Different Stretch Mark Removal Treatments

stretch mark removal

Learn about the causes of stretch marks and the best and worst treatments for stretch mark removal

Different Stretch Mark Removal Treatments

If you suffer from stretch marks, you are not alone. A recent publication in Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery reported 90% of pregnant women develop stretch marks and 70% of teenage girls and 40% of teenage boys develop stretch marks during adolescence. Besides pregnancy and adolescent growth spurts, several other situations lead to stretch marks, such as dramatic weight gain (whether fat or muscle,) hormonal changes, and increased cortisol levels from taking steroids. Besides extrinsic factors, numerous studies have suggested genetics highly influence a person’s propensity to develop stretch marks.

Sadly, the fact that many people get stretch marks is little comfort to the individual who sees them as disfiguring streaks. Fortunately, advancements in cosmetic technologies provide several effective treatments for stretch mark removal.

Read on to learn more about stretch marks and discover which stretch mark removal treatments actually help diminish stretch marks and which ones have very little affect at all.

What Are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are indented streaks, known as “striae” that scar the skin. They most commonly develop in areas where the body tends to store large fat deposits, such as the belly, thighs, hips, buttocks, upper arms, and breasts. So what causes stretch marks? The truth is, scientists aren’t sure, but striae seem to result from rapid, intense stretching of the skin that causes damage to dermis (the middle layer of skin consisting of elastic fibers, such as collagen and elastin.)  When the dermis tears, deeper skin layers and blood vessels show through, contributing to the appearance of a stretch mark.

Young stretch marks v old stretch marks

Newly acquired stretch marks are referred to as “striae rubra.” Young stretch marks may feel raised to the touch and look pink, red or purple in hue (a result of the newly exposed blood vessels.) As stretch marks grow older, the blood vessels contract and atrophy. The stretch mark turns a grey to silver hue as the underlying layer of skin (mostly consisting of pale colored fat) becomes more evident.  Older stretch marks are usually flatter than younger stretch marks and are known as “striae albae.”

It is important to know the difference between young stretch marks (striae rubra) and old stretch marks (striae albae) because stretch mark removal treatments are much more effective at improving the appearance of striae rubra. So, if you want to get rid of stretch marks as much as possible, the younger the striae, the better.

How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks

There are many stretch mark removal treatments available. However, it is important to have realistic expectations. Non-invasive stretch mark removal treatments cannot get rid of stretch marks completely, but they can significantly improve the appearance of striae.

Different Stretch Mark Removal Treatments

Most non-invasive treatments for stretch mark removal diminish striae using the same therapeutic principle: inflicting micro-injuries to stimulate the body’s natural healing responses, such as collagen synthesis and the tissue regeneration. Basically, non-invasive treatments trigger the body to fix itself.

Stretch marks appear when collagen and elastin are torn. By triggering collagen renewal and tissue regeneration in the area of the stretch mark, the body can patch up and repair the torn area of the dermis. Besides addressing the damaged part of the dermis, non-invasive treatments can improve the “redness” associated with recently formed stretch marks by targeting the newly exposed blood vessels and reducing inflammation.

Stretch Mark Cream

Many cosmetic products claim to be the best stretch mark cream for diminishing the appearance of striae, but the truth is, there is scarce evidence that any of these topically applied products work. One reason stretch mark cream is ineffective at treating striae is the depth of the scar. Tears to the dermis are usually deeper than active ingredients can penetrate. There are a few studies suggesting stretch mark cream containing tretinoin, may improve the clinical appearance of stretch marks that are less than a few months old. This is because tretinoin stimulates the production of collagen in some instances. However, other studies suggest that stretch mark cream, whether it contains tretinoin or not, is largely ineffective at treating striae of any age. Furthermore, women who are pregnant or breast feeding (the demographic with the largest demand for stretch mark treatments, may be discouraged by their physicians from using products containing tretinoin.

Stretch Mark Removal Using Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive type of skin resurfacing used to rejuvenate the appearance of the skin and improve the appearance of mild acne scarring, fine lines, and pigmentation irregularities. Microdermabrasion’s main therapeutic qualities involve cellular turnover stimulated by exfoliating the top layer of skin. However, studies show that microdermabrasion also triggers the body’s natural healing process and thereby “induces epidermal signal transduction pathways that are associated with remodeling of the dermal matrix. Microdermabrasion appears to set in motion a cascade of molecular events capable of causing dermal remodeling and repair.” This may help diminish the appearance of striae rubra. Most skincare professionals agree that microdermabrasion is most effective when used in conjunction with other stretch mark treatments.

Stretch Mark Removal using Thermage or Venus Freeze

Non-invasive cosmetic procedures using Radiofrequency (RF,) such as Thermage and Venus Freeze are indicated to lift and tighten skin. However, radiofrequency may also improve the appearance of stretch marks because “collagen fibril contraction occurs immediately after RF treatments, which induces new collagen formation,” explains a study published in the journal of Dermatologic Surgery. The study evaluated the effectiveness of Thermage on the appearance of striae and reported “89% of the patients showed good to very good overall improvement, and 59% were graded as good and very good in elasticity. All histological evaluations demonstrated an increase in the amount of collagen fibers” and the majority of “specimens showed an increase in the number of elastic fibers.”  

Furthermore, the researchers of this study postulate that Thermage and Venus Freeze are especially effective when used in combination with laser stretch mark treatments, such as Fraxel Dual, saying “the effects of using RF devices in combination with lasers…show a synergistic, effective, safe modality that could be a good alternative for stretch mark therapy.

Laser Stretch Mark Removal NYC

Of all the non-invasive treatments for stretch mark removal, laser therapies are by far the most effective. Laser stretch mark removal, using a fractional laser, such as Fraxel Dual, safely penetrates the deeper layers of the skin with thermal energy. The energy creates micro injuries which stimulate the body to fix itself through collagen production and tissue regeneration.

“Laser and Light Treatments for Striae Distensae: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature” a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, reported, “Lasers and light can significantly improve the appearance of both striae rubra and striae albae.” This is significant because most other stretch mark removal treatments and stretch mark creams are effective on newly formed stretch marks, or striae rubra. But, “Fractional lasers exhibit the strongest results for striae alba [older stretch marks,] repigmentation and collagen induction.”  As with most stretch mark treatments, laser stretch mark removal “in combination with other modalities such as…additional energy devices have also demonstrated promising preliminary results” concludes researchers.

Laser Stretch Mark Removal Before and After*

laser stretch mark treatment
stretchmarks2017ba_2
stretchmarks2017ba_3

* Results may vary

Surgical Stretch Mark Removal

Non-invasive therapies, such as laser stretch mark removal can greatly diminish the appearance of striae, but only surgical stretch mark removal can actually get rid of stretch marks. A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is the most performed surgical procedure for removing stretch marks. During a tummy tuck, the abdominal wall is strengthened and excess skin and fat is removed, including the skin below the navel that gets stretch marks following pregnancy. Besides getting rid of stretch marks after pregnancy, an additional benefit of a tummy tuck for women who just gave birth is the removal of excess skin. When compared to other stretch mark treatments, the disadvantages of a tummy tuck include scarring, an invasive procedure, and greater expenses.

Stretch Mark Removal NYC

If you suffer from stretch marks, whether they are old or young striae, let SKINNEY Medspa help. As the premier Laser stretch mark removal provider in NYC, SKINNEY offers numerous therapies, including laser stretch mark removal that greatly diminish the appearance of stretch marks. Learn more by signing up for a free consultation online or by calling (212) 754-6639  today.

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