NEW YORK, Jan. 30 -- New data, published in the November/December 2005 issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, suggests new potential for the development of therapies to predict, prevent and treat stretch marks. Stretch marks, most commonly associated with childbirth, weight gain or extreme weight loss, occur when the skin is overstretched and the fibers in the elastic middle layer of the skin are torn. Researchers have known for some time that the incidence of stretch marks varies widely among women at similar risk. According to the study surgeons may now be able to identify which women are at risk. Identifying skin differences may help researchers identify new, more effective therapies to prevent stretch marks and better treat fully-developed ones. Current treatments for stretch marks tend to fade the marks, rather than fully remove them.
"The question of why some women get stretch marks while others don't has vexed specialists and patients for many years," said V. Leroy Young, MD, Associate Editor of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. "Now that we have identified these metabolic and biochemical differences in the skin, we may soon be able to take steps to help women effectively and reliably prevent stretch marks, something many women have been waiting for a very long time."
The study found that cells in skin samples taken from healthy-looking regions of skin in women with stretch marks could not quickly reproduce or repair stretch-dependent skin injuries. The skin of women with stretch marks also had a pronounced deficiency in total DNA and total protein. These deficiencies were not seen in the skin samples of women without stretch marks. The report further demonstrated that skin biopsy can be used to identify those at risk. Additionally, it showed that the cells responsible for the skin's resilience are metabolically and biochemically impaired in both the normal and stretch mark affected skin of women with stretch marks, as compared to women without the condition.
"Many women consider their stretch marks to be embarrassing, and the current treatments available to them leave a lot to be desired," commented Mark Jewell, MD, President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), publishers of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. "Not only does this data give us new hope of being able to prevent stretch marks in women who are predisposed, but it is also likely to help us develop better treatments for those who have the condition."
The Aesthetic Surgery Journal is the peer-reviewed publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and is the most widely read clinical journal in the field of cosmetic surgery, with subscribers in more than 60 countries.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is the leading organization of board-certified plastic surgeons specializing in cosmetic plastic surgery. ASAPS active-member plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. www.surgery.org