Stretch marks are extremely common in the population affecting more than one-third of people. They occur when skin experiences a traumatic event such as rapid weight gain or weight loss. The most frequent causes of stretch marks include adolescence/puberty whereby a growth spurt stretches the skin at a level whereby collagen production can not keep up with the expansion of muscle mass. It also occurs in weight lifters and one of the most common causes is obviously pregnancy. Stretch marks as the name suggests occur because the inherent structure of the skin has been stretched beyond its normal elastic limits. This results in breakdown (fragmentation) of collagen and elastin. Early stretch marks are characterised by a red to purple look about them. This is because the lack of collagen shows the underlying vessels.
Old stretch marks are much harder to treat.They consist of silver papery lines which run parallel to the area of tension.
So, what are the realistic expectations in regard to stretch marks treatment?
First of all, there is no one good treatment for stretch marks. Stretch marks still remain the Holy Grail of laser and aesthetic dermatology. A realistic expectation is an improvement of anywhere between 30% to 70% depending on the age of the stretch marks and the immune system.
One of the ways we treat stretch marks is with the Clear + Brilliant laser. Essentially this is a nonablative fractional laser device which stimulates collagen while preserving the upper layer of skin. Our favourite recipe is the use of high density Clear + Brilliant coupled with vitamin C and also copper peptide infusions. Each treatment takes approximately 40 minutes to perform. The infusion of vitamins and copper peptide also help stimulate collagen production. Healing time following this process may take up to seven days. The procedure itself is very well tolerated with minimal pain as we use a special numbing cream one hour prior to the procedure.
Patients are then brought back at the six-week mark and their before and after evaluated. We often recommend doing a series of three to six treatments depending on your skin type and also your response. Realistic expectations need to be met as not all stretch marks respond to treatment and not all stretch marks can be removed. To date, the Clear + Brilliant coupled with infusions still remain at the forefront of treating stretch marks. Book in for a free consultation with one of our Specialist Laser Therapist at Fiori for a chat on how we can reduce unsightly stretch marks.