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Aesthetics Practice Today

Stretch Marks

Published August 20, 2013 2:35 PM by Mina Grasso
Stretch marks are caused by rapid physical stretching of the skin in a condition where elastic fibers due to genetics or hormonal influence. Stretch marks develop in a variety of circumstances including pregnancy, weight gain, adolescents with rapid growth spurts, and weightlifters bulking up (usually on the arms). Men and women can get stretch marks in several areas including the abdomen, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms or back. Depending on skin type and the cause, stretchmarks can appear pink, red, purple, reddish brown, light or dark brown. 

Various prescription and over-the-counter topical solutions have been recommended over the years with little to very mild improvement used alone. The following are just a few:

  1. Wheat germ oil
  2. Glycolic acid
  3. Vitamin C
  4. Peptides
  5. Retinoids

Light and laser devices have given patients more hope. Initially, treatment was known to be only successful when treatment was initiated while stretch marks were red or purple, but new laser technology has made it possible to improve the appearance of stretch marks in their white or silvery phase many years old.

Microdermabrasion and chemical peels have been used for years with minimal results. Vascular lasers such as the pulse dye laser and intense pulsed light have been effective in reducing redness or purple appearance of stretch marks. 

Fractionated lasers such as fractional CO2 have now proven to be effective in improving the appearance of older, silver or white entrenched stretch marks. Deep fractional micro laser beams vaporize a fraction of the skin leaving surrounding skin intact which allows for minimal downtime with reduced risks compared to traditional CO2 lasers. New collagen is produced in the treated areas resulting in improved elasticity and collagen fiber strength.

Radiofrequency using Viora Refit protocol is something we have found to be surprisingly effective in improving the appearance of new and old stretch marks. Radiofrequency heats the tissue and stimulates contraction and shortening of the collagen fiber bundles causing the skin to appear tighter and improves the appearance of the stretch marks. 

Multiple treatments possibly using different modalities and topical solutions will be required. The most important part of treating patients with stretch marks is setting realistic expectations on results and cost.

1 comments

I've used belli skin care's Stretch Mark Minimizing Cream for before, during and after pregnancy. I liked it because it's free of the dirty dozen chemicals that would irritate sensitive skin, especially during pregnancy.  

Sharon August 21, 2013 11:21 AM
Atlanta GA

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    Occupation: Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner
    Setting: Miami & Upland, Calif.
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