Stretch marks do not show mercy and are common among people of all genders, ages, and skin types. Though they are harmless, painless, and do not cause any medical emergency, they can still be detrimental to a person’s mental and emotional health.
Skin contributes a lot to our physical appearance. We live in a world where physical beauty grabs the spotlight and reverence. Therefore, skin blemished with stretch marks stands as an eyesore as it mars the appearance of our skin. It may impact a person’s confidence and self-esteem. Don’t forget, looking good and feeling good go hand in hand.
The human body’s largest organ, our skin, has a remarkable ability to expand and contract. However, when the skin stretches beyond its capacity, scars occur on our bodies, called stretch marks.
Medically known as “striae distensae,” stretch marks occur naturally on hips, breasts, back, thighs, abdomen, buttocks, arms, stomach, groin, etc. These changes can be due to pregnancy, puberty, genetics, sudden weight gain or loss, muscle building, excessive use of corticosteroids, or adrenal gland disorders such as Cushing’s Syndrome, Marfan’s Syndrome, etc.
The skin has natural structure, strength, and elasticity. However, when the skin is strained beyond its natural growth rate, the dermis ruptures, and the collagen and elastin break, it causes reddish or purplish scars on the affected area. The vertical lines that appear embossed under the epidermis are called striae rubra.
Eventually, the narrow red lines flatten and fade to appear as silver or white streaks on the body. These are called striae alba. Gradually the blood vessels narrow down and impede collagen production.
Newly formed stretch marks are more responsive to treatment because of the functioning blood vessels underneath. However, the older stretch marks are like bad memories; they either fade slowly or do not subside.
Stretch marks aren’t health problems but cosmetic issues. You don’t need any medical intervention unless you wish to improve the appearance of the affected skin. It’s essential to consult a dermatologist to figure out the right kind of treatment for you. Your treatment plan depends on several factors, such as the severity of stretch marks, skin type and tone, goals, and budget.
Retinoic acid/ Tretinoin: A prescription-based product, Tretinoin, popularly known as Retinoid, is a topical skin care medication containing synthetic Vitamin A. This cream helps to rebuild the collagen in the skin and makes the stretch mark appear faint.
Retinol: Retinol is a topical skin care product that promotes rapid exfoliation and stimulation of collagen and elastin. It contains a natural form of Vitamin A, and thus it is milder on sensitive skin.
These medical procedures are proven more effective and can significantly reduce stretch marks. Please consult the doctor to devise the best treatment option.
Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion is one of the most effective, painless, harmless, and convenient clinical procedures. The procedure focuses on restoring the elastin fibers and tightening collagen. Stimulation of the epidermis helps in minimizing the appearance of stretch marks. Repeat the process multiple times over a period to get effective results.
Microneedling: Microneedling is a minimally invasive procedure targeting the dermis where stretch marks are formed. Tiny needles are pricked into the skin to promote increased collagen and elastin. It’s completely safe and highly effective. One may need to repeat the procedure over 3 to 4 weeks to see the result.
Radiofrequency (RF) therapy: RF treatment sends low-energy RF waves to heat the dermis. Heating the deeper layer of the skin invigorates collagen production, making the skin firmer. RF treatment combined with Microneedling enables deeper penetration and releases RF waves directly into the affected areas. Consequently, it stimulates more profound layers of collagen and gives better results.
Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP): PRP treatment is a great way to accelerate collagen production. This procedure uses a patient’s tissues and blood cells to heal and revive the skin and dissolve the appearance of stretch marks.
The platelet-rich plasma is derived from the patient’s blood and injected back into the stretch marks. It triggers cell reproduction and tissue regeneration to accelerate healing in the affected area. PRP therapy in conjunction with Ultrasound may produce better results.
Chemical Peels: Chemical peels using two caustic agents, glycolic acid and trichloroacetic acid, can reduce the visibility of stretch marks.
The chemical peels exfoliate the skin deeply and stimulate collagen production. It’s a gradual process, and a few sessions may be required every month for a certain period.
Laser therapy: Laser therapy uses focused light from a laser tuned to specific wavelengths. This wavelength of light penetrates deep into the skin and prompts increased collagen and elastin production, resulting in skin regeneration.
Moreover, laser therapy also stimulates melanin production, activating the skin’s pigment cells. Eventually, the stretch marks fade and blend in with the surrounding natural skin.
Depending upon the severity and the age of stretch marks, the doctor may suggest the type of laser therapy— pulsed dye laser therapy or fractional laser resurfacing.
The results of laser therapy are incredible, but this treatment is costly and needs recurrent sittings for an extended period.
Cosmetic surgery: When cosmetic treatments fail to remove stretch marks, cosmetic surgery is the most effective invasive option to eliminate them. The patient must discuss intensively with the doctor before pursuing the treatment as the surgery may leave scars and has side effects and health risks. It is also expensive. One must go for this treatment if the goal is to enhance patients’ overall appearance by removing excess skin and fat through liposuction and not just stretch marks.
Plastic surgery: Plastic surgery isn’t aimed at getting rid of stretch marks, and it is an additional advantage received when patients pursue abdominoplasty, thigh lift, butt lifts, or implants. Nonetheless, anyone dealing with sagging skin marred with scars and stretch marks can opt for this treatment after cost-benefit analysis and due diligence with a plastic surgeon or a health care professional.
Natural remedies pose minimal risk and have no side effects. At the same time, these self-care treatments require a lot of discipline and patience, as the output may be prolonged but worthwhile.
Oils: Massage stretch marks regularly with plant-based oils like coconut, almond, jojoba, olive, lavender, argan, and jasmine oil. These oils act as a protective shield and improve the skin’s health. For enhanced results, you can add Vitamin E capsules to the oil.
Cucumber and Lemon Juice: Lemon’s acidic property helps heal and lessen scars, while cucumber helps soothe the skin leaving it refreshed.
Natural Exfoliation: Treat stretch marks by regularly exfoliating skin with natural ingredients like sugar, apricots, and coffee grounds. They have a granular texture that scrubs away dried and dead skin, ultimately reducing the appearance of stretch marks.
Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a medicinal plant with soothing, moisturizing, and skin-repairing properties. Massaging with aloe vera gel helps regenerate the skin tissues and heal the scarred skin.
7DMC is a one-stop solution for all your cosmetic, aesthetic, skin-care, and dermatological requirements. We have state-of-the-art equipment, personalized services, and exceptional facilities for all cosmetic and medical ailments.
Our efficient healthcare professionals and highly competent dermatologists are approachable and can help you address all your cosmetic concerns.