Type “stretch marks” into an online search engine and you’ll be inundated with an array of creams, lotions, and “miracle treatments” that promise to erase these lines that cause so much frustration. There are, in fact, ways to minimize the appearance of stretch marks, including microneedling at our Gilbert, AZ, practice.
In this blog post, I’ll explain the various treatment methods for reducing stretch marks, ranging from topical treatments to med spa procedures performed by aesthetic specialists.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are most often associated with pregnancy as the skin on a woman’s belly rapidly expands to accommodate the growing fetus. But that’s not the only reason for stretch marks, which are a type of scar that occurs when collagen and elastin rupture as the skin stretches significantly in a short time period.
Besides pregnancy, other times that stretch marks can appear include:
- Growth spurts during puberty
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Weight training that leads to rapid muscle growth
Not everyone in these situations develops stretch marks, which are also associated with hormonal changes and genetics.
How To Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
Before discussing these treatments, it’s important to know that stretch marks do tend to fade with time. Initially red, purplish, pink, or reddish-brown, the marks grow less distinct. But that can take years, and for many people, stretch marks cause them to be self-conscious wearing a bathing suit or a top that reveals their abdomen.
Retinol: Creams containing retinol are sold over the counter that can sometimes fade relatively new stretch marks. Retinol is not the same as Retin-A, a more powerful, prescription-only treatment also called tretinoin.
Get a prescription for tretinoin: Retin-A is a type of vitamin A that works on stretch marks that are no more than a few months old by exfoliating the skin’s outer layer and stimulating collagen production in the layer below it (the dermis). You should use only the amount recommended by the prescribing doctor. People with sensitive skin should avoid using Retin-A.
Microneedling: A provider glides a hand-held device with tiny needles on its tip across the stretch marks. We use the Eclipse MicroPen™, which can be adjusted to various depths based on the needs of the patient. The punctures created by the needles trigger the body’s natural healing process and stimulate new collagen growth. Collagen is essential for smooth skin. Results emerge after a series of treatments.
Laser skin resurfacing: Using the power of a laser to reduce stretch marks can be very effective. Laser skin resurfacing procedures performed by experienced, trained providers create smoother skin by stimulating collagen. Like other treatments listed here, lasers are most effective when stretch marks are only a few months old.
J-Plasma® skin resurfacing: Our practice was the first in Arizona to offer this innovative treatment option. J-Plasma procedures are performed with the patient either under general anesthesia or using a local anesthetic with light sedation. Even though it is a more aggressive approach, the downtime associated with J-Plasma treatments is less than with CO2 laser procedures.
If you’re bothered by stretch marks and are looking for a med spa in Gilbert for treatment options, contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call us at (480) 466-7355 to schedule an appointment.