Let’s talk about stretch marks. We’ve all seen them; either scattered across our own bodies or if you’re one of the “dermally blessed,” you have probably spotted them on some poor soul down at the beach or pool. Unlike most inconvenient body afflictions, stretch marks are not just an isolated cross for women to bear. Many men also suffer with these unwanted and unsightly marks. Although there are no health risks associated with stretch marks, they don’t look great and there aren’t a lot of people who would voluntarily trade a smooth stomach for a stretch marked one. So what are stretch marks, can they be avoided, but most importantly; once you’ve got them is there anything that can be done to remove them?
Stretch marks are literally a big red sign or even a white sign (depending on the age of the mark), that alert anyone with eyes that your skin in that area has been doing some stretching. These marks are actually scars caused by rapid skin changes such as a growth spurt, pregnancy, weight gain or even an increase in your muscle mass from lifting weights. They are caused when your skin stretches too quickly and your dermis tears.
Like most things in life there is a genetic predisposition with stretch marks, so if there are others in your family with them, chances are you might get them too. However, no family history is not a guarantee you won’t get the dreaded ragged marks of overstretched skin. Drinking lots of water to keep your dermal tissue hydrated and applying topical creams will help to make your skin look better and feel less itchy during rapid growth changes such as pregnancy. But all the water and creams in the world won’t prevent stretch marks – no matter what the miracle oil bottle or mummy bloggers say! Now before we all give up and accept tiger striped skin for life, there are treatment options available and better yet, these treatments actually work!
Laser Skin Tightening
Although stretch marks can be difficult to completely remove, Laser Skin Tightening delivers a significant improvement in their appearance. The treatment utilises cutting edge technology to heat the deeper layers of skin tissue encouraging collagen production but also causing collagen and elastin fibers to tighten. This tightening causes the skin to retract and creates a more taught and toned appearance. This minimally invasive treatment requires mild sedation and is an effective, gentle option with minimal downtime and scaring. The Laser Skin Tightening procedure is a great choice for those who wish to treat stretch marks with the added bonus of smoothing out areas of slight excess fat and loose skin.
This treatment option has been around for a while now and studies show that it delivers results when it comes to treating stretch marks. The Fractional Laser works by increasing the amount of collagen and elastin fibres in the dermis where the stretch mark has occurred. Treating only a small “fraction” of the skin, it leaves intact and undamaged skin around each treated area to act as a barrier and reservoir for rapid healing. Patients who use Fractional Laser on their stretch marks report a greater than 50% improvement in their appearance.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
When it comes to improving stretch marks, the latest treatment is also potentially the greatest treatment. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) uses your own plasma, which contains specialized cells involved in injury healing and cell regeneration. Obtained from your own blood after it is spun in a centrifuge, PRP is a concentrated stretch mark fighting elixir of platelets, growth factors and stem cells. Using an advanced extraction method such as Harvest® Technologies PRP System, the concentration of plasma exceeds 2 million platelets per micro liter compared to your blood which contains only 200,000 per micro liter. What this means for your stretch marks is that once injected with PRP, the platelets, stem cells and growth factors stimulate your skin to produce more collagen. The stimulation of collagen in the dermis improves skin texture, tightens the skin and also repairs the damage caused by the tears in your skin tissue. Platelet Rich Plasma is used in other areas of regenerative medicine but is delivering unbelievable results in the treatment of both old and new stretch marks.
Does this mean we have actually found a treatment that can fade our stretch marks away? Well as previously mentioned, PRP might be the newest treatment for stretch marks but it is potentially the most effective option ever. Even more exciting is that when combining PRP with a resurfacing treatment such as Fractional Laser, 72.2% of patients studied report that they are “very satisfied” to “extremely satisfied” with the improvement of their stretch marks. So if it’s time for the marks left by your over stretched skin to go, these highly effective treatments are delivering “extremely satisfying” results to fellow stretch mark sufferers.