So the circles in the dermis has gone beyond its capacity.

What can we do about stretch marks?

The jury is still out on whether you can make stretch marks go away. The redness can reduce but the dermis scaffolding has been shifted so the foundations just aren't the same anymore.

There is some interesting research coming through around using cold laser therapy. Cold laser technology inputs energy into specific cells to encourage them to activate and then to heal. The thinking being, if the fibroblasts are given the energy they will stimulate collagen production and impact the skin structure.

Now, we don’t make any promises and we certainly don’t aim to treat stretch marks - but we do treat people with stretch marks so if they’re a concern, we can talk about it and see if we can build that in to the work we’re doing with you.

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