Stretch marks are the bane of people who love youthful, firm and flawless skin. However, TSLMS delights in stretch marks and gets excited about them. Why? Because we know that something right in our wheelhouse is a cure for them – Lasers.
What Are Stretch Marks
Stretch marks appear on almost every teenage girl and boy’s body. As noted by KidsHealth.com:
Stretch marks are a normal part of puberty for most girls and guys. When a person grows or gains weight really quickly (like during puberty), that person may get fine lines on the body called stretch marks. Stretch marks happen when the skin is pulled by rapid growth or stretching. Although the skin is usually fairly elastic, when it’s overstretched, the normal production of collagen (the major protein that makes up the connective tissue in your skin) is disrupted. As a result, scars called stretch marks may form.
These white lines occasionally fade on their own. However, as people grow older it becomes more difficult for stretch marks to just blend in. Thus, adult stretch marks are more of a cosmetic worry than those that appear on a teenager. And although some women wear them as a badge of honor post pregnancy and as many as 50% of women experience them, most people want them gone, as noted by Medical News Today.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):
A stretch mark is a type of scar that develops when our skin stretches or shrinks quickly. The abrupt change causes the collagen and elastin, which support our skin, to rupture. As the skin heals, stretch marks may appear. Not everyone develops these narrow bands on their skin. Fluctuating hormone levels seem to play a role. You may also have a higher risk if people in your family get stretch marks.Applying a corticosteroid to your skin for a long time can also cause stretch marks. If you have Cushing’s disease or Marfan syndrome, you may see stretch marks. When stretch marks first appear, they tend to be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown, depending on your skin color. Early stretch marks may feel slightly raised and can be itchy. In time, the color fades and the narrow bands sink beneath your skin. If you run your finger over a mature stretch mark, you often feel a slight depression.
Options for Treating Stretch Marks
There are a number of different treatments for stretch marks, some are more effective than others. These generally fall into three categories: creams and lotions, prescriptions, and procedures. Dermatologists will recommend against trying to use tanning to get rid of them, as it only makes them worse. The AAD reports the following in terms of topical treatment options:
Researchers have studied many of the creams, lotions, and gels sold to treat stretch marks. While no one product seems to help all of the time — and some don’t seem to help at all — researchers have discovered some helpful hacks.
If you want to try one of these creams, lotions, or gels to fade stretch marks, be sure to:
- Use the product on early stretch marks. Treatment seems to have little effect on mature stretch marks.
- Massage the product into your stretch marks.Taking time to massage the product gently into your skin may make it more effective.
- Apply the product every day for weeks. To see results, they take weeks to appear.
Home remedies: In studies, popular home remedies have not worked. Researchers found that none of the stretch marks faded when people massaged almond oil, cocoa butter, olive oil, or vitamin E into their stretch marks.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that Retinoid products may help: “Derived from vitamin A, retinoids — such as tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova, Avita) — that you apply to your skin may improve the appearance of stretch marks less than a few months old. Tretinoin, when it works, helps to rebuild collagen, making the stretch marks look more like your normal skin. Tretinoin can irritate your skin.”
We, however, know that these also may not help everyone so we recommend that anyone suffering from stretch marks actually get laser, or other light or energy treatments.
Laser and Light Treatment for Stretch Marks
While no treatment for stretch marks is 100% effective for 100% of people afflicted, there are some alternative treatments that can help a lot of people. Basically, lasers used to resurface the skin help to reduce or minimize some stretch marks, as HealthLine.com points out.
It works by removing the outer layer of skin to help restructure the overlying skin. During the procedure, beams of light are used in concentrated amounts to encourage new growth. While it can’t get rid of stretch marks completely, laser removal may help make striae smoother, thereby reducing their appearance. Two types of lasers are used for skin resurfacing treatment: ablative and non-ablative lasers. Ablative lasers (CO2, Erbium YAG) treat stretch marks by destroying the upper layer of skin. The newly generated skin tissues will be smoother in texture and appearance. Non-ablative lasers (Alexandrite, Fraxel) don’t destroy the upper layer of skin. Instead, they target the underlying areas of the skin’s surface to promote collagen growth from the inside out.
Obviously anyone seeking this treatment should consult with a dermatologist or aesthetician to make sure it is right for them and their skin.