Many people who experience stretch marks are self conscious of the appearance of their skin. Skincare providers offer several treatments, procedures and remedies for stretch marks to help reduce their appearance. Patients should know that stretch marks do not pose any medical danger, and are considered only a cosmetic issue. Due to their cosmetic nature, insurance will rarely cover the cost of stretch mark removal treatments.
While stretch marks do not look pretty, they are harmless and do fade over time. Stretch marks do not require medical treatment if they are not bothersome. If the stretch marks do bother you, treatment will only partially remove them and cannot completely eliminate them.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF STRETCH MARKS?
Stretch marks occur more often in women than men, mostly due to pregnancy. Caucasian women are more prone to stretch marks than those of Asian or African descent. Common causes of stretch marks include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Rapid weight gain
- Being female
- Being pregnant for smaller, younger women
- Having larger babies
- Using corticosteroid medication
- History of stretch marks in the family
- Rapid growth spurts during puberty
Some factors you should consider when choosing the best remedy for your stretch marks:
- Age of the stretch marks
- Duration of the treatment
- Cost of the treatment
- Expectations of the treatment (usually only partially effective)
BEST REMEDIES FOR STRETCH MARKS
Laser stretch mark removal treatments are by far one of the the most effective remedies for stretch marks. Laser treatments are most beneficial during the early, red stages of stretch marks. Using lasers, doctors trigger the growth of collagen tissue in the dermis or middle layer of skin where stretch marks occur. As stretch marks are caused by damaged collagen, these types of lasers can dramatically help “remodel” the scar. There are numerous types of lasers that can stimulate collagen regeneration and remodeling within stretch marks. Some laser specialist doctors even know how to combine the use of many lasers to heal stretch marks. Laser treatment for stretch marks is a process that typically requires at least five to six treatments. Because the laser spurs new skin growth results of stretch marks treatment may be seen progressing for up to six months later.
Pulsed dye laser therapy:
This laser stretch mark removal treatment removes the redness found in some stretch marks caused by blood vessels that may grow in the scar. This laser therapy is most effective for newly found stretch marks.
This laser stretch mark removal treatment focuses on stretch marks that are whiter or more pale than the surrounding skin. They change the color of stretch marks by stimulating melanin production. When effective, the color of the stretch marks changes to the same color of the surrounding skin, thus becoming less visible. This stretch mark remedy is best for older stretch marks.
This treatment attempts to gently polish the skin and exfoliates the top layer, producing a younger, more elastic skin layer. Using a stream of crystals under air pressure, the skin is refreshed and “sanded” to reduce the visibility of the stretch marks. Microdermabrasion can work as a remedy for older stretch marks.
Skincare professionals also treat stretch marks with chemical peels. Chemical peels are a common remedy for stretch marks even though they are not very effective. Patients should be aware that the peels may require more than one session to see results and, in rare cases, can cause scarring due to chemical burns. Using a diluted acid, the outer layer of skin is sloughed off, which spurs the deeper layers, where stretch marks occur, to promote new skin cells. The regeneration of skin cells smoothes the appearance of stretch marks.
This remedy for stretch marks, which is most commonly used to treat cellulite, is also used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Gentle suction and rollers boost blood circulation and lymph flow to problem areas that are prone to get stretch marks. The increased circulation causes the skin to heal and promotes elasticity, ultimately decreasing the appearance of stretch marks.
Research has shown that application of this cream can improve the appearance of stretch marks. This cream may irritate your skin and should not be used during pregnancy. This treatment should be used for stretch marks that have recently appeared.
Lotions and creams for stretch marks are far less effective remedies than both chemical peels and laser stretch mark removal treatments. Unlike medical treatments offered by doctors, stretch mark creams and lotions have very little effect on the internal structure and appearance of stretch marks. However, subtle results are seen on new stretch marks when applied habitually. Prescription creams are available and are very effective in reducing the appearance of stretch marks. Look for creams that include Retin A, derivatives of Vitamin A or retinol. Strong derivatives of Vitamin A generate collagen, allowing the skin to heal stretch mark damage. Routinely massaging these lotions or creams into stretch mark areas of the skin can spur skin cell creation.
WHAT IS IN STRETCH MARK REMOVAL CREAMS?
The scientific medical field generally dismisses the claims that stretch mark removal creams and lotions are effective. However, many women and men who suffer from stretch marks swear by the use of lotions as a remedy for stretch marks. The most common stretch mark creams contain Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Cocoa butter and Shea butter.
Vitamin A derivatives such as Retin-A are well known by many. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant that is crucial for healthy skin development. Stress steroids such as Cortisol can reduce the amount of Vitamin A in the skin; therefore, it is crucial to replenish Vitamin A using creams in order to prevent stretch marks. Vitamin E is also an essential antioxidant that protects the skin from damage such as stretch marks.
Cocoa butter has become an increasingly popular remedy for stretch marks. The thick cream moisturizes the skin, which helps the body maintain a healthy hydrated epidermis which is helpful in avoiding stretch marks.
Shea butter is also popular among the younger generation in promoting healthy skin and avoiding stretch marks. The cream helps protect against damaging ultraviolet rays and improves circulation and replenishes essential fats that the skin needs in order to protect against getting stretch marks.
While the medical field does not fully promote the use of stretch mark creams and lotions as remedies for stretch marks, it does recognize the benefits of applying moisturizers and massaging. A daily routine of applying and massaging these creams can help promote blood circulation and lymph flow and ultimately improve the collagen creation in the skin which is essential in protecting against stretch marks. Stretch mark removal creams are unable to dramatically reduce the appearance of stretch marks as their effectiveness is limited to the outer layer of the skin. Stretch marks are rooted in the dermis, or middle layer of the skin, and can therefore only be remedied by treatments that penetrate into the deeper dermis. Creams for stretch marks are most effective at creating overall skin health and while they may not be very effective to get rid of stretch marks, they will decrease your chances of getting stretch marks.