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How to remove stretch marks today

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are fine streaks that appear on the skin when it is subjected to excessive tension which causes its structure to “crack” from the inside (its collagen fibers in particular). They can also appear during a major hormonal change (adolescence or pregnancy, etc.). Unsightly and a source of complexes, stretch marks represent for women (but also for certain men) a real aesthetic detriment which affects body image.

Where do stretch marks appear?

We most often find:

  • stretch marks on the stomach , especially during pregnancy,
  • stretch marks on the thighs,
  • stretch marks on the arms,
  • stretch marks on the breasts and neckline,
  • stretch marks on the buttocks,
  • stretch marks on the hips,

but also sometimes calves, back, behind the knees, etc.

It is a very common phenomenon: 90 to 95% of white-skinned Western women are affected by it during puberty, a period of strong hormonal impregnation. Pregnancy is another risky period: 30% of pregnant women have stretch marks .

The different types of stretch marks

There are two types of stretch marks:

White stretch marks which are usually old. These are said to be established stretch marks . We are talking about pearly white atrophic scars.

White stretch marks

 

  • Red or pinkish stretch marks that are currently forming are called immature stretch marks or inflammatory stretch marks . They often appear around puberty.

Red or pinkish stretch marks

The treatment will not be the same depending on the type of stretch mark.

The causes of stretch marks

Why do stretch marks appear? There are several circumstances in which stretch marks appear:

  • Periods of major hormonal upheaval such as puberty and pregnancy (where the skin is also subject to excessive distension),
  • Professional or psychological stress because the level of blood cortisol or so-called stress hormone increases sharply in this situation,
  • Practicing an intensive sport such as weightlifting ( stretch marks when doing intense sport),
  • Significant variations in weight ( yoyo effect stretch marks ),
  • The hereditary or ethnic factor.

Treatment of stretch marks

Applications of creams for stretch marks

When they have just formed and are still red in color, stretch marks are fairly easily treated by daily application of a cream containing acidic vitamin A. This causes irritation in the epidermis and dermis, which will lead to stimulation of the production of collagen and elastin, making it possible to react against these “breaks” in formation. This topical treatment is intended for young girls aged 12 to 14, during puberty. Please note that acidic vitamin A is contraindicated for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

In the case of white or pearly stretch marks, acidic vitamin A is ineffective because the “breaks” are established. It is too late for healing to take place.

Abrasions and laser for stretch marks

Dermabrasion with a grinding wheel is almost no longer used today. It has been replaced by laser abrasion (erbium or co²). In all cases, abrasion destroys part of the skin more or less deeply, at the location of the stretch marks, to obtain cell renewal, and therefore less marked new skin.

The consequences are quite serious, because the abraded skin oozes, and must be protected by dressings during the healing process .

Note that there is also a lighter version: microdermabrasion, with much simpler procedures but requiring repeated sessions.

Strong (or deep) peels

Along the same lines, various strong chemical peels have been proposed for deep exfoliation of stretch mark areas, with varying degrees of success.

Here again, the consequences are quite painful since, after the acid burn of the skin, scabs form and persist for around eight days. Results vary depending on the case and the doctor’s experience with peels.

Carboxytherapy

This technique allows the skin to be stimulated on the surface and in depth by injections of medical CO2 under the skin. The goal is to stimulate fibroblasts, and therefore the production of elastin and collagen essential to the elasticity and tone of the skin.

Injections against stretch marks are made superficially and deeply, along each stretch mark, using very fine needles, which makes the session very bearable. The CO2 injection causes stretch marks to swell and the fibroblasts to awaken, which begin to produce more elastin and collagen. The supply of CO2 leads to hyper-oxygenation of the surrounding tissues leading to a progressive repigmentation of stretch marks and a disappearance of the feeling of emptiness to the touch under the striae, by densification of the tissues.

Carboxytherapy

Each session lasts around thirty minutes on average, it all depends on the number of stretch marks to be treated. The results are not immediate but visible after the third session. Little by little, the stretch marks fade, the skin is less wrinkled, and the stretch marks gradually blend into the skin. It takes 8 to 12 sessions, 15 days apart, to obtain optimum results.

Mesotherapy against stretch marks

This technique is a kind of aesthetic mesotherapy which consists of making subcutaneous micro-injections of a revitalizing cocktail, using a syringe or an injection gun. This cocktail is generally based on hyaluronic acid, with strong hydrating power, associated with antioxidant vitamins and amino acids. The presence of an anesthetic product in the formula makes the session almost painless.

Classically used for the face, mesolift for stretch marks can reduce them. Each session lasts around twenty minutes. In general, the protocol is 4 or 5 mesolift sessions 15 days apart, then one session per month or every two months for maintenance.

Microneedling for stretch marks

This is a new solution to erase stretch marks. Microneedling involves using microneedles that make multiple small holes in the skin, with the aim of making it react and regenerate it. To do this, the doctor uses a device equipped with sterile, single-use microneedles. It can adjust the penetration depth according to each type of stretch marks from 0.5mm to 3mm.

To optimize the treatment, the perforations are carried out at 3 different depths for each stretch mark, in order to stimulate each layer of the skin. To treat them, the practitioner passes the device along the stretch marks then applies either a revitalizing cocktail or a special light peeling which will penetrate the dermis through the freshly made mini perforations at different depths. Thus the peeling or the revitalizing cocktail will be able to act on the different layers of the skin and therefore on the stretch marks.

To make the session bearable, a small dose of anesthesia by application of cream can be offered. The session lasts 30 to 45 minutes. Plan, on average, three micro-needling sessions 15 days apart, to obtain a clear improvement.

