If you're going to ask a group of dermatologists from the University of Michigan Health System, none of the stretch mark creams and ointments in the market today don't work.
Also referred to as striae, stretch marks are the streaks or lines that appear on many parts of the body especially the arms, breasts, thighs, and abdomen, which has the tendency to become overstretched during pregnancy. They can also occur when the person has suddenly lost considerable weight or growth spurts during adolescence.
It is incredibly common condition that affects more than half of pregnant women, but the researchers think that it remains to be less studied. In fact, it's still unclear how they develop in the first place, although it's described the skin suddenly stretching, causing the skin's deeper layers to reappear. Many studies have also shown that several factors can play a huge role in a person's risk of developing stretch marks including heredity, age, condition of the skin prior to the stretch, and the weight gained during pregnancy.
For the study, the researchers worked with more than 25 pregnant women who just developed stretch marks on the hip and the abdomen.
They discovered that these stretch marks developed due to the skin's inability to bounce back to its original shape after the stretch has disrupted the elastic fibers. The skin tries to repair the damage, but so far, it has been unsuccessful.
This may indicate that claims of creams and ointments against stretch marks may not be entirely true as they are not backed by solid research or evidence.
Currently, the team is working on understanding stretch mark changes that may answer why some stretch marks become less visible over time. They are also conducting a survey on more than 150 pregnant women to know the impact of stretch marks on their quality of life.