Tummy lines are actually stretch marks, or striae, which are a form of skin scarring associated with excessive stretching such as in pregnancy, obesity, puberty, and short-term weight gain. They appear as white or slightly pink colour, slightly indented lines.

They form when the dermis is stretched more than its limit, with the connective fibers being torn. Apart from the tummy, they are also common on the thighs, hips, lower back, buttocks, and arms.

While some topical treatments may fade stretch marks slightly, they are largely not effective. Chemical peeling and dermabrasion may be slightly superior but again are not totally effective. Laser and surgical techniques are the only effective ways to remove stretch marks completely.

Laser treatments involve ablating the old scar, with the growth of new skin to replace it. Multiple treatments are needed. This can be done with the traditional CO2 laser or the new Fractional CO2 laser. The non-ablative lasers, which aim to stimulate collagen growth and achieve tightening by heating up the dermis, are not particularly effective.

Surgical removal is the most conventional and consistently effective technique performed by plastic surgeons. This involves removing areas of stretched skin, but are more invasive and involve longer recovery time.

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