Stretch Marks Treatments
Stretch marks seem to be caused, literally, by a stretching of the skin.
Stretch marks develop in a variety of circumstances, including:
- Pregnancy. Most pregnant women develop stretch marks by the end of their pregnancy. The physical stretching of the skin, along with hormonal factors, likely plays a role.
- Weight gain. Stretch marks sometimes occur during substantial weight gain. Weightlifters can develop stretch marks, particularly on the arms. Adolescents may notice stretch marks during growth spurts.
- Medication use. Corticosteroid creams, lotions and pills and chronic use of oral or systemic steroids can cause stretch marks.
- Conditions or diseases. Cushing’s syndrome and adrenal gland diseases can cause widespread stretch marks, as can Marfan syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and other hereditary (genetic) disorders.
The following treatments are among those available to help improve the appearance of stretch marks. None has been proved to be more consistently successful than the others.
- Tretinoin cream. Some research has shown that tretinoin cream (Retin-A, Renova, Avita) may improve the appearance of recent stretch marks — those that are less than a few months old and still pink or red in color. If you’re pregnant or nursing, your doctor may opt to delay topical retinoid therapy or choose an alternative treatment. Tretinoin, when it works, helps to rebuild collagen, making the stretch mark look more like your normal skin. Tretinoin can irritate your skin. This treatment isn’t effective on older stretch marks.
- Laser therapy. Laser therapies use intense wavelengths of light to stimulate the growth of collagen, elastin or melanin production in your skin. Your doctor can help you determine which type of laser technology is appropriate for you, depending on the age and location of your stretch marks and your skin color. See Fractora and Laser Resurfacing
- Microneedling. Micro-Needling stimulates the body’s own production of collagen, which is a connective tissue that gives skin its firmness and resilience. The procedure involves puncturing the skin multiple times with tiny needles to create a ‘wound-site’ in the dermis layer which triggers the body’s natural healing process. When the body perceives damage in the dermis, it generates new collagen which is then used to heal the original tear in the dermis that caused a stretch mark to appear. The outside layer of skin is unaffected by the micro-needling procedure, allowing for the new collagen to be used solely for stretch mark healing.
Work with your doctor to choose the most appropriate treatment. Factors to consider include:
- Age of the stretch marks
- Convenience of treatment — therapies differ in length and frequency of sessions
- Cost — these options are cosmetic and usually not covered by medical insurance
- Your expectations
To discuss your Stretch Marks treatment with a Board Certified Dermatologist or a Licensed Healthcare Professional please make an online appointment today.