Many of us acquire stretch marks on your skin for various reasons throughout our lives. Puberty, pregnancy, rapid weight gain or loss, and genetics may all create these striated scars on the skin. While some people strive to get rid of stretch marks, others are unconcerned about them. After all, stretch marks are pretty standard, unavoidable, and – like all scars – have a narrative.
What Are Stretch Marks and How Do They Look?
A stretched mark is a tear in the dermis’ collagen fabric when the skin is stretched beyond its tensile threshold. During pregnancy or after gaining a lot of weight in the hips and legs, they are generally found in the abdominal region.
Atrophic scars can appear at any age, but they are most common during puberty when the skin changes to accommodate growth. According to board-certified dermatologist Shari Sperling, there is some genetic predisposition. Therefore, some people may be more prone than others to develop them.
Read on to learn everything there is to know before attempting your first stretch mark treatment.
Retinol is applied:
The dermatologist Zein Obagi, founder of Zo Skin Health, Inc., and a world-renowned, board-certified dermatologist based in Los Angeles, recommends combining the Body Emulsion Plus with their Wrinkle & Texture Repair ($154).
“What makes this combination a great option for treating stretch marks because it combines micro-emulsion retinol, which will significantly improve texture by promoting epidermal regeneration, collagen synthesis, and even skin tone,
with papain and saccharomyces cerevisiae extract to provide enzymatic exfoliation. This removes dead skin cells. “This is a wonderful, natural solution. It also sloughs away stretch marks and restores moisture and lipids to the skin’s barrier function. Finally,
this will help the skin return to a healthy-looking condition and avoid any future harm.”
Although it provides no guidelines on how long before you see effects, I used the combination every day for a whole week to determine whether there were any changes. To begin with—stretch marks aside—this is an incredible product.
My skin was soft, pliable, exfoliated, hydrated, and toned throughout the entire test. After just a week, my stretch marks had faded. They are by no means gone, but they have become less apparent, and with continued usage, I’m sure the outcomes will be even more outstanding.
Get a prescription for Tretinoin.
If retinol treatments haven’t worked for you, a tretinoin prescription may help. “Tretinoin and hyaluronic acid applied to the skin can provide some relief for stretch mark therapy,” Sperling adds. Tretinoin is a retinoid, which means it’s a vitamin A derivative.
Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A, whereas Tretinoin is a more powerful manufactured version. Tretinoin is only available with a prescription and is most often marketed under the trade name Retin-A. The retinoid speeds up cell turnover, removes dead skin cells, and stimulates collagen and elastin.
1 It is not advised for sensitive skin due to its aggressiveness.
Microneedling Rebuilds Skin Cells
According to Sperling, microneedling is an excellent method for treating stretch marks. The collagen and elastin break, and stretch marks appear when the skin stretches or shrinks too quickly. “Microneedling utilizes a device with many tiny needles that punctures the skin and causes microtrauma,” she adds.
“It promotes the healing and restoration of collagen and elastin. It also aids in the reduction of stretch marks.” Multiple medical procedures are usually required to notice a difference, although several at-home treatments work.
Laser Treatment for Collagen Boosting
Dr. Wells suggested a skincare cocktail to best fade stretch marks to go with the laser session. He says, “Stretch marks are caused by collagen deterioration in the region of the mark. Therefore treatments to enhance stretch marks focus on replacing the collagen’s integrity.”
Patients are treated with a skincare program to assist the dermis’s rebuilding and remodeling. Simultaneously, collagen-building lasers, such as the Palomar 1540 and Deep IR Lasers, are used to encourage dermal healing.
A hyaluronic acid serum, in my view, is the most refined product available because it can absorb and retain hundreds of times its weight in water, resulting in a significant improvement in skin elasticity. We offer this proprietary product called Hy-Pep ($90) by Dr. Scott Wells MD, which contains this ingredient.
“Generally, several therapies are required, but we’ve treated hundreds of stretch marks and have seen excellent results.
Depending on the region you want to treat, laser treatments can last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. It was always relatively quick for me, making the appointments even more convenient. Dr. Wells suggests a minimum of three treatments completed about a month apart to see results.
I registered for the first one, and I was pleasantly surprised. Before going in, I was given a painkiller, so I was concerned about what sort of painful situation I would be entering. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was bearable—like warm snaps of an elastic band.
I had no downtime and didn’t have to skip a beat when I returned to work after the treatment. However, because it’s best to avoid sun exposure to the treated area, I canceled my trip to the beach that weekend.
Expect to pay around $250 for tiny regions (just a few marks) and about $500 for larger surfaces. I didn’t notice any difference at first, but I’m sure the lasers are working overtime. Furthermore, most doctors now recognize that laser treatment is the most successful method of removing stretch marks (excluding a tummy tuck).
PRP May Help You Regrow Your Hair with Healing Growth Factors
“Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a type of stem cell therapy that applies concentrated growth factors from the blood of a patient, which is used topically or injected to encourage new collagen formation,” explains Claire Chang, MD, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist.
During a PRP treatment, the doctor will take a blood sample and spin it in a centrifuge to isolate the platelets, where the healing and regeneration processes occur.