Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are parallel lines of scar occurring in normal skin. They are thin with very little dermis beneath. They occur in people who appear to be genetically predisposed whose skin is rapidly growing or stretched particularly when there is a peak of female hormones or corticosteroids in circulation. We would therefore see them in puberty, in pregnancy and in people taking steroids as medication or anabolic for bodybuilding.  

Stretch marks, medically known as striae are red at first and then become white as they mature. 90% of women will suffer from them, particularly in the bulky areas of the abdomen, breasts, buttocks and thighs.

Since the stretch marks are simply very thin scars within normal skin, treatment is quite limited. Very wide ones could be surgically excised and sutured to obtain a thin one, or perhaps the most dramatic treatment of all is in the abdominal reduction, commonly carried out in patients who have severe weight loss, or after pregnancy. 

In this case, the worst of the scars are excised along with skin and any fat and the remaining stretch marks.  The skin containing the remaining stretch marks is tightened so that they become much less visible. They do, however, cause considerable cosmetic distress and prevention is going to be the likeliest way to reduce the incidence. 

Of the many topical treatments silicone gel and Centella (Trofolastin) have been found to show moderate improvement in the incidents after pregnancy.  Retinoids also help, but cannot be used in pregnancy because of risk to the foetus. 

Of the non-surgical procedures Microdermabrasion and Microneedling and Dermapen have shown significant benefit and more recently the addition of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) has improved the results further.  Radiofrequency will tighten the striae to some degree as indeed to some various non-ablative lasers, of which the 1540 Fractional Laser (ICON) is currently the most promising. 

In conclusion, no single treatment has shown to be significantly effective. It is probably better to use a combination of treatment to achieve the optimum result.

Related Treatments:

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