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What are skin and birth cracks?

Our skin consists of epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous soft tissue. If we accept the skin as a cover, just like when you pull a sheet tightly from both ends, our skin is torn due to intense expansion and elongation within a certain period of time, and skin cracks are formed.

In whom are birth cracks common?

Undoubtedly, many scientific studies have been conducted to investigate the cause of this situation, which is a problem for many women. (1,2,3) I summarize the factors common to all researches:

· Body – Mass – Index: If the pregnant woman’s weight is higher than her height, that is, if she is overweight, the risk of cracking increases as the growing uterus will create extra expansion during pregnancy.

· Pregnancy age: The risk of cracking is higher in early pregnancies, as the skin is more taut. Pregnant women around the age of 18 are especially at risk.

· Weight gain during pregnancy: This is one of the reasons why some obstetricians rightfully try to control the pregnant woman’s weight. Because weight gain increases the fat tissue under the skin, which causes the skin to expand and crack.

· Weight of the born baby: If you are carrying a bud, your uterus and therefore your abdominal skin will be stretched more.

· Genetics (Does anyone have stretch marks in the family?): If your mother had stretch marks during pregnancy, it means that your skin has a genetic weakness against stretching. The risk of cracking increases.

Is there an anti-stretch cream?

· Sesame oil, almond oil and many creams on the market, perhaps recommended by your doctor. Unfortunately, most useless creams containing only Centella asiatica extract have shown some benefit. This benefit was also found in pregnant women who had stretch marks before, when they were used to avoid them in their second pregnancies. So if you have the above risk factors, your crack will develop somehow.

Is there any treatment for stretch marks?

· There are primarily two stages of cracks. One is the fresh, reddened stage of cracks. At this stage, laser treatments are more successful. Especially with NDYAG laser treatment, significant improvements have been seen, of course, it is not possible for the skin to be completely flat. But it is possible to see an improvement of 50-60%, which is sufficient for most mothers.

· The other stage of the crack is the late white crack stage. After months, the reddened cracks leave white lines and heal. It is possible to get good results with Dermaroller treatment and fractional laser treatment applied in our hospital for these lines.

In summary;

· As I have seen, everyone, including commercial vigilant cream marketers, neighbors, non-dermatologists, has taken up the issue of stretch marks and expressed their opinions. It is in your hands to control some of the risk factors I have listed above (such as preventing weight gain). If you have obvious cracks, you can have NDYAG laser treatment in the reddened stage. Dermaroller or Fractional laser treatment can be applied for white lines.

References :

1. J Med Assoc Thai. 2008 Apr;91(4):445-51 Prevalence and associate factors for striae gravidarum. J-Orh R, Titapant V, Chuenwattana P, Tontisirin
2. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2007 Jul;21(6):743-6. Striae gravidarum: associated factors. Ghasemi A, Gorouhi F, Rashighi-Firoozabadi M, Jafarian S, Firooz A.
3. Br J Dermatol. 2006 Nov;155(5):965-9. Striae gravidarum in primiparae. Atwal GS, Manku LK, Griffiths CE, Polson DW. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Hope Hospital, Stott Lane, Salford, Manchester, M6 8HD, UK

4. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD000066. Creams for preventing stretch marks in pregnancy. Young GL, Jewell D

5. Arch Fam Med. 1993 May;2(5):507-11. striae gravidarum Folklore and fact. Madlon-Kay DJ.

6. Int J Cosmet Sci. 1991 Feb;13(1):51-7. Prophylaxis of Striae gravidarum with a topical formulation. A double blind trial. Mallol J, Belda MA, Costa D, Noval A, Sola M

7. Dermatol Surg. 2008 May;34(5):686-91; discussion 691-2. Epub 2008 Mar 10. Stretch marks: treatment using the 1,064-nm Nd:YAG laser. Goldman A, Rossato F, Prati C.

8. Dermatol Surg. 2009 Sep;35(9):1430-3. Epub 2009 Jun 22. Nonablative fractional photothermolysis for the treatment of striae rubra. Katz TM, Goldberg LH, Friedman PM

9. Dermatol Surg. 2009 Aug;35(8):1215-20. Epub 2009 May 12. Treatment of striae distensae with fractional photothermolysis. Bak H, Kim BJ, Lee WJ, Bang JS, Lee SY, Choi JH, Chang SE.