Stretch marks are a type of scar that emerges when the skin undergoes rapid stretching, often due to growth spurts, pregnancy, or weight changes. Stretch mark removal treatments aim to reduce the appearance of stretch marks for suitable candidates.
The skin is divided into three main layers: the epidermis (the surface outer layer), the dermis (middle layer), and the subcutaneous or hypodermis (deepest layer). Stretch marks are formed within the dermis. Medically known by the names of striae, striae distensae, striae atrophicans, and striae gravidarum, stretch marks are scar tissue tears in the dermis, visible on both the surface and deeper layers of the skin. New stretch marks will present as indented red stretch marks which can also look pink or purple, often on the stomach, love handles, hips, breasts, upper arms, thighs, or buttocks. Over time, stretch marks tend to flatten and fade to translucent silver, white, or pale grey in colour.
What causes stretch marks?
Stretch marks occur when the skin is subjected to continuous stretching. The rapid stretching of the connective tissue due to sudden growth or weight gain damages the dermis, causing thinning and tissue ripping in the layers of the skin. When the body grows, the collagen fibres in the dermis slowly and naturally stretch. However, with rapid growth, these fibres quickly overstretch and tear. This inflammatory reaction within the skin is responsible for the pink or red colour. known as new stretch marks. Individuals at a higher risk of developing stretch marks can include:
Adolescents during growth spurts or hormonal changes
Weightlifters or bodybuilders
Obese or overweight people
Significant rapid weight gain
Significant rapid weight loss
What stretch mark removal treatments are available?
Currently the most effective approach for stretch mark removal is by using a multi-modal approach, for example by combining resurfacing laser treatments with topical prescription strength stretch mark creams.
It is important to establish what level of improvements you are looking for, and to have realistic result expectations. A consultation is always recommended to review your areas of concern, determine which treatment options will suit you best, provide you with a quote, and establish an individualised treatment plan.
DISCLAIMER 1. Results vary from patient to patient. 2. All photos are of patients from Cosmos Aesthetics, and all ‘after’ images are taken 6 weeks or later post-procedure. 3. Recovery and potential complications will vary for each individual patient. 4. Photos and videos featured are not a guarantee that your results will be the same as another person, and does not guarantee you will receive a particular treatment outcome. 5. All cosmetic procedures have risks, side effects, and complications, which must always be considered.
STRETCH MARK REMOVAL OPTIONS
The Treatments Explained
Why are stretch marks so hard to treat?
Stretch marks are a difficult skin condition to rectify and a challenge to treat for several reasons, including:
Nature of Formation: Stretch marks are scars that form in the dermis, the middle layer of the skin, when the skin is stretched rapidly, tearing the elasticity fibres. This rapid stretching causes the collagen and elastin elasticity to break and rip, leading to the formation of new stretch marks each time the skin stretches.
Depth and Structure: Unlike topical skin surface concerns, stretch marks penetrate deeper into the deeper layers of the skin. This makes them less accessible to treatments that only target the surface skin texture.
Variability: Stretch marks can vary in colour, depth, and age. New stretch marks are often red or purple, while older ones fade to a silvery white colour. Treatments and creams work differently depending on the age of the stretch marks.
Skin Healing Mechanism: The skin’s natural healing process doesn’t always effectively restore the original structure and appearance of the skin after the damage that leads to stretch marks. This is why they don’t heal on their own like some other skin injuries.
Individual Differences: Everyone’s skin is unique, and factors like genetics, age, skin type, and overall health can influence how one’s skin develops and responds to stretch marks and their treatments.
Due to these challenges, whilst there are treatments available that can improve the appearance of stretch marks, it is not possible to ever completely get rid of stretch marks. Treatments like laser therapy, microneedling, and resurfacing medical-grade microdermabrasion, can help reduce the visibility of stretch marks, but the final results achieved will vary depending on the severity, and the skin tone and texture.
Do topical stretch mark creams work?
There are several topical treatment lotions and stretch mark creams that can help improve the appearance of stretch marks:
Vitamin A cream (tretinoin) prescription strength retinol helps improve stretch marks when they are red, and can also work on older silver coloured stretch marks.
Trofolastin cream (centella asiatica extract) has been shown to help prevent stretch marks in pregnant women.
Verum cream (Vitamin E, panthenol, elastin, and methanol) has also been shown to help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
Before using any topical treatments, it is imperative to discuss any potential side effects with your prescribing doctor or dermatologist. To optimise the improvements and results once stretch marks have formed, they should always be treated with resurfacing treatment options as well as targeted stretch mark creams.
What are the best resurfacing stretch mark treatments?
Being able to get rid of stretch marks has always been a very difficult task. When new stretch marks appear, they will look pink or red, and are often slightly raised, with visible tearing or laddering. They then increase in length and acquire a dark purple colour, before over time, becoming flat and turning a silvery white colour.
At Cosmos Aesthetics we use multiple modalities to improve the appearance of stretch marks. treat stretch marks. Combining treatment options have resulted in significant improvements in the appearance of stretch marks.
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is your own plasma taken from your own blood, which contains a high concentration of growth factor rich platelets to activate collagen production in the skin. When these platelet growth factors are injected under the skin, they stimulate the stem cells inducing collagen fibre formation.
Dermapen / Dermaroller
Skin needling with Dermapen / Dermaroller, stimulates new tissue formation through resurfacing with the use of micro-fine needles. Microscopic holes are made into the dermis, which stimulates the production of new collagen fibres, and promotes the constructive regeneration of new cell growth. This treatment is often used in combination with PRP.
One of the more successful stretch mark treatment options currently available, are Fractional Laser treatments. This laser stretch mark treatment works by increasing the number of collagen and elastin fibres in the targeted areas. Patients report a greater than 50% improvement in the appearance of their stretch marks when using laser therapy resurfacing treatments.
Is it possible to get rid of stretch marks completely?
The truth is that we don’t know exactly what causes stretch marks. Theories include genetic factors, increased levels of hormones, the use of steroids, and the mechanical effects of skin stretching during pregnancy, rapid weight gain, rapid weight loss, and bodybuilding or weightlifting. When viewed under a microscope at the deeper layers of the skin, stretch marks are simply scars. The best way to treat scars including acne scars, is by using a multi-modal approach, and we apply the same treatment protocols to stretch marks.
Whilst complete stretch mark removal is not yet possible, combining resurfacing options such as fractional laser stretch mark treatments with topical prescription strength creams, can produce the most noticeable and measurable improvements in the treated areas.
How much do stretch mark removal treatments cost?
The price of cosmetic treatments for stretch marks will vary depending on factors including the skin tone, skin texture, and severity of the stretch marks being treated. Please contact our friendly team to receive more information on treatment option pricing to meet your individual needs.
How soon after pregnancy can I treat my stretch marks?
We recommend waiting three months after childbirth following pregnancy before having the treatment combination of Dermapen with PRP. Waiting six months is advised before starting Fractional Laser therapy resurfacing treatments.
Where can I have stretch mark removal treatments done?
We have clinics conveniently located around Australia in: Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, and the Gold Coast. It is important to note that some locations only offer certain treatment options. To discuss if you might be a candidate to have a stretch mark treatment, please contact our friendly team today!