Stretch marks, also known as striae, are long linear scars that appear on various parts of the skin. Stretch marks primarily appear around the stomach, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms, lower back and even the calves.
Most common causes of stretch marks are:
- Rapid Weight Gain
- Growth Spurts
- Heavy Weight Lifting
At the beginning stretch marks start out red and purple in appearance and later fade to a slightly silvery white color. In individuals with darker skin, stretch marks are sometimes brown due to higher concentrations of melanin (pigment that gives skin its color).
Stretch marks are often the product of stretching or tearing of the dermis. Although skin has the ability to stretch and return to its natural elasticity, stretch marks appear when the skin is stretched beyond its natural capacity. This abrupt stretching causes the dermis to tear, which allows deeper skin layers to show through, forming stretch marks. Anyone can develop stretch marks, although they tend to affect and are more common in women than men.
Although stretch marks are very difficult to treat, they can be improved with a combination of lasers and micro needling. Treatment is dependent on the type of stretch mark and skin type.
Newer (red) stretch marks have a better chance of being treated and lightened by laser or IPL. The laser will target the dilated red damaged blood vessels, not affecting the surrounding health tissue. IPL (Intense Pulse Light) is less effective at repairing damage caused by mature stretch marks which have lost their pigmentation. IPL will not improve texture irregularities in the skin.
Micro Needling will change the texture of a stretch mark. Micro Needling is used to relax and reduce scar tissue, and is an alternative treatment to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Micro-Needling or Derma Rolling creates microscopic injuries in the stretch mark scar. When the body perceives damage in the dermis, it generates new collagen which is then used to heal the original tear in the dermis that caused the stretch mark to appear. The outside layer of skin is unaffected by the micro-needling procedure, allowing new collagen to be used solely for stretch mark healing.
One can expect to see positive effects four weeks after the first application. For the best results stretch marks require a series of micro-needling sessions, usually at 4-6 week intervals. For more information on Micro-Needling, visit http://www.lastinglooks.ca/micro-needling-toronto at Lasting Looks Clinic in Toronto.