Radiofrequency against stretch marks

In some cases, interesting results can be obtained with radiofrequency sessions.  This technique is based on the emission of electromagnetic waves at very high frequencies. They pass through the skin emitting heat:

Radiofrequency against stretch marks

– from 39 to 42° on the surface of the skin (not too hot so as not to burn),

– from 60°C to 65°C in the subcutaneous tissues (hot enough to act deeply).

Under the effect of heat, the skin shrinks and the fibroblasts begin to produce more elastin and collagen, which makes the skin thicker and firmer. The tightening effect is almost immediate.

It takes a minimum of 6 to 8 sessions, 15 days apart, to see stretch marks fade, with an optimum effect after three months.

Please note that this technique has some contraindications: pregnancy, taking certain medications (anti-inflammatories, anticoagulants) and the presence of skin rashes near stretch marks.

Stretch marks and LEDs

All these techniques: carboxytherapy, mesolift, microneedling, can be advantageously supplemented by phototherapy sessions using LED lights which act by stimulating the deep layers of the skin with light (photobiostimulation).

To treat stretch marks, these are red LEDs , whose wavelength is 630 nm. Goggles protect the eyes. Each session lasts around ten minutes (no more, otherwise we saturate the effect on the skin cells), and it is rather pleasant.

These photobiostimulation sessions will “boost” the fibroblasts and, therefore, the production of elastin and collagen. This will make the stretch marks even less visible. Allow 8 to 10 sessions to obtain the reduction of stretch marks, everything depends on the quality of the skin, the age of the stretch marks, and also the art and experience of the practitioner.

Combined care

The combination of several of these less aggressive treatments is widely used today. In use, the results are at least as good (or even better) than with exfoliating treatments (strong peels, abrasion laser, seen above), and above all the aftermath is much easier to live with, with less risks and disadvantages.

Prices of combined treatments for stretch marks

Prices vary depending on the techniques used and range from $150 to $250 per combined treatment session of 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Results before and after stretch mark treatment

Photos Dr. JC LARROUY , member of AFME, Nice.
Use of the pulsed coloring laser, result at 7 months.

 

carboxytherapy-peeling-glycolic-treatment-stretch marks-results
Photos Dr. JC LARROUY , member of AFME, Nice. Result after 5 sessions of carboxytherapy + glycolic peeling.

 

Before-and-after treatment for stretch marks on the buttocks-1
Photos Dr. JC LARROUY , member of AFME, Nice. Result at 5 years.

 

Photos Dr. JC LARROUY , member of AFME, Nice.
Laser Mixto, result 1 year after treatment.

 

The answers to your questions

Stretch marks, how to get rid of them naturally?

There are grandmother’s recipes for stretch marks or tips for stretch marks (lemon essential oil, aloe vera, shea butter, avocado, etc.) but, unfortunately, none of them are really effective. Aesthetic medicine helps to reduce stretch marks . The only way to completely eliminate stretch marks is to resort to cosmetic surgery: the complete excision of the striae, as with scars, but for this there must be excess skin.

Stretch marks, how to avoid them?

To avoid the appearance of stretch marks you must: maintain regular physical activity, eat a balanced diet, moisturize the skin with a cream or oil every day, drink enough water, massage areas at risk (Jacquet pinching type massage ) for at least 10 minutes a day. And of course, avoid gaining too much weight.

How to relieve itchy stretch marks?

By hydrating them daily!

How to avoid pregnancy stretch marks?

During pregnancy, stretch marks generally appear during the sixth month depending on the weight gained. To avoid stretch marks during pregnancy, you must monitor your weight gain, hydrate yourself (inside and outside), continue to be active, and watch your diet.

What anti-stretch mark product when you are pregnant?

There are specific creams or oils for pregnant women. Often made with sweet almond, coconut oil, olive oil or shea butter. They deeply hydrate the skin, and can reduce the appearance of stretch marks. However, be careful with the products you apply to your skin during your pregnancy: certain ingredients can be harmful to the pregnant woman or even to the fetus.

Stretch mark or scar?

Stretch marks are actually scars since they mark the skin. However, the stretch mark appears from the inside while the scar is a lesion of the dermis appearing from the outside.

Why do my stretch marks hurt?

Stretch marks usually don’t hurt but may feel burning or stretching. If it really is pain then consult your doctor so that he can guide you and detect the cause.

Stretch marks and sun

Stretch marks are less pigmented because they contain less melanin, hence the white color. If you expose them to the sun, they will not tan like the rest of the skin: they will therefore be more visible. If you go out into the sun, we recommend that you always apply a cream with a high protection factor as excess UV rays from the sun can cause additional damage.

 When to treat stretch marks?

A scar can be treated as soon as it appears as we saw in the article. However, for health reasons, it is important to seek the advice of a doctor.

Which doctor for stretch marks?

A cosmetic doctor and/or dermatologist can treat your scars. The consultation is essential since it makes it possible to determine the treatment to be applied, to ensure the absence of contraindications and to validate together the aesthetic results to expect.

Stretch marks, at what age?

There is no age limit strictly speaking, but they can appear from puberty or during weight changes (diet, pregnancy, etc.).

How to lose weight without stretch marks?

Nothing can guarantee that stretch marks will not appear after a diet. Losing weight will not make existing stretch marks disappear. It will also not cause them to appear if the diet is balanced, without micronutrient deficiencies.

The opinion of experts

It has always been difficult to make stretch marks disappear, and there is no miracle cure. Also, the combination of treatments is a real optimization of their effectiveness. From the experience of aesthetic doctors, the best combinations are:

  • carboxytherapy plus radiofrequency and LEDs
  • microneedling + peeling + LEDs…

You will need to understand that the results will only come gradually, and that it will be a matter of reducing your stretch marks without completely disappearing.

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