What Are Stretch Marks?

As a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in New York City, I am no stranger to patients looking to remove stretch marks. They are those wide, scary marks that start out pink and can turn red or brown depending on your skin type. Eventually they turn silvery white. What might surprise you is that more and more of them are men.

Men get stretch marks for different reasons than women. The most common causes are puberty, rapid weight gain, steroid use, and overaggressive weight lifting especially at younger ages. Women get them from pregnancy, hormonal changes, and weight swings.

Stretch marks are a tear in the deeper layers of the skin caused by a stretching force from the inside out. This leaves the surface of your skin intact, but it is empty underneath making it appear like a run in a stocking. Most often they appear on the stomach, shoulders, and hips and thighs.

How do you erase a stretch mark? That is the trillion dollar question. In short, you can not erase a stretch mark, but you can make it look much better. There is no laser, cream, or peel that will magically eliminate these scars as of yet.

The only way to remove a stretch mark 100% is to remove the skin it is on. In women, a tummy tuck can often accomplish this. In men, if it is the stomach that has the striae after weight loss, this is possible. Yes, I have done tummy tucks on many men. But what about shoulders and legs?

We treat each stretch mark differently. We use some creams to help fade the color, and have had good success with Silkpeel, dermabrasion, and laser in the right patients. Men like it, because it does not involve surgery or time off from work.

So don’t feel alone, ladies. Some men also feel your pain.