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What Are Stretch Marks? - Dr. Van Dyke

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Dr. Van Dyke describes the appearance and causes of stretch marks.

Dr. Van Dyke:
Hi, I am Dr. Susan Van Dyke. I am a board-certified dermatologist in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Arizona and my practice is completely confined to cosmetic procedures. A large part of our practice are the injectables – BOTOX®, fillers, Restylane® and Juvederm.

The other part of my practice, my practice being called ‘Van Dyke Laser and Skin’ is lasers, and lasers are used for a lot of purposes, namely removing sun damage, wrinkles, but also on the body for stretch marks and for cellulites sometimes.

Stretch marks – everybody, and you don’t even have to ask what stretch marks are, women know what stretch marks are of course, but clinically or as a doctor stretch marks are fine lines found on the stomach, the thighs, and technically they are called stria. Stria is just a word for line.

So there are two kinds of stretch marks – there are red lines called stria rubra and there are white lines called stria alba. The red ones are the young ones and the white ones are what we call mature stretch marks.

Now, what causes stretch marks? Everybody wants to know; we don’t really know. We know that stretch marks happen in pregnant women a lot. In fact 80-90% of pregnant women get stretch marks, but they also happen in men and women as they grow. So on the hips, the shoulders in men particularly, we’ll see a lot of stretch marks with rapid growth. So you would think that well, it’s an increase in size that causes stretch marks and that probably is one of the contributors.

If you think about a stretch mark and you think that this is normal skin and you pull and the skin separates to some degree, you get a lot of thinness in the middle, and that thinness is what we interpret as a stretch mark.

About Dr. Susan Van Dyke, M.D.:
After completing 2 years of formal training in Internal Medicine, Dr. Van Dyke found what was to be the start of her dream job. She spent the next 3 years training intensely at Ohio State University and the University of Arizona Medical Centers. Her focus: Dermatology, particularly the cosmetic aspects. Founded in 1985, she formed her practice to deliver the best of Dermatology. In 1995, Van Dyke Laser & Skin became one of the first exclusively Cosmetic Dermatology practices in the world.

Visit Dr. Van Dyke at her website

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