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Mission Impossible? Preventing & Treating Stretch Marks

Summary: Creams and ointments that claim to address stretch marks are everywhere. What kinds are best, if any?
Air Date: 11/20/15
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Frank Wang, MD
Frank Wang Frank Wang, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at the University of Michigan Health System. He received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. Dr. Wang joined the faculty at the U-M Department of Dermatology in 2010 after his U-M fellowship and residency. His interests and expertise include aging skin and stretch marks, along with general clinical dermatology.
Mission Impossible? Preventing & Treating Stretch Marks
Whether you've recently gone through a growth spurt, rapidly gained weight, or had a baby, you might have noticed a few stretch marks on your body.

Stretch marks originate in the middle layer of your skin, the dermis, which supports your skin's outer surface, the epidermis.

This is why they are easily spotted on your arms, legs, stomach, and back.

A recent study in the British Journal of Dermatology looked at why stretch marks occur at the molecular level.

Researchers studied skin samples from 27 pregnant women who suffered from recently-formed stretch marks, comparing the stretch mark skin to both nearby stretched skin on the abdomen and to less-stretched skin on the hip.

Researchers found that the elastic fiber network in the dermis gets disrupted in a stretch mark. After giving birth, this network remains disrupted. Elastic fibers give skin its elasticity, or the ability to "snap back," after stretching.

The skin tries to repair the disrupted elastic network, but it does not appear to be effective, which in turn promotes the lax, loose skin seen in more mature stretch marks.

Is there a way that you can get rid of stretch marks?

Listen in as Frank Wang, MD, shares the recent study on stretch marks and what treatments are available.