Dr Arikawe Adeolu, a medical practitioner at the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, has advised people to seek medical advice before choosing methods of treatment for stretch marks.
Adeolu gave the advice on Thursday in Abuja in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said the medical advice could prevent more skin damage.
The expert said the condition varied from person to person, hence only a tailored management style of treatment could work.
He said that although there were various forms of treatment options available, there were different types of stretch marks hence it was not proper to commence treatment without adequate assessment by a dermatologist.
“It is a condition that gets treated when the tailored management style is used. It is not proper for one to just dish out advice on what kind of cream to use or method of treatment without confirming the kind of stretch mark.
“There are two types of stretch marks and this is classified depending on how long the stretch mark has been present on the body of the individual. We have acute stretch marks and chronic stretch marks.
“These stretch marks are both different in appearance and presentation. The acute stretch mark usually appear reddish in colour; the colour of the skin around the stretch mark is usually darker than the surrounding skin.
“The skin around the stretch mark is often raised more than the normal skin around it and this kind of stretch mark itches.
“For the chronic stretch mark, the stretch mark looks pale in the sense that it looks lighter than the surrounding skin and the top of the stretched skin is wrinkled.
“In most situations, stretch marks begin as acute and then gradually develop to chronic stretch marks.
“There are a lot of stretch mark creams out there in the market but how effective these creams are is yet to be ascertained medically this is because like every other cosmetic product very little medical research has been done,” Adeolu said.
He said that treatments such as use of laser, light therapy, acid peal, collagen injection and cream to cure and prevent stretch marks were available but added that these treatments were yet to be clinically studied or tested in medicine.
He said that even with the lack of clinical testing there were claims that some or all of these methods of treatment were effective, stating the need for the medical community to make efforts towards commencing trials to ascertain the claims.
According to Adeolu, more importantly is that the creams being used today cannot be used generally because there is a need for one to choose a cream specific to the kind of stretch marks one has.
“Not all creams respond to all stretch marks. For some people stretch marks causes a lot of dis-figuration of the skin in obvious places.
“For majority of cases, the cause of stretch mark is as a result of the stretching of the skin on a particular part of the body.
“Where the skin stretches, there is a possibility of having stretch marks in those areas and that is why the commonest places stretch marks are found is around the abdomen, the breast, buttocks and thigh.
“This is because these places tend to increase in size within a period of time. For females, once they attain puberty there are a lot of changes within the body.
“For some also there are medical conditions that are associated with stretch marks such as use of steroid drugs and pregnancy, among others,” Adeolu said.