Top 5 Ways To Get Rid of Stretch Marks

By | August 16, 2014

What Are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks or stria distensae (SD) are characterised by linear bands that initially appear as pink/red to purple colour (known as striae rubra). They increase in length and eventually, become flat, depressed and white (known as striae alba).

Stretch marks can develop on thighs, upper arms, buttocks, breasts and lumbosacral region. Most women get stretch marks during pregnancy.

Although stretch marks do not cause medical problems, women often find them aesthetically displeasing.

Causes Of Stretch Marks

It is not clear what the causes of stretch marks. Here are some of the proposed causes:

  • ¬†mechanical stretching (due to obesity and pregnancy) which results in rupture of connective tissue framework
  • tissue damage by stritoxin
  • hormonal factors, as seen in:

* pregnancy.
* normal growth such as in adolescence, and pubertal growth.
* high steroid hormone levels due to Cushing’s syndrome and steroid therapy. Excessive steroid prevents fibroblasts from producing collagen and elastin fibers that keep the skin taut.

  • genetic predisposition – inherited defects of connective tissue.

Treatment for Stretch Marks

There are several modalities of treatment such as lasers, light therapy, microneedling and topical agents. Effective treatment of stretch marks must be instituted during the active stage, well before the scarring process is complete.

1. Lasers

Lasers seem to be the most promising treatment for stretch marks. They can be effective in reducing the appearance of stretch marks with little downtime.

There are various types of lasers for treating stretch marks.

  • Pulsed-Dye Laser is suited for treatment of striae rubrae (early stage stretch mark) and works by increasing collagen content.
  • Excimer laser is used to treat striae alba (mature stretch marks). It repigments stretch marks by stimulating melanin (pigment) production so that white/silver lines become similar in color to the rest of the skin.
  • Fractional phototermolysis is a resurfacing laser technique. It ceates small zones of thermal damge known as microthermal zones. This stimulates new collagen and elastic fiber synthesis, thereby reducing the appearance of stretch marks.

2. Light therapy

Intense pulse light (IPL) can be useful for treatment of stretch marks. IPL emits a broadband visible light that promotes the production of new collagen and ordering of elastic fibers. Studies have shown that IPL significantly improved skin texture and stretch marks (in terns of width, length, discolourations and general appearance).

3. Topical Tretinoin (0.1%)

Tretinoin cream (0.1%) is a more effective for treatment of early stage stretch marks (striae rubra). A study demonstrated that tretinoin cream (0.1%) significantly improved both the length and width of stretch marks. Tretinoin seems to stop and reverse progression of stretch marks when used at the early stage of onset.

4. Topical 20% glycolic acid and 0.05% tretinoin/10% L-ascorbic acid

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxyl acid that can be used as a peeling agent. In a study that compared topical 20% glycolic acid and 0.05% tretinoin with 20% glycolic acid and 10% L-ascorbic acid, it was found that both regimes improved the appearance of striae alba.

5. Microneedling

Microneedling with dermaroller is a treatment for scars (especially acne scars), stretch marks, wrinkles and skin care rejuvenation. Dermaroller is a hand held equipment with drum-shaped roller studded with fine needles ranging from 0.2mm to 2.5mm in length. When dermaroller is rolled on treated area of the skin, the fine needles create pinpoint punctures in the skin without damage to the epidermis (top layer of the skin). This stimulates production of new collagen and elastin. The resulting new tissue formation improves stretch marks, scars, wrinkles and pigmentation.

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Do/did you have stretch marks? What treatment for stretch marks had worked or is working for you in getting rid of them? Feel free to share your experience in the comment box below.

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