Stretch marks are the linear stripes or uneven lines that usually occur during pregnancy on belly and breasts or over hips, shoulders, legs & inner thighs or knees when they grow in size faster than the skin natural elasticity.
However, due to this sudden skin stretch, the elasticity of skin tears causing the formation of whitish, pinkish, or purple lines.
The removal of striae (stretch marks) with laser resurfacing is known as laser stretch mark removal treatment(external link). It helps to restructure the overlying skin by removing the outer layer of skin.
While pregnancy the belly area is enlarged unusually which stretches the skin to its limit and after delivery, it gets back to its original state, and leave stretch marks due to loss of elasticity.
Due to unhealthy eating lifestyles or medical conditions, we are supposed to gain weight rapidly. The sudden increase in size, the skin again expands to accommodate the additional size, loses some elasticity because of which stretch marks appear.
Sudden loss of weight leaves stretch marks due to loss of elasticity.
The children grow very abruptly during puberty in height as well as weight. This rapid growth puts pressure on the skin and the stretch marks appear on the back, knees, shoulder area, or belly.
Stretch marks are formed if a particular body part undergoes extreme expansion or contraction. Due to the sudden episode, the skin on returning to its original state, it fails to regain the previous elasticity. Hence it results in linear stripes or uneven lines, which are initially reddish in color and later becomes white.
Stretch marks are one type of scar, hence they can’t be removed completely but with medical treatments, we can reduce its visibility and make them almost non-visible.
Here are mentioned some medical treatments for pregnancy stretch marks
Retinoid Cream: It is derived from vitamin A. Retinoids such as tretinoin helps to rebuild collagen, making the stretch marks look more like your normal skin.
Alphastria & Trofolastin Creams
Alphastria cream contains hyaluronic acid and trofolastin cream contains extract of Centella Asiatica which is a medical herb, promotes collagen production, and helps in the reduction of stretch marks.
Silicone gel applied on stretch mark skin, stimulate collagen production, and lowers melanin levels; thus making the stretch marks less visible.
Various peels are used, to peel off the superficial layer of the skin. It induces breakdown of the older collagen and formation of new collagen which in turn helps in rejuvenation and reduction of stretch marks. This is a lunchtime procedure and has minimal downtime.
This is a non-invasive treatment, involves a hand-held device that blows crystals onto the skin. These crystals gently remove a fine layer of skin, promoting the growth of new, elastic skin, that helps reduce the visibility of stretch marks.
This process is also called as collagen induction therapy. Microneedling creates multiple tiny holes on the skin. These tiny holes trigger collagen and elastin production. It needs at least 5-7 sessions to get the maximum results.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a new, known treatment used for stretch marks. The injected PRP into the skin assists in the rebuilding of collagen and makes the stretch marks less visible. In combination with laser or other interventional treatment, PRP will have a synergistic effect in reducing stretch marks.
A variety of light and laser therapies are available to help stimulate the growth of collagen or elastin in your skin.
This is a popular and scientifically proved option. A beam of highly concentrated light is focused on the skin to dismantle the outer layer of skin in order to facilitate new skin generation that will better match the existing skin.
Different laser technologies are used to treat stretch marks. For example:
Fractional laser or energy based skin resurfacing devices treats microscopic columns of skin. It is a non-invasive treatment that uses a device to deliver a laser beam that targets a fraction of the skin at a time. These are called micro-thermal treatment zones (MTZs). Within each MTZ old epidermal pigmented cells are expelled and the neo-collagenosis happens in the dermis which evens out the depressions in the skin.
Fractional laser resurfacing technologies which are the most commonly used are:
There are two different lasers:
The commonly used are ablative lasers are Fractional CO2 & Fractional Erbium YAG. Here the outer layer of the skin is dismantling to produce a fresher and younger-looking skin.
Fractional Erbium Glass Laser is one of most advance non-ablative laser technology with contact cooling; the laser focuses the skin below the outer layer, promotes the collagen growth, and in turn makes the skin lighter and smoother. These laser treatments for stretch marks have become popular due to the minimal time.
MNRF (Micro-needling Radiofrequency) the micro-needles are driven directly into the skin at a certain depth, and radiofrequency energy is then released; generating heat throughout the dermis resulting in volumetric tightening, collagen remodelling and production.
It is considered safer than fractional laser treatments and can be used on all types of skin without any major adverse effects.
FSR is done with radiofrequency device and is not a laser; it can be used in a patient having laser phobia for treating any type of scar.
Pico laser is a new innovation in treating stretch marks by inducing optical breakdown or micro-subsicion; which promotes collagen and elastin production. Pico Laser (or picosecond laser) is a laser device that uses very short pulse duration < 1 nano second which predominantly causes photoacoustic damage.
Pulsed dye laser are basically designed to rid patients of benign vascular lesions; they show a very promising results in striae rubra.
It uses pneumatic energy to first break up the tight scar tissue underneath the skin which responds to microtrauma by stimulating elastin and collagen production; after which micro-droplets of high molecular weight hyaluronic acid are delivered. Enerjet has faster recovery time and can recover in a few sessions.
However, most common causes of stretch marks are due to physiological changes in the body but can occur in anyone. Although harmless in nature but in some it definitely reduces the aesthetic appearance of the individual, which may impact self-image and self-confidence.
We proudly say that at present Clear Skin Laser Centre, Kurnool is the first and only centre in India to provide time-tested, USFDA approved and the most advanced laser treatments for Stretch marks removal (internal link) with different technologies under-one roof.