STRETCH MARKS (STRIAE DISTENSEA)

Stretch marks, also known as striae distensae, are elongated, narrow streaks that develop on the skin as parallel lines, mainly present on the abdomen, flanks, arms, breast and thighs.
These lines are a different colour and texture than your normal skin, and they range from purple to bright pink to light gray.
On touching the stretch marks, they may feel slightly raised like a ridge, or may be depressed forming an indentation on the skin.

Why do stretch marks occur?

A stretch mark is basically a scar which develops when our skin stretches or shrinks quickly. The abrupt change in the body size puts a stress on the collagen and elastin leading to their rupture. As the skin attempts to repair the damage, it results in scars called stretch marks.

Long term application of potent corticosteroid creams on your skin may also result in stretch marks.

You have a higher risk of developing stretch marks if people in your family get stretch marks!

Women have a greater tendency to develop stretch marks as compared with males.

How do stretch marks look like?

In the initial stages, stretch marks may be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown, depending on your skin colour. They may be slightly raised and can be associated with itching.
In time, the colour fades and the narrow bands sink beneath your skin. On maturity, stretch marks become depressed scars.

How can I get rid of stretch marks?

There are multiple ways in which stretch marks can be improved and made less prominent.
It’s important to understand that no single treatment works for everyone.

Treatment options available include:

  1. Creams, lotions, gels.

    Use the product on early stretch marks.

    Massage the product into your stretch marks

    Apply the product every day for weeks.

  2. Chemical peels - stronger chemical peels are helpful in mild stretch marks
  3. Microdermabrasion - useful for improving very light striae.
  4. Laser - fractional ablative erbium:YAG or non - ablative erbium:glass, both give good results.
  5. Micro-needling with PRP - very effective, minimal down time, no side effects, cost effective treatment option even for severe stretch marks problem.
  6. Micro-needling with radiofrequency
How do Lasers and Micro-needling work to reduce Stretch marks?

They work on the principle of producing micro-injuries in the deeper layers of skin, thus stimulating new collagen formation and making the striae shallow and narrower with each subsequent sitting.

Are Laser or Micro-needling treatments for Stretch Marks a safe bet?

Yes, both the therapeutic options the best bet in terms of safety and efficacy on Indian skin. The biggest advantage of these treatments is the speed with which the results are achieved. You may notice an improvement after the first sitting itself.

Is the treatment painful?

The procedure is associated with slight discomfort but majorly tolerated well by most of the patients. For greater comfort, topical anaesthesia cream is applied for 30 minutes prior to the procedure. As an alternative, cold air or ice may be used to minimise discomfort.

Any side effects?

No serious side-effects or complications are noted post-treatment, however some redness and inflammation does occur over the treated area which is self-limiting and settles in 2-3 days. Ice compression may be done to reduce the discomfort.

How many treatment sessions will I need?

Stretch mark reduction requires 6 to 8 sittings done at interval of 4-6 weeks each.

Is the stretch mark removal permanent?

Yes, the stretch mark reduction is permanent.

Can anything prevent stretch marks?

No remedies have been discovered till date which may help in preventing the stretch marks.
Nothing, like almond oil, cocoa butter, olive oil, or vitamin E, have been shown to be useful as a preventive measure.

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