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A stretch mark is a type of scar that develops when our skin stretches or shrinks quickly. The abrupt change causes the collagen and elastin to rupture and as the skin heals stretch marks may appear.
Stretch marks are most likely to appear during puberty as growth spurts happen, during pregnancy or from rapid weight loss or gain and with weight training where there is rapid muscle growth. Stretch marks tend to be raised, red, purple, pink or reddish brown or dark brown when they first appear depending on skin colour but with time the colour fades. Stretch marks are permanent like any scar however treatment may make them less noticeable. Procedures to reduce the appearance of these marks include chemical peels, laser therapy, microdermabrasion, radio frequency and ultrasound. Abdominoplasty may be performed to tighten the skin and thus remove stretch marks.
Please also see scar removal treatment.