Can you ever actually get rid of stretch marks?
Love them, loathe them or rarely ever think about them, an estimated 80% of adults will develop stretch marks at some point in their life. Whilst they are a widespread skin concern, especially during puberty and pregnancy, they can be disheartening to experience for the first time, and they can affect self-confidence.
With that in mind, there are things we can do to prevent the formation of stretch marks and soften their appearance (should you want to). Caring for or healing stretch marks requires a proactive approach. Here we explain what they are, why they occur and precisely how to prevent, treat, and embrace stretch marks.
What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks (or striae in the medical world) are essentially a form of skin scarring which can occur anywhere on the body, but most on the buttocks, breasts and abdomen.
New stretch marks will appear red or purple and slightly elevated, but over time, the redness will fade, and the marks will turn to a less noticeable silvery-white colour. At this stage, they are usually permanent and tend to be much more resistant to treatments.
What causes them?
Stretch marks are a natural part of the skin and reflect the changes we go through during our lifetimes. They are very common and occur when areas of the skin rapidly expand or contract. This abrupt change damages the skin’s vital structural fibres, collagen and elastin, leading to the formation of stretch marks as the skin heals.
Pregnancy is one of the most well-known causes of stretch marks and puberty – but sudden weight gain is also a key reason. In short, anything that prompts rapid changes in body size may trigger stretch marks.
Can you prevent stretch marks?
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent stretch marks completely. It essentially comes down to our genetics but eating a healthy diet to maintain weight will help. Keeping the skin properly moisturised can also be very beneficial, especially if you are preparing the skin to go through changes in pregnancy. Opt for a moisturiser containing ultra-nourishing ingredients such as vitamins E, C, and A, as well as ceramides and shea butter.
Will they go away by themselves?
Like other scars, stretch marks will fade over time, but they will rarely diminish entirely. Eventually, they will dull into a pale, white colour, but once the damage is done, more often than not, there’s no going back.
How can you diminish existing stretch marks?
Stretch marks are notoriously tricky to treat and tend to respond better to treatment when they’re still in their fresh pink stage. Although it is tough to eliminate stretch marks entirely, there are a handful of things you can try to considerably reduce their appearance
Topical retinoid creams
When stretch marks are in their initial ‘reddish purple’ phase, topical creams such as tretinoin or retinol have proven to be very beneficial, especially in combination with microneedling. They work by creating healthy collagen production and speeding up cell turnover to thicken and smooth the affected areas, so they better blend in with the surrounding skin.
Radiofrequency & Microneedling
When the skin stretches or shrinks too quickly, the collagen and elastin rupture, and stretch marks may become visible. Using a device such as the Profound RF combining microneedling and radiofrequency technologies resurfaces the area for an advanced skin rejuvenating effect. It works by penetrating the skin at a precise depth with tiny needles before momentarily releasing a burst of radiofrequency energy to heat the skin. The process awakens your body’s natural healing process by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin to smooth and rebuild the skin whilst gradually fading the appearance of stretch marks over time.
By injecting small doses of hyaluronic acid-based mesotherapy into the area, we can stimulate the function of fibroblasts to increase new collagen production, rebalance hyaluronic acid levels, and improve overall skin hydration, to naturally reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
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Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.