WHAT ARE STRETCH MARKS & WHAT CAUSES THEM?
Stretch marks, referred to as striae in the medical field, occur most frequently after sudden weight gain or loss. One of the most common causes of stretch marks is pregnancy. Pregnancy causes a major change in hormones that change how the body is able to make collagen as well as significant weight loss. Another common cause of stretch marks is puberty, where both hormone levels naturally change and the body often undergoes a lot of growth. However, these factors do not stand-alone. Genetics, such as a deficiency in the health of connective tissues, are often a cause of stretch marks as well. Obesity and excessive weight lifting can also cause stretch marks.
The appearance of stretch marks varies with each person and skin tone. Many stretch marks start with a red hue due to the vascular nature of the scar, and gradually fade over time. Most medical research about stretch marks is aimed at the initial darker stages. Doctors report that stretch mark treatments are most effective during the first red or purple stages.
HOW TO GET RID OF STRETCH MARKS
Drug companies and manufacturers of skin care products promote hundreds of products to reduce the appearance of, or completely get rid of stretch marks. However, few of these products actually make a difference. Here is a list of suggestions and myth busters about some of the most popular ways of how to get rid of stretch marks.
1. Laser treatments to get rid of stretch marks
By far the most effective treatments to get rid of stretch marks are laser treatments. Used by many dermatologists on both prominent and faded stretch marks, laser stretch mark removal is a holistic solution to reduce the appearance of stretch marks from the inside out. The laser treatment helps boost new collagen production, which is damaged when stretch marks form. When the skin makes new collagen, the stretch marks fill in, tighten and contract and are reduced in size and depth. In dark red or pink stretch marks physicians utilize vascular lasers to direct their focus on swollen or damaged blood vessels within the stretch marks. When the vasculature within the stretch marks is removed, the stretch marks fade and become much more difficult to see. Laser stretch mark removal treatments typically require multiple sessions.
2. Combination Laser treatments to get rid of stretch marks
Because different types of lasers interact with different components of skin, using a combination of lasers on stretch marks produces the best results. For instance: laser treatments to remove the red from stretch marks, combined with fractionated Co2 lasers to cause the contraction of collagen which will shrink the stretch marks, combined with other lasers that will smooth the surface of stretch marks. A typical combination laser treatment protocol will utilize 3 to 4 different lasers. In many cases, stretch mark removal treatments are integrated with a variety of non-laser modalities
3. Collagen Induction Therapy to get rid of stretch marks
Collagen Induction Therapy, which is a form of high-density Acupuncture which is administered with dozens of tiny acupuncture needles that are mounted on a small roller (AKA microneedling). When stretch marks are punctured hundreds of times by these tiny acupuncture needles, the skin naturally responds with a repair mechanism that generates the production of new collagen which remodels the stretch marks and repairs the skin. Collagen Induction Therapy can be used as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with laser treatments. The results from microneedling are quite impressive.
4. Physiological Regulating Medicine to get rid of stretch marks
Physiological Regulating Medicine is the most advanced form of Homeopathy, scientifically derived by combining traditional Homeopathy with modern advances in cell biology and molecular biology. Specific PRM formulations naturally stimulate the physiology of skin within stretch marks to produce new collagen. This causes the remodeling of stretch marks, repairing them and reducing their appearance. AMA Regenerative Medicine & Skincare, are specialist in the area PRM.
5. Vitamin therapy to get rid of stretch marks
Vitamin mixtures are becoming increasingly popular as a way to get rid of stretch marks. The most popular vitamin therapy is a combination of vitamin C and E formulations in lotions and creams that are rubbed directly into the stretch marks. Experts say the vitamin can also boost collagen creation, stopping stretch marks in their early stages. Doctors recommend taking at least 500 mg of vitamin C per day taken orally to combat the formation of stretch marks.
6. Wheat germ oil to get rid of stretch marks
Wheat germ oil is rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins. Because of this, many believe it stimulates tissue regeneration and is good for reducing wrinkles, scars and stretch marks. However, little medical research has been conducted to prove its effectiveness. Some studies suggest it may be beneficial during the first phase of stretch mark creation. Due to its high strength, strong odor and stickiness, it must diluted with a carrier oil such as sweet almond or olive before being applied.
7. Glycolic acid, retinoids to get rid of stretch marks
Retinoids such as “Retin A” are proven and marginally effective in treating stretch marks through increased collagen. However, the substance is not safe for pregnant or nursing mothers, making retinoid products less appealing for many who suffer from stretch marks. Most scientific data on retinoids deals with the pairing of other substances, such as glycolic acid. Perhaps the best use of retinoids for stretch marks occurs when it is paired with glycolic acid. Glycolic acid boosts collagen and can be dispensed by your physician. Retinoids are often prescribed to strengthen the epidermis where stretch marks occur before a glycolic acid peel at your doctor’s office. The peels have proven to improve the appearance of stretch marks in about four months.
8. Peptide products to get rid of stretch marks
Peptides are naturally occurring chains of two or more amino acids in the body. Drug stores often promote peptide-based products to improve the appearance of stretch marks. Claims suggest that peptides can help build collagen and restore elasticity when they are massaged into the skin. Another claim is that peptides can lighten and reduce the appearance of red or purple stretch marks. Unfortunately, there is no scientific data to support the peptide product claim as an effective treatment to get rid of stretch marks.
About the Authors
Doctors Alice Pien, MD and Asher Milgrom, Phd are established pioneers in the fields of Regenerative Medicine and Skincare. Their expertise ranges from advanced laser systems to stem cell medicine. Their medical education and advanced certifications span from medical schools of NY State University, the University of Chicago, to John Hopkins, Harvard and UCLA. They approach medicine with the clinical expertise of over 85,000 successful treatments over the past 20 years and significant scientific research resulting in proprietary protocols that they customize for each individual patient.