Which stretch marks cream is the most effective? Everything you need to know about tackling stretch marks successfully
Whether it’s down to weight gain, hormonal changes, pregnancy, or a natural growth spurt when the skin is stretched suddenly, it causes the supportive collagen and elastin to rupture, and stretch marks form as a result. They can be red, purple, brown, or silvery-white (as they age) and are one of the most significant body concerns that we see in the clinic. If you’re searching for solutions, this is everything you need to know about stretch marks, what exactly they are, how to treat them, and the best treatments and creams to tackle them successfully.
What actually are stretch marks?
Stretch marks usually appear as narrow streaks or lines on the skin’s surface and can be triggered by anything that causes your skin to stretch suddenly. When the skin stretches, the middle layer of the skin (the dermis) breaks in places, allowing the deeper subcutaneous layers to show through. Early stretch marks may feel slightly raised and can be itchy for the first six to twelve weeks before the inflammation decreases, and they become less sensitive and settle on a colour lighter in hue than your natural skin tone.
Why do we get them?
Pregnancy is one of the most well-known causes of stretch marks, as is puberty, and sudden weight gain is another key cause. If your stretch marks don’t seem to be linked to weight gain or growth, they may be due to another condition, such as hormonal conditions like Cushing’s syndrome or overuse of strong steroid creams or ointments on the skin. Men who abuse anabolic steroids can also develop stretch marks, as they cause the rapid expansion of muscle tissue alongside hormonal changes.
Where can they appear on the body?
During pregnancy, stretch marks tend to appear on the mid and lower abdomen and breasts. During teenage growth spurts, they predominantly affect the legs, arms, and chest, but that doesn’t rule out other parts of the body too. Just as there is a genetic predisposition to stretch marks, genetics can influence where you get them.
The most effective ways to treat stretch marks
Most stretch marks aren’t particularly noticeable and will fade over time. If you have unsightly stretch marks, or if they affect a large area of your body, you may want to try one of the treatment options available. Creams, gels, lotions, laser surgery and collagen induction therapy, are all used to treat stretch marks. However, stretch marks can be tricky to treat, and it may not be possible to remove them entirely, so it’s essential to be realistic about what they can achieve.
Let’s get one thing clear, there is no evidence that over-the-counter creams will make a big difference in reducing the appearance of stretch marks. When stretch marks are in their initial ‘reddish purple’ phase, prescription tretinoin creams have proven to be very beneficial, especially in combination with microneedling. They stimulate healthy collagen production and speed up cell turnover to thicken and smooth the affected areas so they better blend in with the surrounding skin.
Venus Viva utilises NanoFractional technology to resurface the skin and stimulate deep skin repair and significantly reduce stretch marks. Viva NanoFractional Radiofrequency technology utilises tiny pins that safely deliver heat through the stretch mark’s surface. The heat creates tiny microscopic dermal wounds, which the body then works to heal naturally. This process effectively repairs the damaged dermis, stimulating the new formation of its two key components, collagen and elastin. The result is a reduction in the depth and width of the stretch mark.
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 releasing a burst of radiofrequency energy to heat the skin. The process awakens your body’s natural healing process, stimulating the production of collagen and elastin to smooth and rebuild the skin whilst gradually fading the appearance of stretch marks over time.
If you’d like to learn more about the various options for fading stretch marks, click here to enquire or book a free consultation.
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.