Stretch marks or striae distensae are frequently identified with pregnant women. However, these unsightly skin marks are also common problems that plague young women, especially those on a yo-yo weight gain or loss or those that gain then lose great weight quickly. They occur when the skin is pulled by rapid stretching, and while the skin’s top layer is normal, the elastin and collagen responsible for the skin’s elasticity and strength found underneath the top layer have thinned or are torn. The skin’s overstretching also disrupts the normal production of collagen causing the skin to lose elasticity. Initially, stretch marks appear like purple or red lines on the belly, butt, hips, thighs and breasts, but they eventually peter out to look like thin white lines.
If stretch marks appear during puberty, the good news is they might fade totally and the skin will look normal as tie passes. But if a woman gets it when she is already an adult, although the stretch marks may become less obvious, they are there to stay. Even if they are not considered health issues, for women who are beauty conscious these fine lines can cause a lot of embarrassment.
How to treat stretch marks
But there is hope after all. There are ways to make the marks look less severe or even make them disappear, and these include topical options and laser such as Fraxel laser treatment. Let’s explore these treatment options:
There are various creams that have been proven to treat stretch marks and lessen their unsightly appearance. These may include:
- Coca butter cream: Cocoa butter cream is known to soften scars.
- Retin-A or Retinoic Acid cream: Retin-A is clinically proven to boost collagen production and is best used on newly developed stretch marks. It is also known to help avoid tearing and stretching of the skin.
- Lextrin: Lextrin contains centella asiatica, thuja occidentalis and hyaluronic acid. The first two are considered homeopathic remedies for the skin, while hyaluronic acid is a substance naturally found in all mammals’ body that is considered an anti-ageing agent. Lextrin is an FDA approved topical treatment for stretch marks.
- Glycolic Acid: Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid that is known to increase the production of collagen making the skin more elastic.
Laser such as Fraxel laser treatment is an FDA-approved treatment for a wide range of skin problems including stretch marks. Fraxel laser stimulates the creation of new collagen that results in the natural rejuvenation of the skin. It penetrates fractions of the skin, section by section, without damaging the outer layer of the skin. It can be used to treat stretch marks in all parts of the body. A treatment that lasts for only 30 to 45 minutes will immediately show result in just two or three weeks where the skin will have a more even tone and feel smoother and softer. Since collagen production is continuous, in three to six months, more improvement will be apparent.