Why do I get stretch marks?
As its name suggests, stretch marks are due to rapid stretching of the skin and connective tissue, such as during puberty, pregnancy, and periods of quick weight gain or loss.
As the skin stretches, some of the collagen and elastin fibres break, and the underlying blood vessels become more visible, giving rise to the red or purple streaks.
Stretch marks fade slowly to become pale white or silvery lines on the skin. They develop most commonly on the tummy and thighs, but can also occur on anywhere on the body.
Can stretch marks be prevented?
There is limited evidence on prevention of stretch marks.
Anecdotally, creams and lotions containing ingredients such as centella asiatica and hyaluronic acid may increase skin’s tensile strength and resistance to mechanical forces, and thus prevent stretch marks from forming.
It is also known that taking steroid medication (both oral and topical) for prolonged periods of time can cause stretch marks, so it is prudent to limit use of steroids if not medically indicated.
What can I do to treat stretch marks?
Although stretch marks cannot be totally prevented, there are treatments to improve their appearance. There are different types of treatments well-suited for different types of stretchmarks.
Early purplish-red stretch marks
Early purplish-red stretch marks respond well to broadband light (BBL) and lasers such as the Quadrostar Pro-yellow laser.
Mature stretch marks that appear brown
More mature stretch marks that appear brown can be treated using the Revlite and Fotona lasers. These treatments are also useful to increase collagen production over time.
Permanent appearance of stretch marks are flat white-silvery lines
The final and permanent appearance of stretch marks are flat white-silvery lines. There are other modalities to improve the appearance of these stretch marks.
Radiofrequency devices such as Exilis have been shown to stimulate collagen remodelling. Infini, a fractional radiofrequency device, has the added advantage of breaking down fibrous tissue as it delivers radiofrequency energy via microneedles precisely to the stretch marks. The puncture zones in turn induce new collagen and elastin formation.
Different combinations for better results
There are many treatment modalities available to help with stretch marks, and often a combination of different treatments may be used for better results.
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