What is Dermostria?
Striae or stretch marks; They are line-like skin scars that appear in the areas of the body that are most exposed to skin tension due to the weakening of the supporting tissues of the dermis on the skin.
We can also describe skin cracks as “linear tears that occur as a result of stretching the skin beyond its expansion capacity”. The cracks are given names such as “Striae Distensae”, “Stretch Marks”. In striae, it is extremely important to first identify the risks well and to take the patient conscious measures about these risk factors.
Skin cracks, which are seen in almost one out of every three women, do not pose a life risk and do not affect bodily functions. Although stretch marks are not a medical problem, they are perceived as a serious problem, especially in women, in terms of aesthetics.
A loose and cracked waist-belly or hip-leg skin in a woman with post-pregnancy puerperal syndrome is a serious cause of introversion and depression.
The fact that people who have elasticity problems by constantly gaining and losing weight live with skin cracks depresses them more. It should be carefully explained to people who have made it a habit that situations such as rapid weight gain and loss (especially in adolescence, athletes and pregnant women) should be avoided.
Stretch marks create a visual image problem for today’s modern women in the choice of clothes, especially in activities such as gym and swimming.
People who develop muscles for the sake of having a better-looking body, unconsciously cracking their skin after sports further damage their aesthetic appearance.
With the aesthetic applications used today, visual problems caused by cracks can be reduced.
Scientific studies have shown that special diets or exercises do not provide clinical improvement on skin cracks, but proper nutrition and regular muscle activity are important in taking precautions against new crack formations.
HOW DOES A CRACK OCCUR?
The skin is the largest organ in the body in terms of the area it covers. It covers the entire body and protects other organs, bones, and muscles. Since this organ is in contact with the outside world and acts as a protection, it has an elastic ability.
The dermis layer has a porous network structure consisting of 80% collagen and 4% elastin protein structure fibers. Although the structure of the skin increases protection and durability, it is weak against rapid changes. Fat and muscle tissue under the skin can be quickly produced and consumed by the body.
Skin cells cannot respond to this at the same speed. When the skin is suddenly stretched due to muscle or adipose tissue, which suddenly increases in volume, partial ruptures occur in the bonds between the cells, and this process may result in different ways from a slight loss of elasticity to advanced skin cracks.
Although the elasticity of the skin is the most important feature that increases the durability of the skin, when the elastin fibers are damaged, the skin cannot contract and relax.
Stretch marks occur in the dermis area in the second layer of the skin when the skin is suddenly stretched too much and fast. If the elastin fibers connected to each other in the form of a net in the dermis area are stretched too much in a short time, they break in varying numbers depending on the genetic tendency and the severity of the tissue trauma.
Damages and ruptures in elastin fibers cause the vessels feeding this area to appear and redness. That’s why the cracks are a reddish color at first. Over time, as the blood vessels recede, the cracks turn white or gray.
The exact cause of the cracks is not known. However, many hypotheses are mentioned. These are;
- Mechanical effect; The stretching of the tissues causes damage to the supporting tissue (such as pregnancy, obesity, weight lifting, some anatomical areas being exposed to more tension during normal bodily growth).
- Genetic factors; such as the absence of skin cracks during pregnancy in women with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, the frequency of skin cracks in Marfan syndrome.
- Increased levels of steroid hormones in the body and their destructive effect on tissue fibroblasts; such as Cushing’s syndrome, topical or systemic steroid treatments
- Immune system deficiencies or suppression states; drugs used in hypertension developing during pregnancy, HIV and AIDS and their treatments, treatment of tuberculosis and typhoid diseases and patients in the period of cachexia, chronic liver diseases.
- Infection; that some microbe-based toxins; By secreting like striatoxin, it damages the tissue and their skin cracks.