ASCP Skin Deep


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88 ASCP Skin Deep Spring 2023 HUMAN BODIES ARE AGENTS OF CHANGE. We start as infants with delicate new skin covering our tiny bodies. Over time, we grow. Our organs and brains develop, we gain mass, and the skin expands, stretches, and adapts with us. Everybody bears marks on their skin from their life's journey, whether those are freckles from the sun or scars from falling off a bike. Regardless, two little words can still strike fear and dread into the hearts of many: stretch marks. Stretch marks, or striae distensae, are internal scars that develop when the skin stretches or shrinks too quickly. In a stretch mark, the epidermis is flat and has lost the typical rete ridge pattern. The dermis may be thinner, and dermal collagen bundles are in a parallel array, resembling a scar. There is an increase in glycosaminoglycans, and the numbers of vertical fibrillin and elastin fibers beneath are significantly reduced. This imbalance is further linked to an influx of activated macrophages—immune cells that envelop and consume fragmented elastin fibers, and an increased production of alpha-SMA (smooth muscle actin) in fibroblasts. 1 Stretch marks are typically associated with silvery stripes along the stomach, lower back, buttocks, upper thighs, arms, or breasts during pregnancy. However, the familiar striations can also result from rapid weight gain or loss, rapid muscle gain, growth spurts during puberty, hormonal fluctuations, and genetics. In rare cases, striae may indicate the presence of a more concerning condition, such as Cushing's disease, or the overuse of systemic or topical corticosteroids. Much like scars, stretch marks can vary in appearance. The standard stretch mark is asymmetric hypopigmentation with glabrous skin. It can be indented with white, silvery threads, usually indicating an older stretch mark that has healed. A person's skin color can determine the color of their stretch marks, but reddish-purple ESTY PROTOCOLS by Danné Montague-King Uncovering Stretch Marks Why they form and how to treat them

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